Jockey fashions more feminine undies

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When Jockey International unveils its latest billboard in New York's Times Square this week, viewers may be surprised.

Not because the billboard features a model clad only in bikini panties, but because of what else is missing. No shots of firemen or surfers in their skivvies are to be found, and the tagline "Let them know you're Jockey" is absent from the board.

Jockey this year will get in touch with its feminine side, with new products, advertising and more spending all targeted directly at women. New ads from Grey Advertising, New York, will expand on Jockey's growing presence in the women's underwear market.

"It is important to speak to women individually," said Mark D. Hogan, VP-marketing and advertising. Women 25 to 44 years old are still the brand's main target, but Jockey also will launch products to attract more young, fashion-forward consumers.

SEAMLESS COLLECTION

The Times Square billboard will introduce the Seamless collection for women, a line of cotton bras and panties in fashion colors and prints. Print ads will break in April issues of fashion and lifestyle magazines including Conde Nast Publications' Glamour and Self, Hearst Magazines' Marie Claire, Time Inc.'s In Style, Weider Publications' Shape and Wenner Media's Us.

Ads in May will focus on new styles and colors for the support bra line introduced last summer, and a back-to-school flight in August books will feature Cotton Corps, a new collection targeted at younger women and featuring active wear in neutral colors such as khaki and gray.

Efforts also will include point-of-purchase advertising and promotions on Jockey's site (jockey.com), events and promotions designed to increase sampling, such as buy-one-get-one-free offers online and at retail.

Woven throughout the campaign is a new ad concept, "The Comfort Commitment," a stamp that will appear in all executions. That speaks to a key factor in selling to women, Mr. Hogan said. The theme and new tagline, "We know what makes you feel good," will be used in all women's advertising this year, he said.

The "Let them know you're Jockey" tag and ads with real-life consumers dropping their pants will continue in the campaign for the men's lines, Mr. Hogan added. That campaign, also from Grey, has featured real-life firemen and surfers as well as soap opera stars modeling Jockey underwear.

BUDGET BOOST

The company also plans to increase its total spending to bring the ad budget for women's products on par with men's, Mr. Hogan said. Jockey spent $8 million in measured media in the first 11 months of 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Jockey first entered the women's market in 1982 with Jockey for Her, a line of cotton panties that borrowed many style points from its men's underwear line.

Since then, the 123-year-old Kenosha company has been trying to build its profile among younger consumers and women with more colorful and fashion-conscious styles.

It also is reaching into new distribution channels beyond department and specialty stores.

This month, Jockey will introduce Formfit, a line of women's intimate apparel sold exclusively in Target Stores (AA, Feb. 7).

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