Lane Bryant Promo, Case study SIZISM IS AN IGNORISM by the/zimmerman/agency

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Industry Lingerie, Underwear, Pajamas, Tights & Stockings
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency the/zimmerman/agency
Director Michael Bernard
Executive Creative Director David Nathanson
Creative Director Lee Gonzalez
Producer Richard Nez
Released September 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Consumer Goods, including FMCG and Household Products
Advertiser: LANE BRYANT
Executive Creative Director: David Nathanson (Zimmerman Advertising)
CMO: Michael Goldberg (Zimmerman Advertising)
Creative Director: Lee Gonzalez (Zimmerman Advertising)
VP of Marketing: Jay Dunn (Lane Bryant) Audrey Mitchell (Zimmerman Advertising)
Producer: Richard Nez (Zimmerman Advertising)
VP, Managing Director: Lori Masciovecchio (Zimmerman Advertising)
Chief Strategy Officer: Cliff Courtney (Zimmerman Advertising)
Chief Client Officer: Chris Carroll (Zimmerman Advertising)
Director: Michael Bernard
Media placement: Blog - Lane Bryant Blog - April 20th, 2010

Summary of the Campaign
Lane Bryant, known for plus-sized fashions, suddenly found itself perfectly suited to fitting the average, size 14 woman. However, the old image of matronly clothing clung to the brand. We were charged with relaunching a speciality store that was no longer special. Recognizing there was a brand stigma in which fit was more important than style, our brand catalyst was the introduction of Cacique, Lane Bryant’s sexy intimate line. We introduced a campaign to convey, “Sexy is not a size,” but TV Network censors disagreed. They declared the work too sexy and demanded changes. We immediately reengineered our campaign from paid media to earned media. We took our message to the Internet, allowing our customers to hijack the brand and make their feelings known. Millions of YouTube viewings and thousands of news stories and blogs later, we successfully moved the brand from irrelevancy to vibrancy and success.
In all, there was over $43 million in earned media. Due to the social upheaval, Fox finally ran the TV spots, as well as extras at no charge.
When the business trend was -40%, the campaign results were: Web Sales +205%; Magalog Sales +93%; Loyalty Mail +50%; Bra Sales +32%; Panty Sales +19%

The Situation
Lane Bryant, the apparel store for plus-size women, was one of the first specialty stores defined by the way things fit a ‘hard to fit’ target. Over time, society changed more than the Lane Bryant brand did. What was once a minority became the majority. That is, close to 70 percent of women wear plus-sized clothing now. What should have been a catalyst for meteoric growth became a great liability as there are more plus-size clothes available at department stores now – all offering more fashionable brand names and styles without the stigma of being exclusively for plus sizes.

The Goal

Relaunch the Lane Bryant brand and:
- Increase Lane Bryant consumer consideration by 20%
- Stabilize sales trajectory and shift 8% - from (-16%)* to (-8%.)
- Revitalize store traffic counts and shift from (-30%)* to (-15%).

The target audience: women 25-54 years old, size 14 and over with $45k+ HHI.

We poured through historical research to understand how plus-sized customers differ from other apparel consumers. We employed proprietary methodologies to learn and validate through a rigorous conjoint study.

Key Insight: there are different psychographic need-states of the plus size consumer, but all women want to be sexy at any size.

The Strategy
Spotlight Cacique, Lane Bryant's intimate apparel line, as a powerful and differentiating offering for plus-size women.
The Lane Bryant woman wants fashion that fits. She wants to feel powerful, warm and sexy. She wants to be looked at. She wants to reveal, not just conceal. She wants the attention she has long allowed society to convince her she did not deserve. She wants to throw the world a curve – and expects the same of her store. So our strategy was to show this Lane Bryant woman proud and beautiful in order to drive consideration to the store. We used the rejection of the ad campaign as a lightning rod to own the conversation about size and beauty. We leveraged social media channels to drive traffic and strengthen consumer engagement. And we mobilized the media by targeting highly influential and credible entertainment and news media to break the story.

Recognizing there was a brand stigma in which fit was more important than style, our initial brand catalyst was the introduction of Cacique, Lane Bryant’s intimate line. Our intention was to convey that sexy is not a size and beauty comes in small, medium and large.
Unfortunately, as we sent the TV spots to the networks to air, they were declined multiple times for being...SEXY! Those same networks actually aired Victoria’s Secret ads and often flaunt breasts and bikinis on their shows. We were outraged and our job was to make sure the public was outraged as well. We immediately reengineered our campaign from paid media to earned media. The rejection letters from the TV networks were published on the Lane Bryant blog as a starting point, simply bringing the conversation to the table. From then on, we let consumers hijack the brand and allowed them to speak their minds.

Documented Results
In less than six days, Lane Bryant was on thousands of blogs, websites and programs, including The Today Show, CNN, CBS News, ET, SNL and Leno (twice).
We averaged one Tweet every 30 seconds and our spot became the most viewed YouTube video in the world two weeks running. Over all, there was over $43 million in earned media. Lane Bryant is now enjoying comp sales and consideration lifts that would have normally taken decades and hundreds of millions of dollars to achieve. Here are some key results of the campaign - all at a time when the business trend was –40%.

Business Results:

Web Sales +205% *
Magalog Sales +93%*
Loyalty Mail +50%*
Bra/Panty Sales +32%*

Store Traffic +22% (a 50%+ shift)*

Perceptual/Attitudinal Results:
Brand consideration +32%*
Brand style perception + 28%*

*Lane Bryant and agency data