Playtex forges shortlist to handle new year crusade

Sara Lee-owned underwear giant Playtex, the company behind brands such as Wonderbra, is planning to unleash a fresh PR offensive next year, with its entire consumer account currently up for pitch.

Four PR agencies have been shortlisted for a consumer PR contract to promote the Playtex and Wonderbra ranges, with a hire planned ‘as soon as possible’, according to Wonderbra marketing manager Ann Hopkins.

The successful agency will report to managing director Nick Houghton and Hervé Bailly, who starts as marketing director in January.

Bailly joins from Dim, a sister Sara Lee brand that is based in France. He will replace Stephen Holbrooke, who joined another sister Sara Lee brand, Gossard, four months ago.

The review comes as incumbent agency The London PR Company – which had promoted a variety of Playtex brands for about seven years – has closed, with founder Diana Cooper saying she ‘wanted to spend more time with her new family’.

Existing brands in the Playtex portfolio include Magic Feeling, Affinity and Cross Your Heart.

Another, Secrets Make-Up, will launch in January, and Just My Style will launch in May.

The consumer PR offensive will also promote W-Spirit, an addition to the Wonderbra portfolio that launched last week. It features ‘hip-hugging’, bottom cleavage and ‘invisible panty-line’ styles.

One further brand launch within the Wonderbra portfolio is also planned in the coming months, but the company declined to disclose the name of the range.

Pitches are understood to be taking place this week, overseen by Houghton, who was unavailable for comment as PRWeek went to press.

The Wonderbra brand was formerly promoted by Ketchum Life, but that agency was ditched only nine months after succeeding Jackie Cooper PR (PRWeek, 23 July 1999).

Another London PR Company client, Contessa and La Senza lingerie, took PR in-house in October, with PR now handled by head of marketing Sue Dover.

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