Here’s what happened when a retailer modeled a mannequin on an actual customer

Long Tall Sally modeled a mannequin after one of its actual customers.

In an episode of Seinfeld, George finds a mannequin that looks an awful lot like Elaine and hilarity ensues. The more recent problem for Long Tall Sally, a fashion retailer for tall women, however, was that available mannequins did not look like any of its customers.

And so in order to further its mission of championing tall women, Long Tall Sally worked with SEO and search marketing agency Propellernet on a campaign that included a custom mannequin based on the proportions of an actual customer: Harriet Winters of London, who is 6'0" and wears a US size 10.

‘A standout piece of content to promote and amplify’

Propellernet said it worked with design house and manufacturing workshop Studiofortythree to 3D scan and print Winters.

According to a release, the process began by scanning her body with a 3D machine and mapping the scan to create a blueprint that matched her measurements. Once it was divided into sections similar to those of standard in-store mannequins, it was crafted into a solid figure of foam and resin.

“The result: a one-of-a-kind, 3D-printed mannequin that will be utilized in Long Tall Sally's design studio in London for regular fittings and size checks to provide the team a unique opportunity to ensure their designs fit properly and proportionally on the dimensions of a real woman,” the release said.

Fashion expert June Rowe said she believes personalization is the future of the industry.

"The mannequin has always adapted with fashion and new digital technologies have seen the industry embrace cutting-edge and dynamic forms – such as holograms and mannequins that move," Rowe said in a statement. "The 3D scanning of a customer meets the new demand of consumers that are looking for a more 'real' reflection of themselves in their shopping experience, as well as a more inclusive and forward-thinking fashion industry."

Propellernet said the brand selected Winters after a competition elicited nearly 90 interested customers. It also photographed and filmed the mannequin creation process to ensure it had a range of campaign assets to supplement the mannequin itself, which the agency called “a standout piece of content to promote and amplify”.

That included filming Winters’ reaction to meeting her mannequin, which she called, “Surreal.”

The campaign also included a hub with content that explained why it’s important clothes are designed specifically for tall women, as well as inspiring content like interviews with Long Tall Sally’s head of garment technology and a fashion historian, which Propellernet said helped ensure the brand was more relevant for a wide range of searches. Propellernet also used earned and paid amplification.

A real woman

Long Tall Sally said its mannequin marks a significant departure for the fashion industry, which typically uses mannequins that are 5'9" and wear a US size 4. Long Tall Sally, on the other hand, specializes in apparel for women 5’8” and taller and is focused on “having every item fit properly and proportionally on a tall figure”.

That's why Long Tall Sally wanted a new figure.

“For years, Long Tall Sally had to special order mannequins for its in-store displays at 6'0" tall, size 8 to fit the brand's sample size,” the brand said. “To keep its customers' fit and design needs at the forefront, the goal was to develop one that reflected the actual shape of a real woman, combined with the facial likeness of one of its customers.”

Status Seekers

Based on audience research, Propellernet determined Long Tall Sally customers fall into four categories and data indicated it should focus on what it called the Status Seekers in part because this group loves fashion and spends a lot of money on its appearance, but it can also be brand fickle – and it was the least likely segment to visit Long Tall Sally.

“For all women, the way that clothes are presented is universal – the ever-present shop window mannequin – an impossible, idealized and unattainable view of the female form,” Propellernet said. “Our idea was to create a mannequin that was based upon a real woman and by engaging with [Long Tall Sally’s] customers. Getting the emotional tone of the campaign right was critical to our success. We wanted to do everything we could to make [Long Tall Sally’s] customers feel great about their height and their bodies.”

Goals

According to Propellernet, the goal of the #MadeTall campaign was to raise brand awareness in the US, create positive brand sentiment leading up to London Fashion Week, build fashion credentials across multiple markets and attract new customers, while also driving target keywords into top five positions on Google.

Impact

The result was a positive impact on UK and US trends, as well as brand perception.

“The campaign gave the brand a voice at a crucial time in the fashion calendar, creating awareness for a brand that refuses to be defined by its size,” Propellernet said.

It also generated 258 links from nearly 200 pieces of coverage, including the Huffington Post, The Telegraph and Good Housekeeping, which Propellernet said makes this one of its most successful campaigns ever. It also resulted in a Times Square billboard, and The Today Show, The Huffington Post and AOL created their own videos with campaign assets, which generated more than 247,000 views.

Propellernet pegs estimated online readership at 523m, along with total reach of 255,000. A campaign video was viewed more than 28,000 times with 10% of viewers watching to completion.

#MadeTall also had a positive impact on Google keywords, including: “Tall jumpsuit”, which was up from #8 to #5 within a month; “Dress for tall women”, which was up from #4 to #3; “Tall dress”, which was up from #8 to #5; “Jeans for tall women”, which was up from #3 to #2; and “Tall tops”, which was up from #5 to #2.

And it delivered a 729% ROI in less than four months.

It was also awarded the Grand Prix award, as well as Best Use of Content and Best Use of PR at The Drum’s Search Awards in London in May.

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