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Jockey Goes Interactive

In an effort to appeal to younger men and women, the underwear company has launched its first viral marketing campaign, Stopsquirming.com.

NEW YORK — Jockey International Inc. is going after its broadest audience yet

In an effort to appeal to younger men and women, the underwear company has launched its first viral marketing campaign, Stopsquirming.com, and is scheduled to launch another interactive Web site this September in partnership with CollegeFest, one of the largest collegiate marketing events in the country.

“In 2006, online marketing represented about 6 percent of our total marketing budget, and in 2007, we expect to spend 15 to 18 percent of that budget on online initiatives,” said Tim Pitt, vice-president of global marketing and advertising at Jockey International.

A Web site drawing attention to the taboo topic of uncomfortable underwear situations, Stopsquirming.com speaks to the younger generation by showcasing the not-so-subtle ways that men and women try to alleviate discomfort caused by underwear that shifts, bunches or rides up. The site allows visitors to upload videos of their own scenarios and view scenes sent in by others. It also gives consumers the opportunity to alert their friends of their potentially embarrassing ill-fitting-underwear problems by sending e-mail alerts. The Web site’s recommended solution, of course, is Jockey undergarments. A ‘Shop Jockey’ icon appears at the top of the page linking the viewer to Jockey’s Web site, Jockey.com.

“The campaign’s interactive online format and amusing content allow Jockey to engage younger consumers in a more relevant way, but it is really about reinforcing our overall position in the marketplace,” said Pitt. Consumers are able to sample two of Jockey’s most popular lines through the “Under-Aid” portion of the site—where visitors can enter to win free underwear samples. “We are able to introduce consumers to the innovation and technology of our new products, while inciting trial of new underwear silhouettes,” said Pitt.

Stopsquirming.com signals the beginning of Jockey’s investment in its interactive effort, which is scheduled to include the launch of another Web site next month in partnership with CollegeFest, which is attended by thousands of college students.

Pitt said Jockey’s online initiatives are part of a larger campaign to attract younger consumers, which includes marketing, branding and new product introductions. During the last three seasons, Jockey has started to create lifestyle platforms for men and launched new styles with a focus on performance- and technology-oriented fabrics as well as new fashion colors.

The brand’s active-inspired GO line, for example, is targeted to the active, younger lifestyle, placing a focus on breathable, quick-drying mesh fabrications and no-fly construction. The entire line of assorted T-shirts and briefs features a signature orange tab in front and comes in fresh greens, blues and grays. “It’s for the younger, hipper guy, and it’s really created some excitement on the retail floor,” said Paula Barnes, Jockey’s vice-president of men’s merchandising. “Our sales in mesh are now equal to those of cotton stretch—we’ve seen double-digit increases on overall sales. I really think our goal of attracting a younger customer to the brand is happening.”