HANES ON LIPO: THE CUTTING EDGE

Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg

NEW YORK--Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is not the place to have second thoughts about cosmetic surgery.
Patients there are now greeted by a billboard in the parking lot of a woman wearing a tight black tank dress and Hanes Smooth Illusions pantyhose, with the tag line "Liposuction Without Surgery."
The campaign is part of Hanes Hosiery's effort to reach 1.7 billion consumers with an ambitious blitz of TV, billboards, buses, bus shelters, mall murals and telephone kiosks.
In fact, Hanes has nearly tripled its advertising budget to $6.2 million, specifically to promote its Smooth Illusions and Silk Reflections lines.
Eager to develop a more updated look to attract younger women, Hanes hired Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising here to design the new campaigns. The "Liposuction Without Surgery" ads appear in 20 cities.
"We wanted to take our message to the streets," said Mitchell Kon, vice president of marketing for Hanes. "It's a little bit in-your-face--a little sexy."
Earlier this month, Hanes introduced a national TV campaign for Smooth Illusions on major networks and cable. Later this month, a similar effort will be introduced for Silk Reflections. Print ads for both brands will appear in 27 magazines, including nonfashion publications such as Vanity Fair, Bride's and Working Mother.
"We're covering all the bases because our products are all different," said Debbie Hobbs, vice president of merchandising for Hanes. "In some places you want to be in Allure, and in some places you want to be on Seinfeld."
As for the ubiquitous"Liposuction" campaign, the cosmetic surgery set isn't feeling threatened. Patrick Abergel, M.D., who teaches liposuction to UCLA medical students at the hospital and performs 500 procedures annually, said, "It's just a pair of pantyhose. I don't think women are that gullible. They won't fall for that one. It's a joke, right?"
On the East Coast--where the ad is featured on bus stops as well a huge Times Square billboard--David Lipson, M.D., who was one of the first plastic surgeons to practice liposuction 13 years ago, praised Hanes. "More power to them. As long as the public realizes it's advertising hype and it won't work magic for them, it's fine."
"Who knows--maybe I'll have my patients get into Hanes instead of compression garments for their post-operative care," he added.

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