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Frederick's Hosts Consumer Undie Contest

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NEW YORK Brands have a lot of faith in their customers these days. They turn to them to come up with everything from ads (Doritos, Chevy and others), video game concepts (Doritos), even business ideas (Dell).

Now, they've moved on to lingerie.

Beginning next month, Frederick's of Hollywood is running a six-week online promotion for users to submit designs for a corset that Frederick's will produce to be modeled on the runway during its annual "Clothes Off Our Backs" charity auction. The user-designed corset will share the stage on Oct. 24-25 with creations from celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Reese Witherspoon.

It is Fredericks' first major push into user-generated content, said Tracy Rhyan, director of multi-channel marketing, with the aim of reaching women in their late teens to mid-20s. Last year, Frederick's relied on store signage and more traditional online campaigns like e-mail alerts.

"It allows Frederick's to engage the consumer on a deeper level," said Rhyan. "It allows her to engage on a deeper level by becoming involved in the design."

The company hopes to build viral appeal for the "From Your Design to Hollywood & Vine" campaign by alerting the 500,000 customers on its e-mail list of the contest, which is hosted by user-generated marketing company Brickfish. It will also promote the contest on its Web site and to Brickfish's 100,000 members.

Visitors to the contest site, www.brickfish.com/fashion/corsetdesign, download a Frederick's-created corset template, then either print it out to design by hand or use their own design software. Once uploaded, they can then post a link to their design on their blog or social networking page, or e-mail it to friends.

"Creators who become passionate about this become the best marketing advocates," said Shahi Ghanem, CEO of Brickfish.

Frederick's hopes to get up to 5,000 design submissions, which will drive about 100,000 brand interactions, Rhyan said. In previous Brickfish efforts, such as campaigns for Toyota and Sephora, each content submission has resulted in about 800 brand impressions, Ghanem said.

At the site, visitors will vote on their favorite design. Frederick's will chose the winner, who will get a trip to Los Angeles to attend the fashion show and go on a shopping spree.

Although it won't disclose payment details of the Frederick's campaign, Brickfish typically operates on a "pay-per-engagement" model that takes a page out of Google's playbook by allowing marketers to pay based on performance.

"I found when you're trying to drive a new business model, putting your money where your mouth is works," said Ghanem.