Client: Ann Summers
Campaign: Battle of the sexes
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
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 -
co.uk. 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
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