Why a new set of mannequins appeared at Lane Bryant

Inside the retailer’s push to make fashion more inclusive.

New mannequins at Lane Bryant's Columbus store.
New mannequins at Lane Bryant's Columbus store.

Company: Lane Bryant
Campaign: Diverse mannequin program
Agency partners: Coyne PR (media relations, PR) 
Duration: February-March 2020

Lane Bryant, the plus-sized clothing retailer, introduced a set of mannequins at its remodeled flagship store in Columbus, Ohio, featuring a variety of skin tones. 

Strategy
Top beauty brands have, in recent years, focused on inclusivity and representation. The fashion industry? Not so much. Many brands continue to showcase a certain type of customer: slim and white. 

Lane Bryant was already known for its inclusivity in terms of size, but it decided to expand this by introducing mannequins of various skin tones at its remodeled flagship store. In January, it brought on Coyne PR to spotlight its mannequin program through earned media. 

Lane Bryant not only wanted to make customers feel “more valued, seen and represented,” said Coyne PR SVP Deborah Sierchio, but push other fashion brands to do the same.

Tactics
Coyne PR began working on the campaign in January and started pitching media a few weeks prior to the store’s re-opening. It adopted a two-prong approach, first targeting a list of select, top-tier media outlets. This curated group received exclusive content, including photos of the mannequin program and the opportunity to speak with Lane Bryant executives. 

After the program was announced on February 21, Coyne PR entered phase two, pitching the story far and wide. 

Lane Bryant targeted business, fashion and trade publications, in addition to consumer outlets, showcasing the business insight behind the initiative: Customers crave representation. 

Results
The campaign generated 19 earned media placements, including write-ups in Forbes and People. It was also covered by Good Morning America and the Total Retail Podcast, which featured an interview with Lexy Onofrio, Lane Bryant’s VP of brand marketing strategy and creative.

The campaign was also covered by a number of local Columbus outlets, including multiple broadcast stations, which helped get “people excited and through the door,” said Caroline Aponte, a senior account supervisor at Coyne PR.

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