Wonderbra stunt sparks debate
Date of webcast: 15 October 2012 09:35 GMT
The latest campaign for Wonderbra has created something of a hullabaloo.
In part because it features some augmented reality content that is vaguely interesting – to men who want to see a fit model in her knickers at least. But also because it’s posed the questions: is this technology for the sake of it?
For those who haven’t seen it, but would like to, the intro video is here. You need to download the Wonderbra Decoder App and fire it up before you start watching – oh and you need to jack the sound up, put it on HD and make it full screen. Life too short? Not surprised …
So the first debate … is this technology for the sake of technology? Undoubtedly. But strangely what it shows is that smart marketers are those who will use a piece of technology pretty wantonly because it’ll cause a stir and people will write about it – thereby reaching an awful lot more folk than will ever use the app.
In this case, they’ve managed to create a buzz not just because you can tune into an app to see a bird in her bra (which, let’s face it, most underwear ads enable you to do, this is nothing new), but because they’ve run an ad campaign in which models are clothed – the first for a brand in this category, apparently.
In other words, they’ve managed to create a stunt in which they are accused of being too racy to attract women and yet too prudish to sell pants to them, simultaneously. For Wonderbra, a well-handled spot of media relations and they successfully rise both stories and make across the papers while they’re at it.
But what amazes me is the argument that these ads have stirred up (and it has been deliberately stoked, one feels) about whether having to download an use an app to see a globally recognised supermodel in her smalls is going to put women off.
First of all, if that were the case, the whole industry has got an issue given the rather turgid creative executions it ceaselessly churns out.
But second of all, this seems to be a debate about whether it’s somehow grubbier because you, the user, are choosing to see the lady in question in the almost altogether – rather than having her best bits forced upon you.
Actually, I rather thought that seeing a supermodel dressed and yet selling underwear would be a more attractive way of viewing the product – after all, it’s how most of us consciously (or otherwise) judge the success (or otherwise) of other folks’ knickers: under clothes rather than without them.
So Wonderbra has managed once again to turn an ad campaign into a media stunt. They’ve managed to provoke debate and argument over pretty much nothing. And, in every media outlet they have done so, they’ve managed to showcase their product and its wonderfully uplifting effects.
While their use of augmented reality may have reached around 165,000 people in the UK with their video showing it in action, they’ve managed to reach millions through the debate that it’s caused.
So, coming back to my question, was the augmented reality a wanton use of technology? Yes. Does that mean that it was a waste of time? Judging by the column inches they’ve managed to pull off with it, no, not by any stretch of the imagination.
James Gordon-MacIntosh is a managing partner at Hope&Glory PR and occasionally pens things on Spinning Around, a blog that he describes as “thinking out loud”. He hasn’t been thinking much lately.