Lane Bryant Kicks Off Lingerie Line With Webcast

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The Limited Inc.'s Lane Bryant division will host an online fashion show on Wednesday to launch its Cacique line of mid-priced lingerie for plus-size women.


The 7 p.m. EST Webcast on lanebryant.com will come a day after models such as Kathy Najimy of the TV show "Veronica's Closet" and Mia Tyler, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler's daughter, walk down the runway in Industria Studios, located in New York's increasingly trendy meat-packing district.


A lot is riding on this Webcast. First-year business for Cacique is estimated at $250 million. Also, the launch is close to St. Valentine's Day and men looking for gifts may be the Webcast's biggest audience.


"Certainly, we're taking all precautions to make sure that we're prepared for a large group," said Becki Rundels, senior marketing coordinator at Lane Bryant, Reynoldsburg, OH. "We're working with Yahoo's Broadcast.com arm that we used for our last Webcast and it's also the company Victoria's Secret used for theirs."


The marketing plan for the new lingerie line is simple. Inhouse-created ads ran late this month in The New York Times, New York Post and Women's Wear Daily aimed at the fashion industry and press. In-store signage and word-of-mouth by sales associates at 700 Lane Bryant stores complemented the effort.


An online sweepstakes promotion provides extra support. Visitors can register on lanebryant.com for an introductory 20 percent discount on Cacique products that is sent via an e-mailed coupon after the Webcast.


"It's a way for us to get the new line of intimate apparel out in front of every customer and in front of thousands of people so that they can watch the show right from their computer," Rundels said. "We're also gathering names for our database through this Webcast that we'll be able to use in future Web and store promotions."


"It has the potential to work very well in conjunction with their Web site," said Aram Sinnerich, analyst at New York-based Jupiter Communications. "Generally … the traffic spikes and then comes down slightly, but it plateaus at a much higher level than existed before the event."


Sinnerich said the combination of an online sweepstakes, discount coupons and fashion show "should all just be considered customer acquisition costs. And a 20 percent one-time discount and the cost of producing an online event are essentially cheap as customer acquisition costs go - if it works."


Lane Bryant's Rundels said lanebryant.com has averaged 320,000 unique visitors a month recently. The company's first Webcast on June 29 of last year displayed Venezia sportswear and casualwear. It attracted 40,000 visitors that day and 105,000 in a month.


By contrast, a live Webcast of Victoria's Secret fashion show last February attracted a reported 1.5 million visitors in one day.


But some question whether the Victoria's Secret Webcast attracted potential buyers or voyeurs. That predicament also may await Lane Bryant's Webcast.


"We don't fear dilution of brand at this point" said Lane Bryant's Rundels. "Any way we can get our brand out there to anyone is good."
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