AD WATCH

Gossard supports Girl Power
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The Independent Online
They're a shameless lot at Gossard. Not content with shocking various maiden aunts and newspaper columnists with their advertisement last year, which said "Who says a woman can't get pleasure from something soft", they're at it again with another campaign every bit as suggestive. Once again the shapely form of Sophie Anderton will be challenging us from the hoardings, but this time, you will be surprised to learn, the eyes have it.

Last year's ad campaign for their Glossy underwear - described as "smooth, seamless softwear designed to create a glamorous nude look underneath summer clothes" - caused a moral outcry, and a record number of complaints (321) to the Advertising Standards Authority, none of which were upheld. The ASA later found out that the majority of complaints came from women who had, in fact, never seen the ads, and had been encouraged to write in by an outraged newspaper columnist. The adverts, photographed by Herb Ritts (who doesn't know how to take an unsexy picture), boosted the modelling career of Sophie Anderton who sprawled in the hay with her arms flung back and lips slightly parted, along with the now famous slogan. The ads increased sales of the Glossies range by 200 per cent and sadly catapulted Anderton onto our TV screens as the rather wooden presenter of Channel 4's fashion magazine programme "Desire".

The Glossies advert, (above) which will be plastered across London from next Wednesday has been masterminded by the same ad agency Abbott Mead Vickers, but this time a tamer photographer, Barry Lategan, has been used. Anderton is wearing the same bra and knickers she posed in last year (doesn't she ever change them?) but this time our heroine is facing her public head on. This time the slogan reads: "If I want something rough on my chest I'll get a man". It provokes the kind of laughter reserved exclusively for girlie in-jokes - a low conspiratorial chuckle - and won't cause any feminist debate.

Sue Chidler, Marketing Manager at Gossard is very pleased with the new ad campaign: "The model isn't prone. We wanted to concentrate on her eyes and show the advert as a shared joke between women". In fairness, when looking at the first advert which broke last June (just as The Spice Girls were polishing off the dance routine for Wannabe) the eyes were drawn to the body of the model. This time "eye contact" is established first.

"During our research women responded very well, they saw the fun-side, and felt it reflected a humorous view on life," continues Chidler. In fact, Gossard and their creative team at Abbott Mead Vickers have tapped into Girl-Power, and are using it as an effective and provocative marketing tool.

Women in their mid to late twenties (the age group who buy the most "fashion" bras) have never had to dress like dowdy spinsters to keep men at bay. Women can wear whatever they wish in modern Nineties Britain without repercussion, and they can also wear a see-through bra for their own enjoyment and comfort (because it looks good and feels soft on the skin). This is Girl Power.

Sue Garrard, Board Director at AMV, is part of the creative team behind this advert. "If you are given a lingerie brand, you show the lingerie don't you? When we asked women if they are offended by the ads they say 'No'. That's all we need," she says. Men will of course be looking at Anderton's nipples, but men are men, what else can they do? They won't be wearing the bra, or the knickers, but they will be buying them for their partners, which is ultimately the purpose of advertising. To shift product and make bundles of money.

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