Being a woman can be a subjective visual experience, at least in the consumer world. Everything from hairstyles to shoes to makeup to clothes is meant to harness a visual that communicates something about a woman’s identity: her profession, her marital status, or whether or not she is a mother. It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is a woman’s responsibility to look her best in any given situation, whether professional, social, or domestic.
But, as we all know, life gets in the way. You have a baby (or two, or three.) You go through menopause. You have surgery. You gain or lose weight. And as you go through life, dressing is not as simple as putting clothes on a mannequin. It’s putting clothes on a living body, that changes and has different needs. And many women may not want to admit it, but sometimes women don’t feel the same way that they look.
Taking this often-unexpressed feeling and putting it in an advertising campaign can be challenging, but women’s shapewear company Shapermint turned to the creative agency Harmon Brothers who worked on the Purple campaigns, which I wrote about earlier this year. The Harmon brothers are known for making everyday household items like mattresses come to life, and they did the same thing with a women’s shapewear.
Shapermint’s new campaign, “Feel like the Masterpiece You Are” is an omnichannel campaign that features both a humorous video showing the goddess Venus in a Shapermint undergarment, pontificating on the benefits of loving (and supporting) your body as is, and as it changes.
“The reason [our customers] wear shapewear has nothing to do with hiding. It’s because they want to feel confident and secure,” said the brand manager Stephanie Biscomb at Shapermint. “There is a huge pressure for women in the world to love their bodies exactly as they are, and that if they don’t, they’re betraying womankind.”
Massimiliano Tirocchi, co-founder and CMO of Shapermint, had a similar perspective in terms of being able to discuss something so personal in such a universal way. Tirocchi explained that to approach such a controversial topic like women’s shapewear was best to tackle with humor, at least in video form. “We have been working on woman’s stories for a lot of last year and the beginning of this year, but what we were missing was that massive approach. And humor is something massive. If you can get that initial engagement, people will keep watching that video.”
But it wasn’t all high art concepts for Tirocchi and Biscomb. Whenever detractors on the internet leave negative comments on Shapermint’s social media, customer service team members are at the ready to respond. The thinking behind this was twofold: to not let disparaging comments sit unattended, and to not let the customers feel that they are feeling bullied. The result is a supportive space that women can feel that their reasons for wearing shapewear are validated and supported.
Biscomb also mentioned the photoshoot of seven women, all from different ethnic backgrounds and different abilities, dressed as goddesses while performing everyday tasks. The contrast of the humorous video and the photoshoot of elegant women in all shapes and sized suggests a range of moods that their mostly female customers express. The same way women’s moods change, women’s bodies also change. Instead of women’s bodies being mannequins to hide or force into a certain shape despite what is happening in her life, the photos and video show that women are allowed to have different moods and emotions, which is more representative of the core customer base.
If there’s a lesson here for marketers, it’s this: customers need to not only be known, but supported. There are many ways to demonstrate that as a brand you understand them, but it may be worth researching to how best communicate that message. Whether it is through humor, attentiveness, creativity, or some combination of the three, marketers need to use every tool in their toolbox to figure out what will make the customer feel validated.