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Despite No Spectator Slowing, Lane Bryant Show a Success

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July 01, 1999|ABIGAIL GOLDMAN and RYAN CORMIER | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Lane Bryant's big, splashy Web-cast fashion show, simulcast live on the Sunset Strip Videotron on Tuesday, came off without a hitch--except that no one on the street watched it.

But company executives said preliminary figures showed that just before the start of the plus-size show, at least 30,000 viewers registered to watch the show on the Web. That made the spectacle more than successful in terms of raising the company's profile and reassuring larger women that Lane Bryant is as fashionable as stores for skinnier women, Lane Bryant representatives said.

The show was part of the retailer's attempt to reestablish its size 14-and-larger brand and deepen its ties with consumers, an effort that included signing as its main spokes-model size-22 actress Camryn Manheim. The Emmy winner from TV's "The Practice" is also the author of "Wake Up, I'm Fat."

Tuesday's show was a far cry, however, from the commotion made when sister company Victoria's Secret, also a subsidiary of Limited Inc., had its lingerie show on the Web in February, generating more than a million hits that ground traffic to the site to a near halt.

Lane Bryant said it never anticipated that its fashion show, directed at plus-size consumers, would attract the same sort of attention as Victoria's Secret, which advertised during the Super Bowl and drew many men to the event.

On Sunset, the only spectators to the show featuring plus-size models in slinky sundresses and hip cargo shorts were two executives from Classic Media, the company that owns the screen, and a commuter waiting for the bus.

Nor were Sunset Boulevard drivers impressed; traffic flowed freely past the show.

Classic Media President Randy Hollister said the Videotron isn't set up for pedestrian viewing, so the lack of spectators from the office and retail establishments wasn't surprising.

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