Hanes ‘Wedgie Free’ Campaign Misses Out on Online Marketing

By Li Evans

Madison Avenue advertising agencies may be good at TV commercials, and highly paid PR Firms may know how to write a press release, but when it comes to translating that across to an online medium (i.e. the internet), the majority of them have a lot to learn. I came across a post on AdFreak about Hanes’ new ad campaign for their new product “Wedgie Free” underwear, which features actress Sarah Chalke of Scrubs fame. The commercials really hit the mark by capturing Sarah’s comedic timing and her all around good looks. It can appeal to women by them thinking “wow, ‘She Gets Wedgies Too?'”, yes I know kind of corny, but all of us have been in that situation at least once in our lives.

While the commercials are catchy, and even premiered on American Idol (trying to capture that ‘young adult female’ demographic), I stopped and wondered how this was translating online. To any online marketer, it’s probably not a surprise that it hasn’t translated yet. If you’re a major online brand, maybe even Hanes, you are probably wondering “what is she talking about?” Well lets take a look at this a little closer.

Hanes PR people sent out a press release. It’s nice, contains images of Sarah Chalke from the commercials and also includes the ability to play the videos on PR Newswire. Great! Hanes’ PR company has at least managed to figure out how to get the videos and images into the press release, but that’s where it seems to have stopped. The PR Release isn’t optimized for search – at least the way normal people search – especially if the aim is “Wedgie Free”, “Wedgies”. I’m sorry, but not many women refer to their underwear crawling up their backsides as “no ride up”, its a “wedgie” plain and simple. It make work in a commercial, but that’s not how people search.

When they launched this campaign, they probably didn’t even stop to think about an online strategy. I’m pretty certain it was more of an after thought. Why? Well because if you look at the search results, you’ll see they (meaning Hanes’ website) doesn’t rank for the main phrase “Wedgie Free”, nor “Wedgie Free” Hanes. They could own this term but they don’t and they are missing out – especially with their PR people contacting blogs like AdFreak.

Google Search “Wedgie Free”

Wedgie Free Search Results in Google

Google Search “Wedgie Free Hanes”

Search for Wedgie Free Hanes in Google

Google Blog Search “Wedgie Free Hanes”

Search for Wedgie Free in Google's Blog Search

You can see the results (in both regular search and blog search) brought back are minimal, and probably until this point, not a lot of search were conducted on “wedgie free”. However, if you launch a campaign on American Idol touting “Wedgie Free” underwear, what do you think will happen? Hello – the audience of American Idol is the demographic that uses the internet the most, they are going to go on and search for videos, images and information on “Wedgie Free”. With as little competition as there is for the key phrases around this campaign, they could have really hit the mark online with this campaign without a lot of effort. Instead their Press Release on PR Newswire gets the search results as does AdFreak, who points to the PR NewsWire and Wall Street Journal pieces, not even to the Hanes website.

Multi-Media wise Hanes is sorrily missing out too. They could really capitalize on this campaign if they only took the time to contact an online marketing agency to help them “get more bang for the buck” when it comes to their online efforts. In taking a closer look, I’ll show you some examples of where they are really missing out. First we’ll look at images and then go to video.

A search in Google Image Search shows the screen capture below for “Hanes Wedgie Free”. I also did a search on “Sarach Chalke”. Granted the search for Sarah might be a bit more competitive, but had Hanes optimized their images on their site and in their press release for theses terms, they could be capturing another segment of search, and it’s quite possible they could invoke that these images produce “blended” search results in the search engines (where the images will appear in the search results).

Google Image Search “Hanes Wedge Free”

Results for Hanes Wedgie Free in Google Image Search

Google Image Search “Sarah Chalke”

Search for Sarah Chalke in Google Image Search

Now lets go to video. Here’s another chance that Hanes could quite possibly get “blended” search results to start appearing for these phrases that undoubtedly people are looking for after the appearance of the commercials on American Idol, however, again they are missing out. Google now incorporates relevant YouTube videos into their search results, Yahoo incorporates Yahoo, YouTube, Metacafe and a few others – Hanes is really missing out here!

