By  on August 25, 2008

Playboy Intimates is planning an aggressive marketing and advertising campaign for the launch of its newest product, the Bunny Bra.

Scheduled to hit retail chain Bras N Things in Australia on Oct. 1, and major stores and specialty boutiques in the U.K. on Nov. 1, the Bunny Bra is inspired by the original Bunny costume designed by Hugh Hefner in 1960 for Playboy Clubs.

Adrianna Chinnici, vice president of the licensing group of Playboy Enterprises Inc., said, “We’ll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Bunny costume in 2010. This is perfect timing to launch the Bunny Bra. It does what the Bunny costume does: It enhances, shapes, lifts, has the look of a corset in a bra and gives the appearance of a faux boob job.”

The bras will be marketed with in-store point-of-sale materials, a hangtag with a vintage visual of a Bunny and the history of Playboy Bunnies, and videos showing footage of Bunnies through the decades — including everyone from model-turned-actress Lauren Hutton to rock star Deborah Harry. A microsite linked to the Web site will also promote the launch in Australia.

There will be a gift with purchase — a Bunny Bag that contains a large set of “Bunny Ears,” removable logoed cookies shaped like mini bunny ears that “provide the ultimate Bunny push-up,” said Chinnici.

The line of four cleavage-enhancing, push-up bras and coordinating undies, including a G-string, a brief and a boyshort, will be produced by three licensees: Bras N Things in Australia, BC International in the U.K. and Panties Plus in the U.S., where a launch is planned next spring. Distribution in Asia is also being lined up. Colors will be the same as the Bunny costumes: black, yellow, nude, pink and a leopard print.

Bras will retail between $40 and $50 in sizes 32A to 36DD. Panties in sizes S, M and L will be priced between $20 and $30. Special effects will include embossed Playboy logos on bra straps, script-printed satin ribbon and a metal rabbit head charm at the center of bras, and spaced rhinestone Playboy motifs on panties.

Aaron Duncan, senior vice president and creative director of global licensing, noted the timing of the bra launch will be in sync with the opening of a 35,000-square-foot Playboy Club and Casino in Macau.

“It will tie in with the anniversary of the Bunny costume,” Duncan said. “We’ll re-create a facade of the Playboy Mansion [in Beverly Hills] with a Hugh Hefner villa, and we’ll create a [playground] grotto as well that will be very opulent, luxurious and sexy. It’s the perfect timing for these theme casinos, because the Bunny is back.”

In 2006, Roberto Cavalli redesigned the Bunny costumes for the opening of a Playboy Club atop The Palms Fantasy Tower in Las Vegas.

Playboy, which entered the lingerie field in 2000 with its Play pink label, introduced the Playboy Intimates white label collection in 2005. An annual wholesale sales volume was not available, but the intimates business generates more than $40 million, according to industry estimates. Parent company Playboy Enterprises posted annual sales of $339.8 million in the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, and its growth in recent years has been in merchandising and related areas as its iconic magazine has seen circulation and advertising declines.

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