An inauspicious product launch


I was wandering around Midtown yesterday and noticed a bunch of ads on phone booths and bus stops for Play Underwear. Being the sort who has an interest in underwear, I decided to check out the website that the ads directed me to when I got home. It's here. Once you get past the the flash intro, and the video (both of which I skipped. By the way, you might want to mute your speakers before following that link; I keep mine mute by default, and based on the music-orientation of the underwear (!) there's a strong chance there's something loud and technoey playing during the various garbage they throw at you). So I got to the site's main page. There are two news items on the front page: New Website Launched! (I know you're testing out the news post function, but for the love of Pete is anything more banal than the "New website launched!" post that is inevitably the first post on a marketing website? It hardly bears mentioning, but given that we are on the website which has launched, there's a strong chance that we could intuit that the website had, in fact, launched) and "Pl>y phone booths go up in NYC!" So an ad website that tells us of its existence, then re-directs us to the real world ads that directed us to the web site in the first place. Huh.

Exploring the site, you'll discover 1. a promotion where if you spend $45 on their underwear you'll get $3 of free songs on iTunes, and 2. that they haven't gotten around to posting anything about their actual product yet, nor does their database contain any stores where you can purchase their underwear. But for a lone link to, which seems to be the only place on the planet you can buy Play Underwear, you would not be able to tell, from the website, that the product existed yet.

It strikes me that Play Underwear has an overzealous marketing department (setting up cross-promotions with Apple, arranging an ad blitz in Manhattan, putting up a marketing website (currently devoid of content)) and an underachieving production and retailing department. Given that they don't actually have a product ready for market yet, it seems they're jumping the gun by launching their big ad campaign for it. And not a teaser ad campaign; a full-on "BUY IT NOW! (Product not available for sale)" campaign. It feels like the marketers got everything ready, then decided that they shouldn't let a little thing like not having a product to sell get in the way of a great campaign.

As for the product itself, it's a pair of brightly-colored boxer-briefs with an iPod pocket. I would guess the marketers were pretty heavily involved in the design of the product as well, because I have a very difficult time imagining why someone would want a pocket for an iPod on a pair of underpants. Unless that someone was a marketer who had just signed a cross-promotion deal with Apple and needed to figure out some way to create synergy betwixt iPod and underwear.

So, yeah. My guess, at this point, is that there's no place for Play Underwear in my extensive underwear collection.

UPDATE: Dianna complained, you now you get this guy, courtesy of International Jock:


He's rocking out, because he has an iPod in his underpants. Which sounds like just about the worst pick-up line imaginable. I still completely don't get the concept here. If you're wearing these underpants under clothes, and you're storing your iPod in them, you'll have your headphone cord emerging from your pants, and that's just creepy. On the other hand, if you're lounging around in your boxer shorts and using them to hold your iPod while you rock out, as this ad suggests, wouldn't it be easier to just play your music through your speakers? I mean, presumably your computer has all the music your iPod has, and wouldn't you rather hear your music through quality speakers rather than headphones?

I guess I can spin a scenario where they'd be useful. You've just had a sexual encounter at your partner's domicile. You're away from your speakers and music, but would nonetheless like to rock out. Fortunately, you brought your iPod and fortuitously chose to wear your iBoxers the night before. You can now walk around your partner's pad while rocking out with both hands free. Indeed, this may be one of the few situations in which one could rock out with one's cock out without fear of legal reprisals, though of course one would still have to take one's partner's reaction into consideration.


There's a clear lesson here: you can blog about underwear all you like, but if you don't include pictures of provocatively-undressed men, nobody's going to comment. (Except me, and I'm only commenting to rub in the fact of your lack of comments.)

You want pictures of undressed men? Fine.

All hail The Law, In Its Majestic Equality! Many blogs claim to value their readers' input, but this one puts its monty where its mouth is.

That was originally going to be its money, but the typo was too appropriate to be corrected.

I've tried to put my monty where my mouth is, but I could never reach.

That and I stopped when I got scared that I could break my neck.

I'm going to post this in a comment, because I feel hackish making all these posts about searches that led people to this site, but:

Somebody just got here on a search for Funky Town Frets. I'm curious about this. Is there any guitar in Funky Town? Isn't it all shitty synthesizers and that one robot at the end?

I don't know, but now if someone searches for Funky Town Frets they'll get this underwear post instead.

I can't help but wonder if that person was searching for something else. The kind of written guitar music that tells you which frets to press is generally called tab (short for tablature), and it's almost impossible to do a search for tab and not find what you're looking for. I've discovered this by searching for things like "guitar music such and such" and getting 23742364 hits with the word "tab" in them. "Oh," I said to myself, "I should search for 'such and such tab' instead." Searching for "frets" seems like deliberately looking for something else.

It would appear, also, that there's more than one song called Funky Town. Apparently the other one is by an entity called Pseudo Echo. I've never heard it, but perhaps it's more guitary than the Lipps, Inc. one.

It looks like Pseudo Echo is some sort of 80s Australian synth band with disturbing hair (see here). It also appears their Funky Town is a cover of Lipps, Inc.'s. They're not available on iTunes, so I can't tell for sure if they use guitar in their version.

As for the frets v. tab issue, I'm not sure somebody trying to figure out how to play Funky Town on their guitar is necessarily an expert in music terminology. Oh, also, the search came from the Canadian branch of MSN. I don't know if that changes things, though. If it were from a non-English speaking country, that would probably explain it. But Canadians call it tab too, right?

Also: GRRRAH, this final! I wrote it last night, and now I'm editing it. The problem is that the final's quite interesting with a lot of areas to explore. There are so many subjects I feel compelled to write on and issues I want to talk about. BUT there's a strict 1,500 word limit on each question. The second question's not as much of a problem. But last night when I finished the first question it was 2,400 words long, and that's already excluding a bunch of interesting-but-not-essential discussion. Right now I've got it down to 1,800 words and am looking for another 300 words to cut.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on December 11, 2005 4:12 PM.

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