Enlightened Conflict

marketing gone wrong: padded bikinis for 7 year olds

April 14th, 2010


“Under fire, British store withdraws sale of padded bikinis for 7-year-oldspadded bikinis




The British clothing chain Primark responding to scathing criticism from politicians and children’s groups has withdrawn its sale of a line of padded bikinis for girls as young as seven. The bikini sets, with a $9 price tag, came in candy pink with gold stars and black with white polka dots.


(oh my)


Primark said, “Every girl wants to look her best and at Primark we make no exception for the younger ladies, all the high fashion trends can be found in our Girlswear section, no matter what age you are.” (double oh my)




And what were they thinking?




Maybe better said “were they thinking?”



One of the best comments I have ever seen was from opinion buffett who said “Wonder if Speedo will start offering padding for little boys swimwear.”


I admit.


On this one I cannot even envision how the conversation went with regard to not only investing money developing this line of products let alone marketing the products.

padded bikinis 2

I have to assume some relatively smart marketing people said “absolutely. There is a market for this product line.”


I have to assume some product/brand line manager said “the numbers support it. This will round out our store offerings.”


I have to assume some senior management person said “Let’s go for it.”


I have to assume stupid pills were served as snacks in the meeting.


New product innovations are part science, part process, part art and part luck (or maybe better said “nutsy unreasonable slightly lucky vision”).


I have a whole white paper on effective new product innovations process. And I do believe a rigorous process assists in less wasted time on stupid or non profitable ideas. Of course there should be a plan.




Process always runs a parallel path with creativity and some “gut.”





Having seen and worked with probably THE best consumer product innovations group in the world (the Proctor & Gamble innovations group) I have seen some of the wackiest ideas up on the white board. But. In the end all the research in the world and all the sales projection numbers in world are balanced against one HUGE constant (not a variable) … common sense.


Seems to me that someone left common sense at home the day they discussed this idea in the office.


So someone pointed out the common sense and they have discontinued the line.



As a UK Democrat congresswoman said, “Primark’s decision is welcome but how on earth could they have thought that this was a good idea in the first place?”



Maybe the scariest thing? some people were buying the product. One mother said “well, she wanted to be like one of the big girls.”


Hey. I am not a parent. But don’t they stop being little girls soon enough as it is?

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Enlightened Conflict