THE MARKETING 100; ELIZABETH MEYER;WONDERBRA

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Women, tired of the waif look, were seeking something to lift their spirits as well as their bosoms. They found it in Sara Lee Corp.'s Wonderbra.

"The timing was right, the product provides superior cleavage and it is the most comfortable," claims Elizabeth Meyer, marketing manager at Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Sara Lee Foundations, in explaining why the Wonderbra has done so well in a market neither new nor lacking in variety.

Ms. Meyer, 29, is a leading member of what she calls "a team of almost all women from marketing, advertising and PR that was critical to the success of the brand." She credits staffers at Marina Maher PR and TBWA Advertising as well as Clover Bergmann, the company's VP-marketing, and Paul Mischinski, Sara Lee Foundations president.

When the Wonderbra was introduced nationally last August with print advertising from TBWA, it happened to be a turning point in the fashion world-women wanted curves. They no longer wanted to look like Kate Moss; even the super model herself was looking to shape up her image.

Capitalizing on this, Sara Lee pulled out all the marketing stops with a well-orchestrated teaser campaign. Wonderbra was heralded in New York, Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles with prelaunch publicity from press releases to fashion shows. High-traffic-area outdoor boards in these cities, along with local newspaper ads, trumpeted the coming arrival of the bra in a teaser-style executions noting only that Wonderbra was coming and the date it was due to arrive.

For extra PR punch, security guards accompanied the product from the airport to department stores. Fashion shows, held at the stores, displayed the before-and-after results of using the cleavage-enhancing product.

All this was staged long before the product hit the shelves-and local media covered it all.

The PR strategy even took advantage of potential bad press from feminist critics, citing the argument that a breast-enhancing bra was far superior to implants.

The results: Sales hit $120 million last year and the overall bra market saw a 17% increase, to $2.4 billion. Wonderfull.

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