NEW PLAYTEX COMFORT LINE FITS WITH INDUSTRY TREND: MARKETER JOINS CALVIN KLEIN, VICTORIA'S SECRET IN MOVE TOWARD COTTON UNDIES

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Playtex Apparel has joined the intimate-apparel marketers who have slipped into something more comfortable, with the introduction of its cotton Comfort by Design underwear.

With ads touting the line as "the most comfortable seat in the house," Playtex-best known for its bras and bodyshapers-is making a jump into the mainstream women's underwear market.

ADS BY SAATCHI &*SAATCHI

Print ads for Comfort by Design, handled by Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, New York, are running in December issues of women's magazines; TV commercials will air on syndicated shows, including "Wheel of Fortune," "Jeopardy" and "Day & Date."

Cotton and comfort are recent catchwords in women's undergarment marketing. Calvin Klein is currently running print and broadcast ads, created in-house. This summer, Victoria's Secret used supermodel Claudia Schiffer in a campaign from Tarlow Advertising to tout its cotton underwear line.

Sara Lee Corp.'s Hanes division, which claims to lead the women's underwear retail market with one-third of all sales, launched a new network and cable TV "Brief Thoughts" campaign last month for its cotton Hanes Her Way underwear from Long Haymes Carr, Winston-Salem, N.C. And Fruit of the Loom launched a $30 million campaign emphasizing comfort from Leo Burnett Co., Toronto, this spring.

LOOKING FOR COMFORT

New York-based retail consultant Alan Millstein said the advantage with the new underwear is the appeal to the estimated 35 million female baby boomers who are looking for comfort as their bodies change with aging.

The comfort connection comes at a time when the women's underwear market is booming.

According to NPD Group, which tracks panty sales, retail sales last year were $1.6 billion, up 10.3% over 1994, on top of a 9.9% sales increase from '93.

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