Bonobos, an e-commerce company that sells men’s pants, is embarking on a marketing campaign based on making men worry about how their rear ends look. Like women do, The New York Times says.
“It’s like a shame campaign,” Andy Dunn, the firm’s co-founder and chief executive, told the newspaper. Bonobos “pants’ distinguishing feature is that they eliminate the sagging bottom of ill-fitting trousers.”
The company will advertise on Web sites for women, including Refinery29.com and Jezebel.com, and in magazines like OK! “‘Let your man wear the pants this holiday,’ proclaims the ad copy in the internally produced campaign.” An agency-produced ad in Men’s Journal shows a man in Bonobos pants from the waist down under the headline, “Here’s your chance to tell women, ‘Hey, my eyes are up here.’ ”
Bonobos also makes shirts, and is working on a dress shirt that does not bunch at the waist. The firm is “’crowdsourcing’ the design of the dress shirts using TweetSwell, a program for conducting surveys on Twitter, to figure out what people want.”
Bonobos, which had $1.6 million in revenue last year, only advertised on Facebook in 2007, its first year, The Times says. “Eventually, shoppers on the Bonobos Web site will have a personalized home page based on what they like and their size and body type. Bonobos is also planning marketing campaigns that will include surprising pants customers with a free dress shirt.”
Bonobos offers free shipping both ways and lifetime returns, and encourages people to buy and return several pairs of pants to find the right fit. Consultants are available by phone, e-mail and, soon, video chat to assess fit and give style advice, The Times says.
“Only about 10 percent of men can be classified as fashionistas, said Marshal Cohen, the chief industry analyst at NPD Group, though that is up from 3 percent two decades ago. ‘I can’t tell you how many times I stop a guy in a store and say something doesn’t fit right, and he says, “I don’t care,”‘ Cohen said. ‘So he’s got a big hill to climb.’”