Hanes, well aware that guys never tire of a good boot-to-the-nuts gag, is kicking off its new Comfort Flex Fit Boxer Briefs with kangaroo humor. The shorts feature a specially designed breathable pouch, which inevitably led to the kangaroo comparison, inviting men to feel “the magic of the pouch” for themselves.
“Since the pouch is the key point of differentiation, it became abundantly clear that we were going to have to use kangaroos,” says Tim Blankenbaker, director of marketing for Hanes Brands, who says that the ads for the new product will mark Hanes’ return to the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament after several years absence.
With the kind of brash Aussie voiceover normally reserved for nature documentaries, the Martin Agency-created ads conclude with a video clip of a kangaroo kicking an unsuspecting man right where it hurts.
Why is this funny? Why is the man unsuspecting, since he is, in fact, petting a kangaroo, and kangaroos are almost as famous for kicking as they are for pouches? Blankenbaker admits he has no clue but concedes it’s the kind of joke that’s been keeping America’s Funniest Home Videos alive for decades.
It may even make men buy underwear. After all, he tells Marketing Daily, “we’re pretty simple animals.”
The new line stems from the brand’s reputation in comfort. “People don’t think about comfort unless their underwear is uncomfortable,” he says, “and our comfort credentials run central to everything we do.”
He says boxer briefs are the most popular type of men’s underwear, “and where all the growth is.” The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company has already added cooling and odor control technology, “so this is the next step.”
Fruit of the Loom continues to be its main competitor. And while smaller premium brands, such as Duluth Trading Co. and pricey products from apparel giants like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour have been gaining in share, he says not much else has changed in the big picture of men’s knickers.
“The purchase cycle is about twice a year, and overall, the category is flat,” he says. And while Millennials may differ from other generations in many ways, he says you’d never know by peeking into their underwear drawers. “My guess is that there are guys who have upgraded their phones more often than their underwear.”
Ads will be supported with paid social, search and influencer programs, and on other networks, in addition to the NCAA playoffs. “We’re really excited about returning to March Madness and live sports. We know it’s been effective for us in the past, and consumers shouldn’t be able to miss it.”