Half Sizes Reshape Playtex Image

ATLANTA Playtex this week launched the last in a triptych of campaigns aimed at transforming the 70-year-old brand’s image from the utilitarian undergarment that held aloft Jane Russell’s bosom to a sleek undergarment for today’s 30-somethings.

The latest national marketing push supports the Winston-Salem, N.C., apparel maker’s “Thank goodness it fits” line, the first that allows women to choose among half sizes when selecting a bra cup. Two spots from Kraftworks in New York, in 15- and 30-second versions, feature French model and actress Noemie Lenoir dancing to a re-recorded version of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin).”

Both commercials end with the tagline, “Half size too for a more perfect fit.”

The TV ads began airing nationally this week on daytime soap operas and prime-time dramas including Smallville, 7th Heaven and Gilmore Girls, all WB shows. In August, the spots will go into wider release, with buys on cable channels including A&E, the Comedy Channel and TBS. An outdoor effort slated for August will supplement the effort in New York. Newly designed packaging and point-of-sale materials also support the campaign.

The push follows similar efforts this year behind Playtex’s 18-Hour and Cross Your Heart lines, which also revamped advertising and packaging materials to feature sleeker-looking models and lend the brand a more contemporary feel. During the 1950s, the brand was closely associated with movie actresses Jane Russell and Eve Arden. But the brand’s favored status among the pre-boomer generation prompted an image makeover.

“We sort of spent the last couple of years updating the look of all the Playtex brands,” said Kraftworks president Neil Kraft. “Previous to us, they had some attempts at rebranding but had never looked at the entire brand.”

Playtex first approached the shop in 2001, seeking to lower its target demographic by more than 30 years, sources said. While the client was looking to reach 18-24 year olds, it compromised on a more sober 30-year-old range, sources said.

“This is the youngest bra in their demographic,” Kraft said. “On the whole, Playtex brands appealed to older women, and we tried to nudge it younger without drastically changing it.”