Intimate viral marketing campaign piques consumer interest for La Senza

Recently, La Senza had the audacity to ask women what's under their clothes.

Recently, La Senza had the audacity to ask women what’s under their clothes.

The query was part of an online contest, which, according to e-commerce manager Monica Salinas, grabbed enough attention to achieve its overall goal of driving traffic to the company Web site,, which already pulls in about 624,000 page views per month.

Sent to 20,000 names attained from a rented list (comprised of women ages 16 to 24, equally split between the U.S. and Canada) – with a 15% click-through rate (respondents were 60% Canadian and 40% American) – this latest effort was different from previous online contests created by the Montreal-based lingerie chain. Salinas says it piqued the interest of consumers who may not have realized they could shop at La Senza online, particularly since 80% of respondents referred friends. Also, while Salinas won’t comment on the total size of the company database, about 14,000 women signed up for the retailer’s e-mail club through the contest.

La Senza also worked with Toronto digital ad agency Bam Solutions, which created the program, for the first time. Running from May 31 to June 17, the ‘Reveal Your Lingerie Style’ contest solicited women via e-mail to answer a series of four survey questions, with the intention of unearthing details about their lingerie buying and wearing habits. They included: ‘What undergarments would you most likely be wearing underneath your power suit?’ and ‘Your online shopping cart is usually comprised of…a) the latest fashions…following trends is what you do best! b) Books or CDs…You love recreational activities! c) You don’t shop online… you’re a social butterfly!’

In the end, the campaign, which started out by asking ‘Classic Captivator, Sensual Seductress, Comfort Queen … which best describes you?’ concluded by offering insight into a woman’s lingerie style, plus a short description of her personality. For instance, a ‘classic captivator’ was told that her ‘infectious charm captivates those around [her]‘ and that she is ‘a conservative woman’ who prefers to ‘wear lingerie that is classic and timeless.’

Contestants, who could refer up to five friends, were then entered in a draw to win a $300 personalized lingerie wardrobe. Each time they keyed the e-mail address of a pal onto the referral list, they were re-entered. The program also included an opt-out clause, where women were spared from receiving future promotional e-mails if they so desired.

Through the survey, La Senza was able to collect details about entrants, specifically their name, e-mail address, age, sex (in case some men were inclined to complete the survey for their significant others), state or province and country of residence, in addition to the data gleaned from the survey questions themselves. According to Salinas, the results suggest that La Senza’s online shoppers are comprised of the same demographic as its offline patrons: women between the ages of 18 and 35. In the past, the retailer has acquired customer data at the store level.

While Salinas admits that the online initiative failed to result in a spike in Web sales for the period, she points out that La Senza will continue to invest in similar viral marketing campaigns in order to continue driving traffic to the site. For instance, the retailer will e-mail upcoming promotions to its database members, such as a 15% off coupon for summer merchandise. There are also plans to develop a newsletter in order to help La Senza build solid relationships with shoppers.

According to Jennifer Mintz, director of media planning at Bam Solutions, the online contest garnered positive response because of its interactive nature. ‘It was targeting women to come to the site in a new and exciting way,’ she says. ‘A lot of women find it difficult to buy lingerie online. But when you [throw in] a contest, it’s a great incentive.’