CAMPAIGN: Bra centenary boosts online lingerie sales

Online lingerie retailer's PR efforts prior to this year had largely been product-based, with a greater focus on the brands it stocked rather than its own identity.

CAMPAIGN: Bra centenary boosts online lingerie sales

Campaign: Bra centenary
PR team: In-house
Timescale: April 2007
Budget: £5,000

It was decided to reverse this and create the firm’s first major brand building campaign, timed to coincide with promotional activity for the spring/summer collections when stock commitment in the sector is at its heaviest.

To create awareness, mainly among ­female customers, of and position the brand as an expert on lingerie. To increase sales of the spring/summer collection stock.

In order to create awareness of both the brand and its products, the PR team decided to create a campaign that would appeal to both the fashion media and general news journalists. ­Research by the in-house team discovered that the word ‘brassiere’ was first used in American Vogue in 1907, ­presenting an opportunity to create a ­campaign around the ‘centenary of
the bra’.

Figleaves’s director of communications Jo Jeffrey explains it was crucial the Figleaves name was not lost in the story, and firm links between the brand and the centenary were created in the minds of journalists and consumers.

So, designer Damaris Turl produced an exclusive lingerie range of contemporary and vintage designs for the Mimi Holiday product line. In addition journalists were supplied with images of bras over the last century as well as a 100-year timeline graphic. The campaign was also bolstered by a promotional offer using 1907 prices and radio advertising involving Lycra.

Research for the campaign carried out in house highlighted 64 pieces of coverage that mentioned Figleaves, with only two publications failing to include the brand. Coverage included articles in the Daily Mail, The Sun, Daily Mirror, The Times and Daily Telegraph. Having such a wide range of coverage was important, says Jeffrey, as Fig­leaves’ price range covers a broad age and social economic demographic.

Magazines that covered the story included Hello!, Harpers Bazaar and Arena. Regional newspaper coverage included The Scotsman and Wales on Sunday, and online the story was featured by, and The story was also featured on ITV1’s This Morning.

The majority of newspaper coverage focused on the centenary angle, while most magazine coverage focused on the Damaris Turl range.

The Damaris Turl range was Figleaves’s bestseller for the two weeks following the launch of the campaign. Between 16 and 26 April, when the campaign launched, the website saw an increase in online sales of 20 per cent, compared with the week prior to the launch. ­Jeffrey says further analysis showed that many of these extra sales were from customers who accessed the website directly.

Toni Jones, The Sun’s deputy fashion editor, says: ‘The centenary of the bra was the perfect fashion story for The Sun. It had a news and consumer element and we were able to shoot sexy fashion pictures to go with the story.

We were also able to use a good range of brands, which is important to our readers.’

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