Hanky Panky, the underwear brand that’s best known for its lacy thongs that come in only one size, is entering a new era. And this fresh phase includes two major developments: the launch of extended inclusive sizing, as well as a men’s line.
With these changes, Hanky Panky is also coming out with a new campaign, called “Hanky Panky Can Be _____” a nod to the growing number of customers that will now be able to shop Hanky Panky’s products. This new era—Hanky Panky’s first brand refresh in its 40-plus years of existence—is all about connecting with a greater audience.
The cult favorite brand is best known for creating undergarments, specifically thongs, for women. It’s also famous for its one-size-fits-all thongs, which of course, conveys a certain exclusivity. Try as a lacy garment might, it won’t actually fit every body (the brand states on its website that they will fit sizes 4-14 best). Gale Epstein, Hanky Panky’s co-founder and creative director, told Adweek that though the brand has expanded into plus sizes and petites in years past, it’ll be unveiling even more sizes in this new era.
“Many years ago we recognized that we were missing customers who wanted to wear our brand, so we extended our size range to include petite and plus size styles,” said Epstein. “Now we are continuing to expand these lines to offer even more options for those customers in the brand portfolio.”
More changes are coming for Hanky Panky in the next few weeks. Dropping just ahead of Pride Month, on May 25, is Hanky Panky’s first-ever product for men: A black lace thong—yes, you read that correctly—nicknamed the “Love is Love” thong, to launch its men’s collection. More products for men are set to follow in the months to come. Epstein said that the campaign, which encourages consumers to think of Hanky Panky as having a wide definition and range of customers, is a natural time to expand into new product categories and segments.
“Over the years, we have received frequent requests from both consumers and retailers to bring our underwear expertise to the men’s market,” said Epstein. “Within the new campaign, this was the perfect time to enter the men’s market—meaning it’s for almost everyone!”
Really, the “Hanky Panky Can Be _____” campaign is all about challenging people’s perceptions of the brand—to a point. Though the text encourages people to label the brand with their own preferred descriptors—suggestions in the ad copy include adjectives like “rosy” and “provocative,” it still has a similar vibe to the brand you’re familiar with. The ads are covered in bright colors and eye-catching patterns, reminiscent of the bold hues it’s known for carrying its product in.
“The brand is known for bold colors and bold patterns, for that as well as the actual quality of the product,” said Dusty Bennett, svp at HangarFour Creative, the agency behind the campaign. “What we’re trying to do here is get the base, as it were, excited about seeing Hanky Panky in a new light. Maybe it’s a new light that they see as feeling younger, but also I think for us it’s really more fresh.”
This refresh is one of the most significant the brand has gone through in its 40-year history. And the introduction of men’s is undoubtedly the biggest category shift Hanky Panky has ever undertaken. Of course, it’ll take a new effort to reach this entirely new customer, and to convince men to embrace not only a new brand, but a product they might not be used to, too. That’s where the fill-in-the-blank nature of the “Hanky Panky Can Be _____” campaign comes in, according to Bennett.
“Clearly we have a lot to do in terms of thinking about how we go out wider with a men’s product,” he said. “You can tell what we’re doing in terms of trying to make a foray into offering other products that kind of expand upon the basics. That’s how we’re positioning and opening it.”
Epstein said that this refresh is coming at a key point in the overall marketplace. Consumers are demanding more inclusivity from brands, and Hanky Panky views it as a moment to expand its customer base.
“With the fast-changing retail climate, this was an opportune time to offer more riveting visuals,” said Epstein. “Hanky Panky is taking a leap to focus on a larger consumer audience. From inclusive sizing with both petites and plus, as well as the introduction of men’s styles to the brand portfolio, Hanky Panky is continuing to take strides towards being a brand that is for everybody and every body.”