The Verdict: Stanfield’s scores with skivvies

It’s hard to believe people would want to watch an average man hang about the house in his underwear for 25 days, and it’s even harder to believe people would publicly admit to liking it, but Toronto’s John St. took the risk, and it paid off grandly.

Working for Nova Scotia-based company Stanfield’s, John St. had the challenge of turning a brand known for ‘dad underwear’ into one that young men could relate to.

To do that, John St. came up with a campaign starring actor and cancer survivor Mark McIntyre. His job was to stay home in Stanfield’s underwear for 25 days, without leaving, while cameras throughout his home tracked his every move for online visitors to the campaign’s microsite.

If McIntyre was able to sustain the gig for 25 days, Stanfield’s would donate $25,000 to the Canadian Cancer Society for testicular awareness initiatives.

The company also planned to donate an extra $1 for every ‘like’ the campaign’s Facebook page received, up to $25,000.

The idea for the online campaign came from Stanfield’s then-unimpressive web presence, Chris Hirsch, associate creative director and writer, John St., tells MiC.

‘Pre-campaign tracking showed their number of online mentions to be at zero, so right off the bat we knew that was where we needed to get the conversation going.’

The basic goal to reach 25,000 ‘likes’ in 25 days, without any media budget, was met in just one week. By the end of McIntyre’s 25-day stint, that figure had doubled and ‘The Guy at Home in His Underwear’ became the fastest-growing branded Facebook page in Canada.

The same success was matched on the microsite, where McIntyre’s live stream was featured. The site received 1.3 million page views over 25 days, according to ComScore numbers, and visitors to the site watched more than three million minutes of live video. On top of that, the campaign generated 43 million earned media impressions, according to Hirsch.

‘I don’t think we were expecting, from the success standpoint, the amount of interest people showed,’ Hirsch says.

After 25 days, McIntyre was finally allowed to put pants on and leave the house, right after accepting the $50,000 donation for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Now, to top off the success, the campaign has been shortlisted in the best social media category at the SXSW interactive showcase, alongside campaigns such as Pepsi’s Refresh and Google Chrome Fastball. The winner will be announced March 14 in Texas.