08 August 2012

The Ones That Got Away: Underwear

imageCommon Knowledge: When pitching, create a campaign for the client. If they go for it, then create a campaign for consumers.

I don’t have the patience anymore for the first step, so I skip it.  If you want my opinions and ideas, that’s what you get.

And I don’t blog about clients:

Professional relationships will not be disclosed or publicized in my blog or anywhere else. This protects your  professional relationships - and mine. 

Although if the statute of limitations is up, I might.

Every so often I do blog about the ones that got away.  They’re not mentioned by name – but if you’re a good googler…

A year and a half ago an entrepreneur approached me via email:
Mr. Nyren -

My name is **** and I am President of a start up company named *****.  I have teamed with ***** to develop men's underwear most all boomers will appreciate.

We call them **** overconfident underwear. 
What separates ***** from any other underwear is their ability to keep any post void dribble (pee spot) from showing up on your slacks. Our underwear is made from the finest cotton available and look and feel like any other premium underwear. Please look at our web site to see video and pictures. We have been selling for about 2 months using Google add words, and talking to local urologists and giving them brochures to hand out to patients…

… My question is how to reach our target clients and then build momentum so our stock and sales grow together. I would like to send you a pair…
Comfy, good-looking, premium underwear.  Whatever the cup is treated with, it’s invisible.

So was their website.  Alexa ranked it 5 million plus change.
But that was OK with me, because the website was awful.  The first image/impression: a pair of pants with a big wet spot near the crotch.  Sprinkled around the site were hokey jokes about peeing in your pants.  In the midst of all this silliness, and seemingly out of place, were pictures of a top quality, handsome line of underwear. 
A few one-on-one chats, a conference call or two – and I put together my suggestions in something resembling a creative brief.  Snippets:
  • Take your product out of the medical realm and into the mainstream marketing arena.
  • You have a product that incorporates urine drip protection, a normal occurrence that is often perceived as incontinence. While the medical industry might stigmatize this as a condition (post micturition dribble), your product should be positioned as  premium underwear for men.
  • ***** doesn’t alleviate a medical problem any more than an elastic waist-band alleviates a ‘medical’ problem of underwear falling down, or constructing it with ‘high quality cotton’ alleviates a ‘medical’ problem of being uncomfortable. You are offering men’s underwear the way it should have been designed in the first place – with protection.
  • I would rethink the spotting theme in marketing/advertising materials. We don’t need to see it, we don’t need copy that explains what it is. Often, if you identify a product with a negative image – that’s the one that sticks. Everyone knows what a pee spot looks like on a pair of pants. There is no reason to remind them with videos and flash graphics. The first image you see on your website is something unattractive and ugly. Not good.
  • We can get people to the site by employing more conventional marketing.  Let them discover the protection as a feature they want in underwear. It isn’t a question of prudishness – but you don’t want to go out of your way with Baby Boomers by telling them what they need and why – especially when it involves slightly embarrassing scenarios. Let them figure it out.  The protection is simply one of many premium features.
  • Also to be taken into consideration: Women are prime customers. They buy clothes for men. They are buying underwear for their husbands – and they know that their husbands would not appreciate their wives purchasing a product for them that might be misconstrued as an adult diaper.  This is premium, stylish, underwear – not a medical garment. 
I also mentioned this.  And this.

They didn’t go for it. 

A year later I ran across a press release from a marketing firm announcing a new client – the underwear start-up.  I have no idea what they’ve all been up to since then – but whatever it is doesn’t include the web site.  It’s now ranked by Alexa as 27 million plus change.

Good product with lots of potential if positioned correctly.  I wish them well.

Related: I don't need it, but I'll try it on for charity.

Mark Hager Thanks to two folks penning nice (too nice) things about me in recent blog posts:

Mark Hager, Aging In Place Professionals

Claude Nougat The Blog