When I first read that Hanes was asking women to reveal their underwear color, I was appalled. How dare the company invade women’s privacy like that? Turns out, it is a part of a new marketing campaign; surprisingly, a marketing campaign I see as pretty progressive and even feminist. 


The company simply directs women to a microsite that allows them to post witty statements about their chosen underwear color of the day onto Twitter. Forbes’s John Ellett sat down with Hanes’s Chief Brand Officer, Sydney Falken, to discuss the sales strategy. The company may be shedding its reliable, comfortable image in favor of a more fashionable one: “This campaign is about letting them know about all the colorful, stylish, contemporary things we have to offer,” explains Falken. 


From New Campaign by Hanes

Let’s face it: panty advertising is often objectifying and degrading. Victoria’s Secret advertisements feature nearly pornographic images of women; in fact, some people subscribe to the company’s catalogue instead of to actual pornography magazines with absolutely no intention of buying lingerie. Remember when that awesome group of feminists pranked the Victoria’s Secret website and made it all about consent, suggesting that the company perpetuated rape culture?

Hanes is doing something totally different here, and I like it. Instead of consuming images of half-naked women, we are invited to share what we like in lingerie. Falken is interested in what women have to say, the joy we can get from sharing something about ourselves. “It’s sort of interesting — it’s intimate and yet in this world very appropriate to share too. And it’s fun [...] And it’s not just with us. Obviously they’re engaging their communities, their sets of friends, to share this little thing about themselves,” Falken says. Of course it’s about consumerism, but I’m happy to see that what we’re consuming here is panties, not women. 


When you enter the site, you can choose what color you’re wearing and it allows you to choose a witty statement; the post options available are also fun and defiant. They truly are about women’s pleasure and, at times, even empowerment. One reads, “I’m feeling gold and bold;” another proclaims, “I’m no shrinking violet. The only thing we share is a hue.” Some posts subtly fight back at slut-shaming. One declares, “My mom warned me about girls who wear red panties. I didn’t listen.” Another echoes, “My dad wouldn’t like me sharing this, but he’s not on Twitter, so check it out.” 

What do you think about this new campaign? Let us know in the comments!


Thanks to Forbes, Amplify, and Hanes

Images via Hanes, Media Bistro

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