Stuck in the Middle
Stop the presses: Hanes' new advertising spots have dared to go where no lingerie company has gone before. Get ready: They're playing on women's insecurities.
But instead of creating the illusion of bowling ball-size breasts or nixing possibly life-altering panty lines, Hanes introduced its line of "No Ride-Up Panties" this March. Women everywhere are encouraged to lol with actress Sarah Chalke as she combats a wicked wedgie throughout a regular day. According to Hanes, Chalke's knack for "physical comedy" and "approachable personality" made her the ideal face of Hanes. And though the new ads differ greatly from previous Hanes' campaigns starring wholesome celebs like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Michael Jordan and Cuba Gooding, Jr., it doesn't mean Hanes isn't going to preach the no-wedgie gospel over every media channel possible. In addition to tv, print (People, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Redbook and InStyle), and online spots, Chalke's face will soon appear on social networking sites and e-mail listservs ("Wedgie-Free Wednesday" giveaways - for real).
The underwear adjusting doesn't stop there - readers can also submit their own "wedgie" horror stories to a special Web site, and rate others' tales of woe on a "Blush-O-Meter." The Hanesbrands company can afford all that advertising, too: Sales increased 1.6 percent to $4.5 billion in 2007. The campaign, created by the Virginia-based Martin Agency, may heap on the slapstick humor, but repeats a refrain all too common in women's advertising (with an odd twist): Everyone is staring at your butt, everyone knows you're uncomfortable and everyone can see you adjusting your wedgie. Whether or not women actually care that much about ill-fitting underwear remains to be seen. After all, we've struggled with too-tight bras, uncomfortable undies and grandma stockings our entire lives. Maybe we should just file wedgies somewhere among domestic violence, rape and breast cancer on our list of challenges.