Hanes doesn’t have a YouTube channel (as of this writing!), and they don’t have any of their videos/commercials out there. Instead other users on YouTube do. This actually does say a lot for their commercials – they are clever and witty, and Cuba Gooding, Jr is just hilarious in those commercials with Michael Jordan. People really LIKE them. It’s too bad Hanes isn’t taking advantage of this, people would subscribe to the channel and it could be another channel to disseminate their message in a quick and easy manner. Instead, with these new commercials, only one video is out there and it’s put up by a division of a PR Company. Plus the video isn’t even optimized for what it should be, it just has that “PR Spin” in the description.

YouTube Search for “Hanes”

YouTube Search Results for Hanes

YouTube Search for “Hanes Wedgie Free”

YouTube Search Results for Hanes Wedgie Free

YouTube Search for “Hanes Wedgie”

YouTube Search Results for Hanes Wedgie

YouTube Video of Wedgie Free Commercial Uploaded By Another Company

Hane's Wedgie Free Sarah Chalke Commercial / Video Uploaded in Another Users Account

The point here is that this ad campaign is clever, it hits its mark in speaking to its target audience, and it’s got a likable spokesperson, but wow, is it missing out on taking this to the next level. The video of how the commercials were made that’s included in the press release on PR Newswire is great but only included there, why they haven’t put together an online marketing strategy to take advantage of this is really befuddling!

Hanes, if you listening, at least get your own YouTube channel! (That’s a little free advice!) 🙂

Retailers & Blended / Universal Search

By Li Evans

This past week I presented at SMX West in Santa Clara, California on the Retail and Blended Search panel. It was quite interesting to be on a panel that also included representatives from both MSN and Yahoo Shopping divisions. There was a lot of information given, from making sure your images had feeds to looking beyond feeds for promotion of online retail products.

As we progress further and further with technology and the availability of broad band to shoppers, searchers are looking for more than just a blue link on a search results. Searchers are becoming more savvy as technology progresses, and as more and more options are being provided to them, they actually WANT more than just a blue link. So where does that leave the retailers on the web who have invested so much in feeds?

Retailers need to start thinking outside of the box, because if they merely rely on a feed to get the traffic to your page, eventually as the search results become more engaging. Retailers who just rely on the feed links will loose out on all those people clicking on video links, picture links, social media profiles, and reviews. So what’s a retailer to do?


  • Make sure your products have images.
  • Make your put captions underneath image.
  • Make sure your images folder is accessible to the search engines.
  • Name your images properly.
  • Make sure your images are of good quality.

Google actually shows different images in blended search than it does in regular image search. The thing to remember with images is that shoppers are very visual and if you have the opportunity to take advantage of image search why not put your best foot forward?


Here’s a perfect opportunity to engage consumers via a social media medium. It’s visual, its interesting and it engages a customer into finding out more information. Utilize a few of the social video sites, by uploading some short videos of product demonstrations, humor takes, or even “how to” videos. If you make them fun and interesting, there’s even a chance for them to become viral and while not directly on your site, if the description is optimized with a link to your site or the page the product is on, this can be another traffic driver, beyond the search engine.

Rating & Reviews:
If you can start reviews of your products on your site, this could be a powerful resource to help raise the quality of the page. Amazon uses this very wisely and to their advantage. Rating & review sits such as Epinions and Yelp, also hold a lot of value and can help with with yet another way to “indirectly” hold another position in the results.

Social Media Profiles:
Having profiles on various – relevant – social media sites are another way to help bring awareness to your brand, as well as your products or services. People link to social media profiles, so just like with rating and review sites, it is possible to own another spot on the SERPs in an indirect manner. Make sure that your profile on all of the social media site you belong to is properly filled out with the right URL, emails, contact information, etc.

These are just a few ways retailers can broaden their reach, beyond the regular product feed. Starting to think beyond the feed and planning a full online marketing strategy will open a lot more opportunities for retailers in the new realm of blended / universal search.