Lands' End Swimwear Campaign: Just Dive In
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Lands' End Swimwear Campaign: Just Dive In

Typically, swimsuit styles and trends speak for themselves; however, Lands’ End needed to communicate key messaging about quality and fit that extended beyond the style of the suits.

Paul Holmes

Lands' End is one of the leading swimwear designers in the country, offering a wide variety of swimsuits for women with different body shapes and style preferences.  The company, known for paying close attention to fit, quality and comfort, introduced the "Kindest Cut" fit for women which has become the staple for their swimwear customers.
 
The program continues to battle challenges including (1) swimwear is a scheduled, annual program that oftentimes solely focuses on trends and product shots (2) the Lands’ End swimwear team has a limited budget for events and promotions and no celebrity spokesperson to draw media interest.  However, by providing media with "news they can use," the program generated nearly 483 million consumer impressions and more than $5 million in advertising value, with a brand mentions in all placements.
 
JUST DIVE IN! PROGRAM ANALYSIS
 
Each year, editors crave fresh news when it comes to swimwear. Typically, the suit styles and trends speak for themselves; however, Lands’ End needed to communicate key messaging about quality and fit that extended beyond the style of the suits.  The campaign’s aim was to further solidify Lands’ End as a leader in the world of swimwear, but also one that understands what women want and how to deliver it to them. 
 
In addition to providing trend, style, color and fit information to the media, we surveyed 500 women to find out what they ultimately look for when purchasing a suit. After identifying what women were looking for when it came to swimwear, we offered newsworthy tips and information about how to find it.  Packed with informative fact sheets highlighting tips on fit and quality, and how to identify body shapes, the comprehensive campaign media kit was as one-stop-shop for media covering swimwear. 
 
Additionally, we agreed that the simplicity of shopping (24 hour 800 number and landsend.com) and reliable measuring and fit system were important messages to convey to customers.
 
To further position Lands’ End as a swimwear authority, Swimwear Merchant Kim Ross, was featured as an expert in the materials and to the media through interviews.
 
PR PROGRAM PLANNING STEPS
 
The Lands' End Swim public relations program was designed to increase exposure for the brand's quality swimwear line in an interesting and informative manner to women.  In order to create a compelling campaign, we gathered insight about the competitors and reaffirmed the Lands’ End positioning before we began to ideate.  The goal of our brainstorming process was to create news and to continue to make Lands’ End a swim resource to editors.  We agreed to continue to leverage the built-in expert resource of Kim Ross to add credibility to the campaign, but now we needed news.  Together, we decided to develop a survey focusing on the target group of women ages 18-54, to gather consumer feedback on what women want in a swimsuit.  We used that information and developed a plan to communicate that messaging to our key audience segments:  the media and consumers.  We set the plan in motion by completing materials in December to reach long-lead publications and fashion, women’s and lifestyle editors reporting on cruise wear and summer fashions. 
 
PROGRAM STRATEGIC APPROACH
 
The Just dive in! kit was created and distributed early in the year in order to assist editors with their planning.  Editors were provided with survey statistics conveying what women want in a suit, a trend report, tips on finding the right swimsuit for all body shapes, and information on mastectomy, long torso and plus size suits.   The kit also included color slides and captions in a ready-to-use format.
  
Specifically, Ross provided useful information on swimwear styles (from tankinis to figure flattering), color options (from cheerful Hawaiian prints to feminine embroidery), accessories (from beach towels to cover-ups) and basic fit concerns (bust support, tummy control, etc.).  This approach was coupled with consumer awareness of the Lands' End product line as well as in attracting editors' attention.
 
PROGRAM EXECUTION ELEMENTS
 
The Just Dive In Lands’ End swim campaign created news and used a credible internal spokesperson to communicate the messaging to the media and consumers.  The campaign elements included:
 
RESEARCH
 
All media materials were supported by a survey conducted of 500 women ages 18 - 54.  The survey revealed women's attitudes towards swimwear and swimwear shopping. Research findings were used to lend relevant news angles to the kit materials. 
 
Swimwear Experts
The Just dive in! campaign utilized many swimwear savvy spokespeople, including Ross, who provided credibility to the media materials.  Broadcast journalists around the country became Lands’ End swim spokespeople, armed with talking points and sample suit styles.  Ross toured from New York to Los Angeles to appear on national and local television programs providing knowledgeable tips on how to find a suit that fits.  She also appeared on the nationally aired television show, The View and showcased six Lands’ End suit styles.  Additionally, Lands' End swimwear information was posted on The View’s Web site.
 
Media Kit development
The Just dive in! kit included information on finding the perfect suit to flatter all women's figures, style options, trends and suit care facts. In addition, the kit contained color slides of product, a graphic showing what women want in a swimsuit as well as the Lands' End 800 number and Web address.
 
During May, there was a second mailing dedicated to shopping for swimwear on the Lands' End Web site. The kit included media materials that focused on the Internet Swim Finder, Your Personal ModelÔ, Lands' End LiveÔ, The Fit Guide, Shop with a FriendÔ and Specialty Shoppers. This kit also provided color slides, the 800 number and the Web site address.
 
Media Relations Efforts
The campaign officially began the first week of December 1999 when Lands’ End’s new swimwear line was introduced to long-lead fashion and women’s magazine editors.  In addition to the kit, editors were given a special preview “Look Book,” which featured some of the line’s hottest styles.  The kit was distributed more widely to appeal to features and fashion editors during February to arrive in time for spring fashion stories. Follow-up calls to the top 100 dailies and national magazines secured interviews with internal spokesperson Kim Ross and confirmed product placements.
 
PROGRAM EVALUATION
 
The Lands' End public relations efforts focused on fashion trends, swimsuit options for every body type and Internet swimsuit shopping. As mentioned, the program generated nearly 483 million consumer impressions and more than $5 million in advertising value, including brand mentions in all placements.
 
Print Campaign
Swimwear articles appeared in 87 syndicated and wire stories, 82 original stories, 2 original and wire stories and 23 magazines.
Key national media placements included The Wall Street Journal, Daily News and Houston Chronicle.
Eighty-nine percent of articles mentioned the 800 number and/or landsend.com, 42 percent featured at least one Lands' End photo and nearly 20 percent quoted swim expert, Kim Ross.
The "slender tunic" swimsuit appeared on the cover of the May 2000 issue of Mode Magazine while other mentions appeared in the pages of In Style, Good Housekeeping and Family Circle.
 
Broadcast and Online Campaign
Swimwear segments were viewed on 3 national aired TV shows (including The View, Donny and Marie and Regis and Kathie Lee), 15 local news channels, 202 radio placements and 13 Web sites.
Approximately 45 percent of the radio placements were heard in the top 50 radio markets.
Many online newspapers picked up the swimwear story and featured Lands' End product and information.
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