Playtex has joined the rush of brands advertising their products on Web videos — but with a reality-inspired twist.

This story first appeared in the August 30, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The label is featuring 10 full-figured women from across the U.S., all of whom won a trip to New York for a Playtex bra fitting with style expert Alison Deyette. The diverse group, including a cancer survivor, a woman who has just lost 100 pounds and another in the midst of a divorce, were selected from among 3,000 applicants, said Vicki Seawright, marketing director for Playtex.

The makeover videos are meant to evoke the intimate ambience of girlfriends sharing secrets — similar to Playtex’s TV ad campaign “Girl Talk.” They started this month, and a new one will air every two weeks through December on playtexfits.com and the microsite playtexbramakeover.com, as well as on the Playtex Facebook page and on YouTube.

“The Webisodes are reality-TV-inspired because there’s been big success with makeover shows, and there’s a foundation and background for that,” said Rachel Lepelstat, group account director at advertising firm Night Agency, which created the videos. “But we did it in an authentic way for Playtex.”

The participants will receive new Playtex bra wardrobes. The majority of the women were wearing the wrong size bra. Other issues included a lack of proper bra support, slipping or digging straps, back bands riding up between the shoulder blades and finding proper-fitting bras in attractive colors and styles, Seawright said.

There have been more than 100,000 visitors to playtexbramakeover.com and there are more than 18,000 Facebook fans, Lepelstat said. The campaign will be supported by banner ads on Facebook, usmagazine.com and wildtangent.com, a gaming site, she said.

Regarding the trend of brands advertising on Web videos, Marc Gobé, founder of Emotional Branding, said, “They’re great for connecting with consumers online. Let’s not forget that content is going to migrate toward the Web and that videos will be more and more sophisticated….YouTube is a great asset for marketers now, and Hulu is setting up to bring new content to audiences.

“Right now a lot of brands do use [Webisodes] as a new way of showing a less rehearsed and more truthful message about their brands,” he said. “Communication online is not about telling people but starting a dialogue with ideas that can be shared.”

Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president and principal analyst for retail eBusiness at Forrester Research, said, “Short videos that showcase what an item looks like are extremely effective. They can be extremely useful for driving up conversion rates…online video is becoming so mainstream that you can’t just associate it with young people. It’s not like mobile marketing or social network marketing, which do skew younger.”

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