Lane Bryant: From Bans to Big Sales

Lingerie ads have been known to go viral. Michael Bay’s Victoria Secret ads, for example, picked up a lot of views with their lovely ladies and over-the-top direction. But Lane Bryant’s viral success story is a little different. The plus-size retailer made a typical TV ad: a sexy lady in her underthings, pushing confidence more than titillation. And as the story goes, ABC and Fox refused to air it. So Lane Bryant did what people do with banned ads – put it up online.

Cue the firestorm. The controversy bloomed as it became clear the networks objected to the cleavage shown. The model in the ad is well-endowed, and the networks found it lewd. Blogs call it sizeist, the networks call it standards they’d apply to any ad. And Lane Bryant sat back and collected several million views.

Taking full advantage of the sudden popularity, Lane Bryant reuploaded the ad to push a link to this site, where viewers can sign up to their promotional messages in exchange for 40% off one item and a sweepstakes entry. It seems that Lane Bryant was either well-prepared for this leap in attention, or they were quick to react. Either way, it’s a great example of turning a viral success into a financial one.

Here’s the ad. There’s no nudity, but as Fox and ABC point out, there’s a fair bit of cleavage:

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