Liz Claiborne's
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Liz Claiborne's

To generate coverage in women's, teen and lifestyle media, LCI created an online counterpart to its 24-page booklet, entitled "What You Need to Know About Dating Violence: A Teen's Handbook.”

Paul Holmes

  In 1991 Liz Claiborne Inc. (LCI) became the first major corporation in America to take a stand on domestic violence when it launched Women's Work, an anti-abuse public service awareness campaign.  Women's Work resulted in part from research by Patrice Tanaka & Company, Inc. (PT&Co.), which commissioned a national survey for LCI that revealed 96% of LCI customers believed domestic violence was a problem in America and 91% would have a positive opinion of a company conducting an awareness campaign about the issue.  Based on these and other findings, PT&Co. developed a cause-related marketing/public relations program on domestic violence awareness that was designed to strengthen the bond between LCI and its customers and to enhance Liz Claiborne’s leadership in corporate social responsibility.  Each year, the company partners with PT&Co. to develop and evolve the program and reach different audiences with focused anti-abuse messages.  Previous campaigns have targeted women, parents, men, college students, corporate America and the legal and medical establishments. 

        Competing for media coverage during the crowded “women’s issues” month of October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, among others.

        Breaking through the clutter of teen Web sites by delivering relavent, educational messages about dating violence.

        Overcoming the media’s increasing resistance to covering “tough” issues such as relationship violence.

        Maintaining media interest in LCI’s Women's Work program nine years after it was created and with many more companies involved in domestic violence prevention than ever before.
To develop the 2000 program, PT&Co. conducted extensive research including:  working with LCI to commission a survey of teens across the country; consulting with national experts recognized for their work to prevent gender-based violence among teens; and working with national and community non-profit organizations to assemble a panel of teens from across the country to review all Y2000 materials, including a new Web site devoted entirely to the issue of teen dating violence.

        Reinforce LCI's relevance to its core customers and reach out to a younger market, positioning the company as an innovative, socially responsible corporate leader that cares about the future of America’s youth.

        Update the creative execution of the Women’s Work campaign so that it continues to be ground-breaking, innovative and worthy of generating media attention, even nine years after the program was launched.

        Generate significant media coverage on a national and local level, including high-profile media placements.
Create a vehicle designed to help teenagers, their parents and the adults who care about them confront the tough issue of dating violence and provide specific advice on how to broach the issue and get help.

        Teenagers and their mothers, LCI’s primary customers.

        Concerned bystanders, including family members, adults and friends who want guidance on how to reach out to a teen they suspect is in a violent relationship.

        The domestic violence prevention community, to whom we want to position LCI as a responsible and forward-thinking corporate citizen on this issue.
Web site ( and (  To generate coverage in women's, teen and lifestyle media, LCI created an online counterpart to its 24-page booklet, entitled "What You Need to Know About Dating Violence:  A Teen's Handbook.”  These vehicles are intended to help teens, their parents and concerned bystanders reach out to teens they suspect may be involved in an abusive relationship.  The site follows the realistic story of teenagers Angela and Joe, who are involved in a violent dating relationship.  Surrounding the couple is a circle of bystanders, some of whom are willing to risk speaking up and others who are reluctant to become involved.  The sites also feature an interactive quiz on dating violence so that teens can test what they have learned.
The Web site content was written in collaboration with Jackson Katz and Rosalind Wiseman, two experts recognized nationally for their work on gender violence prevention with teens, and reviewed by teen panelists from around the country to ensure the site had broad teen appeal and was real and relevant to teens’ lives.  Content can be downloaded free at (also found via a link from, and was available from October-December 2000 on the popular teen site 
Content includes: 

        definition of dating violence

        warning signs of an abusive relationship

        answers to the most commonly asked questions about the issue

        guidance for the reader who is a victim of dating violence

        suggestions for bystanders on how to help a friend and specific language to use in talking to them

        how and when to approach an adult about the issue

        resource guide for teens and their parents including hotlines, Web sites and organizations that can provide help

        additional chapters that explore the motivations of Angela’s and Joe’s friends and family (Web site exclusive)

        informative interactive quiz on teen dating abuse (Web site exclusive)
Media Outreach:  Preceded by editor deskside previews of the program in Spring 2000, PT&Co. conducted a comprehensive national and local market media relations campaign, including long-/short-lead mailings for "A Teen’s Handbook,” accompanied by printouts of the Web site and individually tailored pitches to women's, fashion, lifestyle and business media.  Additionally, two mat releases and one audio news release were distributed to newspapers and radio stations nationwide publicizing the Web sites, as well as a press release sent over PRNewswire. 
SUMMARY OF RESULTS reports an average of 25,000 unique visitors per month since its launch in September 2000, and, where content was available from October - December 2000 only, reports nearly 20,000 unique visitors. The approximate total number of unique visitors to these informational Web sites is 95,000.  More than 75,000 copies of the Web sites' printed counterpart, "A Teen’s Handbook," produced in September 2000, have already been distributed to individuals and organizations, including Liz Claiborne and Elisabeth stores, health clinics, domestic violence shelters and agencies, police departments, health departments, schools, etc.  Due to the overwhelming success of the handbook, 100,000 additional copies have been reprinted.
The 2000 Women’s Work campaign broke new ground on the issue of relationship violence by reaching out via publicity to a new audience — teenagers, their mothers and the adults who care about them—with anti-abuse messages.  To date, publicity surrounding the Web sites has yielded a total of 27,603,740 consumer media impressions. (The entire Y2000 Women’s Work Campaign has generated a total of 163,022,661 impressions.)
Despite intensified competition for editorial coverage of "women’s issues" during October, as well as the media’s increasing reluctance to cover "tough" subjects like relationship violence, particularly among teens, awareness of Liz Claiborne’s program was increased through widespread national and local market publicity.  National coverage of the Web sites included:  Teen and Brandweek.  Local market coverage highlights included one or more newspaper, television or radio stations in the following cities:  San Diego, Orlando, Cleveland and Dallas.

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