Why Sloggi Has Nothing

In discussing the Sloggi mess, “Anonymous” wrote:

Well generic styles are also nothing bad as such.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely respect your opinion about the campaign. I just don’t understand what the product has to do with it, and for what reasons sloggi is/has “nothing”. Finally they sell quite a lot of those, at least according to their website “A grand total of more than 1 billion have been sold”

Actually I think the problem is that the market for those generic products is much harder since people do not care about brand names so much. Thats why they need a much more controversial advertising in order to stick out…. be that good or bad, again, is another question.

And boy-0-boy do I have a lot to say on this subject…

Before I begin though, I’d like to make a disclaimer of sorts. It may seem at times that I am not being nice to Mr or Ms Anonymous when in fact I have nothing against him or her; other than I wish they had used an ID of some sort. I am perfectly fine with the issues raised. In fact, as you will see, I am quite passionate about all of this and only to happy to address this. And it is my passion which may carry me away… Allowing me a force which could appear directed at Anonymous, but really isn’t. It’s directed at the lingerie industry at large which just doesn’t seem to get it.

If anything else affects my tone, other than a passion for and addiction with lingerie, it’s that I’ve held back such rants for too long. …As a result, I likely shouldn’t try to cover all of this in one post either. There’s much I’ve got to say. (Watch for a series of these babies.)

So, for the record, I do apologize in advance for any tone or language which may seem, er, well, not kind.

Let me begin with Anonymous’ questions/issues.

“Generic styles are also nothing bad as such.” I’ll agree generic isn’t bad, but that doesn’t make it good either; it’s just ‘not bad.’ And ‘not bad’ isn’t really a business platform I can get behind.

When it comes to business, you either have a new, revolutionary product or service or you have a copy-cat. Yeah, you may not literally copy the other guy, but fundamentally you aren’t inventing anything. So the first guy has the whole market until the others jump on in, and he can charge whatever he wants to until some other guy sets up shop making the same thing. Now the first guy has competition.

With competition comes the need to share the market. You’ll need to carve out your niche and place in the market. Are you the highest quality product or service? Are you the low-price-leader? Do you continuously release new inventions or styles, beating everyone else to the punch? Do you have exclusive patents, designs or designers which secure your place in the market? Your brand is, at least in part, based on this positioning.

When it comes to Sloggi, they offer generic undies. ‘Not bad’ isn’t going to appeal to the designer market. ‘Not bad’ on its own isn’t going to appeal to any market really.

So is Sloggi’s position “Not bad undies at the cheapest prices”? No… it doesn’t look that way…

In fact, from their ads alone I can’t tell who they are aiming at really…

I’m not talking about where they place their ads, but the ads themselves. They are obviously going to need to advertise because with a generic product people aren’t clamoring to get Sloggis, nor are they likely to even remember their name or line of lingerie.

I disagree completely that lingerie isn’t a brand built business — but I’m going to save the details on that for a later post — but Sloggi doesn’t have a brand. Their ads do not present a brand. They sell/make a generic product — and worse yet — to a generic audience. This is why I say they have nothing. They have no unique product, no unique postion and they seem to be completely unaware of their market (if they indeed believe they have one).

(If a gun was put to my head I’d say that Sloggi is aiming at… :drum roll: Tweens and twenty-somethings with disposable income. I buy new panties with my new outfit — I want a neon yellow whale-tail under these jeans for Brian’s party on Saturday — and then I don’t care about them. The ads and products have a disposable quality. But then tweens and young twenty year olds are some of the most avid brand adopters and designer hounds, among other things, so they are missing the mark here again too.)

So, when you say they need a “much more controversial advertising in order to stick out,” you are correct — but not because lingerie cannot be branded or sold any other way.

They rely on controversial advertising because they have nothing else. They have a generic product, no target market in mind, so they have no aim, no purpose. What else can they do but advertise? (And apparently that corporate memo read, “What else can we do butt advertise,” and ‘butt advertise’ they did.)

The problem with advertising with no target market is that you still have no aim. They don’t know who they are trying to reach, so they don’t know what to say to them or where to reach them. In efforts to use get more bang for their buck they’ve opted to use shock-jock advertising, trying to shock with public placement of inappropriate ads to get ‘free media attention.’ They seem to think that putting ads up in places to offend people will get them famous. But this is wasted for several reasons:

A) The billboards with the scantily-clad near-bare-assed models could work to attract those tweens who are searching for neon colored whale-tails for Brian’s weekend parties — but they are not placed in those communities. For every misplaced billboard, that’s one (or more) ads they are unable to purchase in the right communities and publications.

B) The billboards themselves are not only not placed in sight of buyers, but they offend a possible market. Muslim women buy underwear, including neon colored thongs; but only for themselves and their husbands to see. When a company pays no heed whatsoever to a market’s culture and needs, this company creates more than mistrust — they create ill will. Sloggi may as well have put up billboards with a raised middle finger with “Fuck you Muslims” printed on it. Goodbye possible sales to Muslims.

C) The idea that camera crews rushing to the scene where citizens are ripping down posers and billboards, or a local town meeting regarding the removal of offensive materials, is “free press” is insanity.

First of all, with A & B you have already removed the “free” part; it has already cost you.

Second, when a person sitting at home sees the news report they will not be moved to run to the mall to buy Sloggi panties. If they are moved at all it will be to write a letter, make a phone call, etc. — usually in support of those with the complaint. (Most people are more likely to complain to create change than to take the effort for an ‘atta boy’.) You’ve just alienated potential customers in their homes. They too want to know why you would repeatedly offend people — their neighbors.

The best you can hope for is that they are irritated that this story took up time on the news report and that the station opted to run this story instead of covering something more important (say, I don’t know… a freakin’ war!) and so complain to the station about their choice of news coverage and ignore your company’s name altogether.

Even if Sloggi thinks that such outrageousness puts their name in the minds of male buyers, this is rather an ignorant stance. The number of male buyers of lingerie are few and they are the least likely to make wise gift purchases. Male lingerie purchases have the highest return rates –if allowed to be returned. And if not, the lingerie is thrown out or otherwise noted as not acceptable and this does nothing for building a brand, let alone brand loyalty. Future sales are dim.

A business cannot survive on one-shot purchases — ROI is lowest in cultivating new customers (it’s cheaper to keep your customers than go find new ones) and eventually you run out of people who have not had a bad experience with you.

So here’s Sloggi: A company with a generic product, no brand, and no plan other than to shock and offend. Shocking and offensive ads may seem like a tactic, like a way to create quick attention, but the buzz isn’t about the business. These ads, like streaking or some other fad, are short lived and really do not deal with the matter at hand — which is supposed to be to sell lingerie. That’s not a way to sell anything, let alone an item like lingerie.

If Sloggi hand only gone with “cheap” — as a market price & position, not as a ‘cheap shot’ campaign strategy — and properly placed targeted advertising maybe they’d have a chance to really be something rather than nothing.

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