Team One Elevates Maxham to Help Balance Its Portfolio

For years, department stores placed plus-size clothing in the basement and offered limited fashions for such items. And apparel marketers rarely targeted advertising toward women wearing sizes 14 and larger.

But now, with 60 percent of American adults overweight, sales of plus-size clothing make up about 25 percent of the $89 billion annual U.S. women’s apparel business, an increase in market share of 6 percent from 1999, according to NPD Fashionworld, a fashion research group in Port Washington, N.Y.

Sara Lee’s Just My Size line is looking to better tap into the plus-size market with TV spots from Publicis in Mid America that break nationally today. It is the agency’s first work for Just My Size, which it won following a review in September.

“We are re-establishing the mission of the brand and the relationship to the target,” said Ted Barton, president and creative at the Dallas agency. “A part of it is speaking to the plus-size woman and letting her know she is beautiful, and Just My Size designs its clothes to let this beauty come through.”

The campaign includes one 30-second spot and three 15-second product-specific ads. The longer spot attempts to convey that the brand, widely known for its intimate wear, has an extensive line of apparel. In the commercial, which illustrates women’s freedom to be comfortable with themselves and their clothes, a full-size woman walks on the beach with a man, and a group of women dance in a town square. A voiceover says, “Beauty is what happens in the Just My Size clothing collection, where everything is designed for you. Just My Size fits who you are.”

The other ads maintain the celebratory tone of that spot but highlight specific products: denim clothing, a gel-cushion strap bra, and capris and tops. The commercials, which target full-figured women ages 35-54, introduce the tagline, “Fits who you are.”

The ads build on the “I am” effort by the prior shop, Interpublic Group’s Temerlin McClain in Irving, Texas. That work intended to empower full-figured women by showing them in active scenes with copy such as, “I am gorgeous, sexy and beautiful.”

Sources said Sara Lee wanted a more “contemporary” campaign for the brand. A company representative was not available.

The spots will run on national network, cable and syndicated TV; print breaks in the April issues of magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Glamour and Essence.

Just My Size, among the top brands in the plus-size market, competes with lines like The Emme Collection and with retailers such as Lane Bryant. The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based brand spent about $10 million on media in the last two years, according to CMR.

The market has become a huge growth opportunity for the fashion industry, said NPD Fashionworld co-president Marshal Cohen, as more full-size women accept their stature and demand fashionable choices. “Retailers are beginning to really understand how to market the product better to the full-figured consumer, and manufacturers have finally gotten over the stigma that the full-figured gal is bad for their image,” said Cohen.