How Hanes Gets People Talking About Underwear

Hanes wants its relationship with consumers to go beyond the transaction online. And although underwear isn’t the first thing you’d think of when listing your passions, Hanes thinks it can build an “emotional connection” with underwear shoppers and get them talking — and it’s succeeding.

Social media, specifically Facebook, is at the center of this strategy. The Hanes brand is centered on comfort. On Facebook, where it has 2.5 million likes, Hanes hits the comfort theme again and again. From open-ended questions on your favorite underwear type or posts that ask you to share your first experience wearing a bra, the brand is trying to get consumers talking. One post asks consumers which is worse, sockless or commando. Another post asks people to admit whether they’ve ever bought more underwear to avoid doing the laundry. Believe it or not, Hanes’ posts are actually funny while at the same time relevant to the brand. And people are commenting, sharing and liking its posts.

“Hanes wants to be able to connect with consumers beyond just the transaction,” said David Robertson, director of marketing at Hanes. “We want to communicate what the brand stands for. We want to hear from them and we want to establish more of an emotional connection. That ongoing relationship will lead to increased loyalty and advocacy.”

It’s social strategy isn’t all jokes. For Breast Cancer Awareness month, Hanes decided it was going to donate money to breast cancer awareness, in an effort to provide comfort. To raise awareness and engagement for its marketing campaign, which sought to donate $50,000 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Hanes worked with 360i to bring the effort into social media. Fans were invited to share a post that outlined Hanes’ contribution of $5,000 for every 1,000 shares. Hanes garnered the 10,000 shares it needed to reach its goal in record time. Within just 36 hours, the post was shared over 60,000 times, significantly more than was needed to meet the donation — making this the highest engaged social post in the history of Hanes. This figure is in addition to the more than 500,000 post impressions, 300,000 unique users who saw the post, and 96,000 unique users who clicked on the post. Already, just a few days in, the shares are now over 110,000.

Robertson attributes the success of this effort to Hanes’ tone of voice on Facebook. It was something that the brand considered very carefully when launching on the platform back in 2009. It’s tone of voice is meant to convey Hanes’ focus on comfort and making a difference in the lives of people.

“Our voice on Facebook makes it clear that we are clear on what Hanes stands for,” Robertson said. “Hanes is all about comfort, and our obsession is making the world a more comfortable place. For this breast cancer awareness initiative, we know we aren’t in the medical industry, and we can’t find a cure. But we can — through social — make a difference by bringing some entertainment and brand value, while also spreading the word.”