MCM Awards: Lighthearted Copy, Infectious Quirkiness, Define Spanx

A great brand is one in which customers want to be a part of, according to one MCM Awards judge. The Spring 2009 edition of the Spanx catalog exemplifies this concept, and helped the marketer of bodyshapers, foundation garments and slimming intimate apparel win a Silver in the Apparel Over $20 Million category.

Why it won a Silver Award
The opening letter from Spanx founder Sara Blakely sets the tone. How’s this for engaging institutional copy: “Wherever I go, I always get asked, ‘What inspired you to invent Spanx? And my answer is always the same: ‘My own butt!’”

That sure speaks to the Spanx target customer—women, age 25-65. The catalog’s marketing goals are clear and spelled out in vivid detail on the inside front covers,” said one panelist.”

Overall copy is lighthearted, easy to read and speaks to the demographic, said one judge. It also works hard: “Descriptions help explain how the product provides a solution, while at the same time provide necessary information,” the judge said.

Spanx makes good use of headlines and personalization to create interest, a panelist said. And customer testimonials are believable and sell a higher order benefit.

The “infectious quirkiness” of the brand, as one judge put it, is evident in the fun design, unique graphics and entertaining commentary. The book’s heavy paper stock was also impressive, though one panelist wondered if it paid for itself.

Why it didn’t win a Gold
There is way too much editorial on the hot spots of the catalog and throughout the book, said one judge, while another pointed out there are generally too many nonselling pages.

The Spanx catalog is also not as organized as it could be, and as a result, a judge said, it’s not easy to shop from. How could it improve? “I would suggest not so many type treatments, as it’s a bit distracting,” the judge said.

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