Fruit of the Loom’s New Ads for Breathable Underwear Revel in the Product’s Awkwardness

Please don't talk about it

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The first rule of breathable underwear is, you don’t talk about breathable underwear.

The creative team on Fruit of the Loom at CP+B found this out pretty quickly while working on a new assignment for just that product. It was awkward to talk about around the CP+B offices—a circumstance that led fairly directly to the first of three new ads.

In it, the brand pleads with women not to talk openly about its breathable underwear, even though they’ll want to practically incessantly.

“We were hearing that women really loved these underwear, but when it came to describing why they loved them so much, we found ourselves getting a little red in the face,” KT Thayer, creative director at CP+B Boulder, tells Adweek. “The more descriptive we got, the more detail we went into, the more people who overheard us, the more we worried about having an awkward conversation with HR.”

The creative team saw the insight within the awkwardness and came back with the idea: Breathable underwear is so incredible you will want to talk about it. Please don’t.

“It’s not often a client is willing to ask people not to talk about their product or listen to their ads. But that’s why we think people will,” says Thayer.

CP+B made a separate ad for men’s breathable underwear, which offers a comical product demonstration about how micro-mesh fabric facilitates airflow—even when you might not want it to.

“We wanted to find a way to do a product demonstration that wasn’t gross,” Thayer says of the second ad. “Something that helped guys understand that the little holes in the underwear can make a significant difference. We tried to make that point in dramatic fashion without taking ourselves too seriously.”

Finally, Fruit of the Loom went to the X Games last weekend in Minneapolis and demonstrated the “power of breathability” by setting up a wind tunnel. Volunteers including BMX legend Jamie Bestwick took turns running toward a 100-horsepower fan while harnessed to a parachute.

“When it came to the X Games, we wanted to get attention with a different kind of demonstration,” Thayer says. “We reminded people that air can be pretty powerful, whether it’s knocking you down in a wind tunnel or cooling your nether regions.”

Client: Fruit of the Loom
Spot: “Ladies Breathable Underwear”
Agency: CP+B
VP/Chief Creative Officer: Ralph Watson
Creative Director: KT Thayer
Associate Creative Director: Shannon Gibney
Associate Creative Director: Josh Shelton
Integrated Producer, Video: Autumn Hines
EVP/Managing Director: Danielle Whalen
VP/Account Director: Kristi Kirkeide Boutiette
Content Supervisor: Whitney Beemer
Group Strategy Director: Ethan Decker
Sr. Strategist: Fabiana Brown
Social Media Supervisor: Montanna Card
Associate Media Director: Craig McDowell
Sr. Business Affairs Manager: Daphne Papadopulos
Sr. Project Manager: Courtney Pollard
Jr. Project Manager: Courtney Jepson
Production Company & City: Radical Media, NY
Director: Steve Miller
Executive Producer: Gregg Carlesimo
Producer: Carla Tate
Editorial Company & City: Cut & Run
Editor: Jay Nelson
Senior Producer (Editorial Co.): Jared Thomas
VFX Company & City: Method Studios, Santa Monica
VFX Creative Director: Kelly Bumbarger
VFX Producer: Julia Paskert
Music Company & City: Butter
Composer: Andrew Sherman, Max Schad
Audio Post Production Studio & City: Lime Studios, Santa Monica
Mix Engineer: Matt Miller
Mix Engineer Assist: Peter Lapinski
Telecine Company & City: Company 3, Santa Monica
Sr. Colorist: Stefan Sonnenfeld
Telecine Sr. Producer: Katie Andrews

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@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.