By  on September 23, 1994

LOS ANGELES -- Nearly naked men and women have become commonplace on prime-time TV, but viewers may be surprised next week to find those buff bods in the middle of a Macy's commercial.

Macy's West and Bullock's will launch a week-long TV ad campaign on Saturday that features a naked man and an almost-naked woman. The 30-second spots promote the fall sale and will run in all West Coast markets that have a Macy's or Bullock's, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento and Palm Springs.

In the commercials, the man or woman first appears clothed, but then, piece by piece, their outfits disappear, leaving the woman running off the screen in a bra and panties and the man totally naked with strategic placement of his hands.

As each segment fades, a voice compares prices, saying that a normally expensive item, like a woman's suit, can be purchased during the sale for the price of a significantly less-expensive item, like a skirt. There is also a version of the spot for home furnishings.

Macy's West and Bullock's turned to a leading independent Spanish ad agency, Casadevall Pedreno & PRG, to develop the campaign. Terry Schaefer, senior vice president of marketing at Macy's West and Bullock's, had worked with Casadevall, which is based in Barcelona, in a previous job and thought it was a good bet to produce something original.

"It's finding a way to communicate a message in a new and arresting way," he said. "It breaks through the clutter. They're fun. They're unusual."

Schaefer described previous Macy's West and Bullock's commercials as "straightforward, traditional and perhaps underwhelming." The stores bought $400,000 worth of commercial time on TV, all of which is in prime time or during the morning news.

Schaefer said the fall sale budget is up 10 to 15 percent from last year. Each of the spots cost between $75,000 and $100,000 to produce.

The ads are part of a series of commercials created for the stores by Casadevall. Others include commercials for back-to-school, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.

In the Thanksgiving spots, the naked man and woman reappear, but this time, they put on clothing one piece at a time.

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