Monday, June 7, 2010

Going Viral with Lane Bryant: Day Sixteen

Have we gone from spaghetti to cheesecake and back again?

The recent contretemps between Lane Bryant and Fox/ABC networks demonstrated the tremendous power of social media.

Lane Bryant, clothier of plus-sized women, created a suggestive commercial showcasing their new lingerie line.

Fox and ABC refused to air it, deeming it too racy. Lane Bryant posted the controversy on their blog, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Bloggers far and wide voiced their outrage, decrying the networks' unwillingness to show a scantily clad curvaceous woman on TV while they routinely broadcast skinny gals romping in their skivvies on other commercials, not to mention the skin they bare on regular programming. The video of the forbidden commercial went viral and, according to Advertising Age, was the #1 viewed clip on YouTube last week with well over 3 million hits.

What we would like to learn and, despite many attempts cannot, is how this happened. Was it a true grass-roots, organically grown campaign that legitimately voiced real people's opinions--essentially the spaghetti that did stick to the wall--or was it a brilliantly crafted strategy by the Lane Bryant ad execs who know that along with skin, righteous indignation sells?

The end result, of course, was that the networks gave in. The commercial was aired during the last ten minutes of American Idol, which is a primo timeslot, thus demonstrating the power of social media as an agent for change. Ok, ok, it didn't end world hunger or stop gun violence, but it has been called a victory for curvy women everywhere, a boon to the First Amendment, and proof that if enough people speak out, they can make a difference.

Some claim the whole saga was merely a publicity stunt by Lane Bryant to get more bang for their advertising buck.

What do YOU think?

Posted by: Keri


Kathleen said...

Wow, that would be devious if they did! Never thought of that. I will weigh in (no pun) and say NO they did not creat a publicity stunt! But, if they did bravo! k

ignorata c and ignorata k said...

What is this obsession with food Keri? Cheesecake and spaghetti? Is this this part of a dastardly plan to fatten us all up?

ignorata c and ignorata k said...

The following comment was forwarded to us via email--until now, we had comments restricted to registered users; we have now, in response to JENNIFER, opened access up to the wide wide world.

A well-planned strategy all the way, in my opinion, if their goal was to create some noise. If the end goal was to generate attention in a crowded world, then they succeeded. I just spent five minutes of my life reading this post and watching a clip about a product that wouldn't have otherwise been targeted to me (due to size, not lingerie as a general category).

Thus, I still won't shop at Lane Bryant so I'm wondering how successful it truly was and if their sales went up...keep us posted on the follow up...