CAMPAIGNS: Summers is winner in the sexes battle - Consumer PR

Client: Ann Summers

Client: Ann Summers

Campaign: Battle of the sexes

PRTeam: In-house

Timescale: December 1999 - January 2000

Budget: Within annual budget

Sexy lingerie store Ann Summers has 26 shops across the UK and is

planning to open 75 new outlets over the next three years. Ann Summers

has moved away from its seedy image, aiming itself at an

18-to-35-year-old - predominently female - clientele and designed a

campaign to increase this customer base.

Radio station Heart 106.2’s breakfast show runs a daily competition

called Battle of the Sexes. Listeners are asked questions about the

opposite sex and after a month the results are added up, determining

whether the girls or the boys have won. Larger-than-life presenter Jono

Coleman or his co-host, Erika North must carry out a forfeit on behalf

of their own sex. Ann Summers decided to link up with Heart 106.2 for

the campaign.

It was decided that if the girls won, Coleman would have to don some

fetishist PVC and suspenders and stand in the display window of Ann

Summers’ flagship store on Charing Cross Road.


To raise the profile of the Ann Summers brand, and increase sales,

especially in the run up to Valentine’s Day. To position Ann Summers to

a potential broader customer base as being fun and frivolous.

Strategy and Plan

With more than one million listeners Heart was perceived as being an

effective medium through which to reach a large audience. The campaign’s

target audience were primarily female 20- to 35-year-olds in the London


News agencies, the national press and entertainment magazines were

approached in the lead up to the promotion.

From the beginning of December, Coleman talked up the forfeit. Points

for the Battle of the Sexes were accumulated throughout December and

January until the loser - which fortunately for Ann Summers was the boys

- was announced on the morning of 2 February.

Ann Summers designed an outfit for the portly DJ and a photocall was

arranged for 2 February at the Charing Cross Road store. The occasion

attracted a crowd of about 50 people, including more than 20 press


Jono was dressed in fishnet stockings and a PVC outfit. His

co-presenter, Erika North, joined Jono in the window wearing a pink


A web-cam filmed the event and live-linked to the Heart web site -

www.heart1062. The breakfast show’s crew recorded a mini-documentary which was

played on the breakfast show the following day and Ann Summers’ PR

manager, Delia Bourne was interviewed for the station’s news. As a final

gesture Coleman gave his outfit to a caller on his breakfast show the

following day.

Measurement and Evaluation

The majority of coverage stemmed from Heart 106.2’s build-up to and

annoucement of the competition results. Listeners to the breakfast show

were constantly reminded of Coleman’s forfeit.

On the morning of the event Matthew Wright’s column in the Mirror

announced that London would ’be treated to a frightening sight in the

window of the Ann Summers flagship store’.

The web-cam live-link to the Heart web site recorded 11,901 hits during

the photocall. On the day listeners were reminded of the Ann Summers

exploit in news bulletins three times during the day.

The mini-documentary sustained exposure when it was played in the

lead-up to Jono giving away his costume as a competition prize.

The Daily Star, the Daily Sport, the Mail on Sunday Heat magazine, OK!

magazine and Retail Week all covered the campaign.


Consistent with Ann Summers’ image, the Battle of the Sexes campaign

managed to re-emphasise the brand as sexy and fun . The positioning of a

sex-focused brand with a ballad-playing radio station in the run up to

Valentine’s Day was highly appropiate.

The number of hits on the Heart web site and the tabloid media’s

coverage of the promotion ensured that the campaign reached its intended


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