Over the last few years, communication in the Rs 14,000 crore Indian lingerie market has undergone a huge change. There is a lot of open conversation happening today and brands are increasingly portraying the confident woman who doesn’t hesitate to discuss her choice and preference when it comes to choosing the perfect lingerie.
Capturing this trend, brands in this space are gradually moving from objectifying women or attracting men’s attention to spreading awareness about the need to choose the right lingerie. According to a survey conducted by Zivame about lingerie habits of its customers, four out of five Indian women have been wearing the wrong size all along.
The category got a further push with the growth of e-commerce, which saw many online players like Zivame, Clovia, Bwitch, Pretty Secrets and others creating online lingerie stores. It not only provided women with more options but also made lingerie shopping a lot simpler. In the recent Zivame’s TVCs, the brand showcases the lingerie shopping woes which most women face across the country. Either the woman is made to feel uncomfortable by the salesman or she has to settle for suboptimal sizes or styles. Zivame with their app based feature promises to address this concern by providing every woman a hassle free lingerie shopping experience.
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A week back Enamor launched the ‘Fabulous as I am’ campaign to highlight their Spring Summer collection. The campaign was first launched in 2013 and it endorsed the stylish, self assured and dynamic attitude of today’s women. Every year, with the launch of their new collection, the brand takes this proposition forward.
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Recently, #aKnittedAffair was trending on Twitter, when Amante introduced their new swimwear and sportswear lingerie collection in Mumbai. With the help of bloggers and other social media influencers, the brand promoted their latest range.
How has the communication evolved?
We spoke to some of the marketing heads of these brands to understand the change in communication that the lingerie category has witnessed over the years.
Sharing her thoughts, Jennifer Kapasi, Head of Operations, Triumph International (India) said, “In the Indian market, lingerie was considered a big taboo, in fact few years back, there was a huge controversy around lingerie being displayed on mannequins. Placing a lingerie ad on billboards was also a difficult task. But today the category is evolving and has found acceptance in the tier II and the tier III cities as well. This trend is picking up and it will continue. There is a lot of openness among women because there is a huge leap in the product portfolio. At the same time, one has different options of western wear today, which gives women a chance to try out different lingerie with different attires.”
Commenting on how Amante’s communication has changed over the years, Smita Murarka, Head- Marketing and Ecommerce, Amante, MAS Brands India said, “In 2007, when we launched the brand, the tagline for Amante was ‘Love Yourself’, the reason being women were not accepting themselves as they were. Then in 2014, we positioned ourselves on the ‘Dare to be’ proposition, where we urged women to embrace different personalities, whether a serious executive by day or an enchantress at night. Our latest campaign ‘The woman of substance’ also takes forward the same concept and resonates more with the woman of today.”
She further added, “Communication in the lingerie category is usually based on two things- comfort seeking and positioning the brand in the seductive space which attracts the man’s attention. We are not using two of the above strategies for our brand. Amante’s communication is focussed more on the women centric needs.”
On the other hand, Sirisha Tadepalli, Brand and Marketing Director, Zivame feels that very little evolution has happened till date and communication needs to go a lot deeper. “Till now it has been very basic, only talking about the basic comfort. The consumer’s interest today is very high and they have started exploring the relationship with their bodies. Two things, which need to be done to build communication in this category include; creating the category and educating the consumers. Changing the consumer’s habit, who have been wearing the wrong size for all these years is a difficult task, but spreading awareness will surely bring the change,” she cited.
Which medium works better?
Brands like Zivame and Enamor have been quite prominent on television, while Triumph and Amante have been using mainly the digital platform, with a noticeable presence on print and across billboards. In a small category like lingerie, digital works better for these brands because this is where their end-consumers are today.
In 2013, members of Mumbai's Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation demanded a ban on lingerie-clad mannequins in order to stop the city’s men from having impure thoughts. Commenting on how difficult is it to work on a creative keeping in mind these barriers, Tadepalli highlights, “We always try to communicate in a simple manner, without making it look too sexy; we take extreme care to make it appealing in such a manner so that it doesn’t turn away heads.”
Kapasi points out, “We are mainly into print advertisement and online. We have not done TV in the last 4-5years because it is difficult to get it approved, plus there are restrictions on the timings as well. For a small category like lingerie it becomes a costly affair to invest in TV. No doubt there is more acceptance today, but while making any brand campaign, we make sure to keep the conservative mindset of a few in mind.”
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Parthsarthi Iyer, Creative & Business Head, Katalyst Creates says, “Communication in this category is surely moving a notch higher. It is bold enough, when a woman shares her lingerie discomforts, like choosing the right size and colour in public. Today expressions and expectations are at the same level, minds have changed and consumers have become a lot more acceptable. In a different category, but related to women, back then, actress Renuka Shahane appeared in a Whisper campaign where she hesitantly asks ‘Mujhe apse kuch kehna hai…kaise kahoon? It was considered as a path breaking communication, because she comes upfront and shares her problem. Similarly communication in the lingerie segment has started reflecting change and it will only evolve with each passing day.”