Client: La Senza
PR Team: Biddick Associates
Campaign: Support of flotation on AIM
Timescale: March-May 1996
Budget: pounds 20,000
La Senza, a lingerie retailer owned by Canadian company Suzy Shier, has
been in the UK market for less than two years but has grown quickly to a
chain of 22 stores. It wanted to continue its rapid expansion but needed
capital for the 150 new outlets it intends to open.
To fund its expansion, it was decided that 39.8 per cent of La Senza
should be sold to investors on the Alternative Investment Market.
Biddick Associates was hired to raise the profile of La Senza in the
City and support the institutional marketing campaign organised by
adviser/ broker Williams de Broe and ‘create excitement for the after
market in shares’.
Lesser, but still important objectives were to raise the overall
national profile of the chain - augmenting the work of La Senza’s
consumer agency Jackie Cooper PR - and to let the property industry know
of the company’s interest in acquiring prime retail space.
It was considered important to keep City interest alive from the
beginning of the institutional marketing round on 15 April through until
the first dealings in La Senza equity on 8 May.
The obvious visual strengths of La Senza’s range of lingerie and
underwear were used to maximise impact. The initial announcement that La
Senza was to float came in a press release sent to the national Sunday
newspapers. This was accompanied by fashion shots (from Jackie Cooper)
of models photographed in La Senza’s latest range.
Interviews with other targeted press followed this first announcement,
with additional information released piecemeal as the admission document
A corporate video was made for City analysts and fund managers and
Biddick lent its support to a two-week institutional marketing roadshow,
during which the La Senza directors met with 60 institutions. A cocktail
party for local fund managers and press was held at La Senza’s Edinburgh
Activity was stepped up for 2 May, Impact Day - the day when the key
facts and figures about the flotation were announced and the prospectus
was released. The day began with a morning photocall in Exchange Square
in the Square Mile during which the La Senza management posed with
lingerie-clad models who were equipped with furled umbrellas and bowler
hats to stress the City connection.
‘I decided we needed to say lingerie and City at the same time,’ says
Biddick director Emma Cameron.
On the following day, La Senza deputy chairman Laurence Lewin was
interviewed on Bloomberg Business News.
News of the initial announcement and colour pictures, made it onto the
business section front pages of at least five national Sunday newspapers
in England and Scotland.
‘Biddick did very well at getting column inches,’ says Williams de Broe
director of corporate sales and syndication Joe Nally. ‘At the end of
the day, La Senza ended up with a blue chip shareholder list, which was
While the tabloid-style combination of bowler hats and bimbos might be
enough to make financial page purists shudder, solid coverage increased
awareness and expectation among potential investors so that La Senza had
little difficulty raising the pounds 20 million it needed. But one has
to suspect that had La Senza been a purveyor of angling equipment,
picture editors would not have been as keen to show off its wares on