Du Pont stretches campaign for Lycra to include Web site

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As part of a direct mail and trade advertising campaign promoting Lycra to sports apparel marketers, Du Pont's Lycra brand included a targeted, $25,000 Web site with a special customer survey and contact information for manufacturers.

The results: To date, more than 120 individuals have responded to the survey, which asks for information about style, fit, price, comfort and other aspects of the athletic clothing.

While those numbers might not sound spectacular, Lycra brand manager John Stella said that, in fact, they're quite valuable.

"I'll spend $10,000 to $12,000 on market research in a mall intercept to get that many responses," he said. He also noted that visitors to the site came from 47 countries.

And while most of the traffic on the site came from consumers, some has come from would-be manufacturing partners, including Seattle-based Water's Edge, which will begin marketing Lycra Power garments during spring 1997.


Mr. Stella said the number of manufacturing partners working with Lycra Power has grown from three to 11 over the past five months.

Lycra Power is a mark the Wilmington, Del.-based fabric manufacturer began promoting in June to team managers, college and high school trainers, and sports apparel companies that buy from manufacturers.

Here's how it works: Sports apparel marketers using at least 20% Lycra in their fabric are eligible to use the Lycra Power mark on labels and in advertising. Du Pont claims Lycra Power garments enhance athletic performance and can aid in preventing muscle strain.

Du Pont's role in the program is indirect: "We're an ingredient; we don't manufacture" said Mr. Stella.

But the targeted awareness campaigns his company ran in print with Young & Rubicam in trade publications such as Athletic Business and Trainer & Conditioning and in a 160,000-piece direct mail drop from Rowland, New York, all reference the Web site built by Wunderman Cato Johnson, New York.


Mr. Stella said adding an interactive element to a targeted business-to-business campaign "really was a test. We wanted to see what kind of reaction, traffic, and people would respond to a site like this."

"Going forward we're targeting retail buyers with a direct mail campaign beginning in January," Mr. Stella said.

Using the message "Don't get caught short" the campaign will appeal to 500 buyers at 100 major retail outlets to stock Lycra Power garments.

As for expanding the Web's role in the Lycra Power message disseminated, Mr. Stella said he's still evaluating it. "If we can set up a program for retailers [online] we might consider broadening the site," he said.

For example, a where-to-buy directory could be of use to both consumers looking to purchase the product and sportswear manufacturers studying where to distribute Lycra Power garments.

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