2014 EFFIE Award Preview: Hanes' Undercover Color

Category: Media Idea

Agency: Starcom MediaVest Group, 360i

Client: HanesBrands Inc.

Title: Undercover Color: Dare to Share

CHALLENGE:  Known as a leader in the category for comfort, Hanes used to benefit from being women’s ‘default’ go-to for apparel and intimates. However, the comfortable qualities of Hanes panties were not winning over Millennial women because these fashionistas wanted both comfort AND style.



The brand had already invested in diversifying its repertoire to include new lines and styles featuring fun, colorful and flirty styles in 2012 – but younger consumers weren’t yet taking notice. 

Recognition wasn’t a problem for Hanes, but perception was – especially among younger audiences. For most of these young ladies, Hanes was not a part of their style conversation and they had the perception that Hanes products were for older women. Since Millennial females (18-34) in particular saw Hanes as a classic, brand – the opposite of fun and fashionable – our challenge was to modernize perception of Hanes among this core consumer demographic.

SOLUTION: Hanes implemented an integrated campaign in order to give women a platform to do something a little taboo: broadcast the pigment of their panties. Using Twitter as the primary vehicle for dialogue, Hanes asked women across the U.S. one simple question: “What color underwear are you wearing?” In return, fans unabashedly revealed what color undies they were wearing using a dedicated hashtag, #undercovercolor. 

To make a splash, the results of the color poll were streamed to a billboard in Times Square and featured women’s color trends by region. This united the colorful opinions of women across the country in one place. The trends updated on, a content destination site where consumers could enjoy color visualizations, amusing mood boards, and a chance to win fashionable gifts. 

A custom content collaboration with top women’s magazines like Cosmo, Elle, and Marie Claire, established fashion equity for Hanes. A fashion blog tour, utilizing 31 fashion influencers, touted the bright Hanes products and each blogger incorporated the bright products into their own personal style. 

Hanes also engaged the target while she was in the sharing mindset and surfing online and on her phone. Display ads and online video ran across devices on not only fashion sites, but also properties with interesting, intriguing, and shareable content. These ads would reach the Millennial target while she was in the right mindset and had some time to explore the web for style ideas.   

RESULTS: The Undercover Color campaign generated an undercurrent of underwear frenzy and created a social currency between both Hanes and their target. #UndercoverColor received more than 30,000 mentions on Twitter, which was a 79% increase from the pre-campaign period. Follower growth during the campaign was seven times higher than pre-campaign levels.

Post-campaign data revealed a 13.6-point lift among Millennial women stating that “Hanes panties are up-to-date” vs. Millennial women in that same group who were not exposed to the campaign. Overall, total brand communication awareness for online had a 15.5-point lift amongst Millennial women. 

Effie Awards are known by advertisers and agencies globally as the pre-eminent award in the marketing industry and recognize any and all forms of communication that contribute to a brand's success. Gold, silver and bronze Effie winners will be announced at the 46th annual North American Effie Awards gala on June 5 in New York. 

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