As specialists in marketing to women, we love seeing campaigns that make the industry sit up and take notice. Especially those that reiterate just how effective, talking to women in a language they can relate to, can be. New Zealand lingerie brand, Lonely, and their latest campaign is, we believe, a fantastic example and one the industry could really learn from.
Lonely, is engaging with their female customers on such a successful level that its Instagram account is full of women asking how they can get involved in their photoshoots. Turning its back on the glossy, uber-sculpted look, Lonely has embraced real women and securing a shoot with Lena Dunham has thrust them firmly into the spotlight, for all the right reasons.
Dunham, for the uninitiated, is a powerhouse of female empowerment and living breathing poster-girl for self-acceptance. Her hit TV show Girls unashamedly celebrates female friendship and the glorious, 'messy', multifaceted lives of women and this is the same spirit that Lonely also captures with the branding of their underwear and swimwear.
We've said it time and time again and we will keep on saying it until it really resonates - if you want to engage with women who are a highly influential audience you need to be authentic. Lonely has embraced the need for a more intuitive and empathetic approach, that demonstrates a real understanding of women and its this that will create advocates for life for the brand.
In direct contrast to the Wonderbra billboards of the 1990s, that saw supermodel Eva Herzigova proclaim "Hello Boys" as she stared with glee at her full and boosted cleavage, Lonely appeals to a woman who wants to wear beautiful fripperies for no one other than herself, or, as proclaimed on their Instagram account, it is underwear for "women who wear lingerie as a love letter to themselves."
The beautiful photography created by Lonely engages with women who are ready to celebrate not only themselves but also other women, and the connection they share. There is no airbrushing, fake tans or photoshopped stretched limbs, but real women with bodies which move and mould just like our own. In the soft light of the pictures, we see pressed flesh above a bra strap, the curve of a belly and the kind of tattoos that are art but not especially pretty. The women they feature, aside from Dunham, are everyday women, often photographed in their own homes or gardens in natural light and half-dressed. Natural, bodies in their truest form and breasts supported in their natural shape, free from padding and push-ups.
Most importantly, perhaps, the women have names. They are not just faces, or boobs for that matter, but they are Beck who poses for off-centre selfies in her bedroom mirror and Lola who is a furniture maker, standing in her olive green kitchen, her hair pulled up in an imperfect bun. There are mothers whose bodies are testament to the fact they have recently carried children, and sisters whose kinship is visible in their interaction. There are women whose hip bones protrude at angles and women whose bottoms spill from the underside of their knickers. There are women whose skin glistens with sweat and women whose skin is scarred from long-since removed piercings.
They are women like us, women who have lives and whose bathrooms have wet towels on the floor. They are strong and vulnerable, beautiful and imperfect, scarred and inked and pale and dark. Away from the male gaze they just are. And what makes this campaign really special is the images are still beautiful and aspirational. They appeal to women and show a sense of style in a very authentic way!
When brands embrace the fundamentals of marketing to women it spurs a better way of engaging and the reaction to Lonely's latest campaign gives further evidence that the industry shouldn't view the shift towards marketing to women with a more authentic approach as yet another short lived trend or fad. It's a global shake up that is about brands becoming more human, its about getting to grips with all the different things that feed into the way women think and feel and to understand how as a brand you can fit into her life and how you can express that un