But 160 women in white "How To Look Good Naked" trench coats (and layers upon layers of much warmer clothing) did turn out for the culmination of Lifetime's biggest marketing stunt in the women's cable network's history. Starting at 7 a.m., the women took to the streets and subways of midtown Manhattan, waving purple bras on purple sticks; handing out "Happy Nude Year" cards; and chanting, "If you're naked and you know it clap your hands!" By noon, they had all congregated on the military island of Times Square between 43rd Street and Broadway, as tourists, cab drivers and construction workers alike wondered why a massive crowd of women was so excited about getting naked.
Megan Gagliano, a tourist from Alabama, was passing through with her two daughters as the girls raised their screaming decibels to a dog-whistle pitch for TV cameras. A dedicated Lifetime viewer, Ms. Gagliano was already familiar with the Carson Kressley-hosted series based on promos she'd seen on the network. "I'll probably watch it now," she said. "This certainly got my attention."
In addition to the Times Square exposure, Lifetime partnered with the likes of Bliss Spa, E.l.f. Cosmetics, Macy's, Maidenform bras, Redbook, Keri Renewal and Vespa for other promotions and product placements. It also branded its first airline channel with JetBlue. Eleven malls across the country have hosted their own "Happy Nude Year" promotions, with 250,000 cards and 20,000 compact mirrors given out over New Year's weekend alone.
As he shivered in the brisk New York air, Mr. Kressley told Watercooler he already felt like the show was a success, much in the same way he did in his days on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." "When the women on the show came back at the end of the season feeling better about themselves and more confident, that was all the success I needed," he said. Lest he get too sincere, however, he then waved a purple undergarment in the air and whooped, "I'm freezing my bra!"