It’s Underwear Week again here at Fritinancy—time to get down to basics and revisit our foundations. During the last Underwear Week (has it really been three years?), we wondered why bra sizing makes no sense, admired the Camelflage brand name, examined mirdles and other shapewear for men, and held our noses at Huggies’ “diapers full of chic.”
This time around we kicked off with a newish underwear-ish word, cheekini. Today we travel from the orchestra to the balcony, so to speak, to see what a nice bra company like True & Co. is doing with a naughty acronym like MILF.
“Mom I’d Love to Fit” temporary tattoo, free during the promotion.
True & Co. MILF ad.
It’s for Mother’s Day, you see. Truly! AdFreak called the campaign “odd” and advised True & Co. to “apologize, act contrite and enjoy the attention.” Instead, True & Co.’s blog went on the offensive about the offensive term:
MILF – the term brings to mind pervy frat boys but who says they should own an acronym? MILF (Moms I’d Love to Fit) is about the best people in the world taking 5 minutes out of their busy day to treat themselves to a proper bra fitting and get a new bra. … We meant the pun and we meant it in good fun. We think there’s nothing objectifying about a woman owning her sexuality. We’d be proud to be considered a MILF (Mom I’d Love to Fit).
San Francisco-based True & Co. was born in 2011 after Michelle Lam, a former principal at Bain Capital Ventures who became frustrated after trying on “20 different bras, one after the other, in what seemed to be a random trial-and-error sequence,” according to a profile in Fortune. Lam and a partner developed a quiz to help women shop for bras from home. The company was originally called Bra & Co. but launched in May 2012 as True & Co.*
This is not the first time an advertiser has attempted to “reclaim” MILF. Back in 2007, Spirit Airlines advertised a “Many Islands, Low Fares” sale with fares as low as $9 for flights between Fort Lauderdale and the Bahamas. When asked whether he’d known about MILF’s offensive connotation, Spirit’s director of communications claimed to be shocked, shocked. “The most obscene thing we’ve noticed,” [he] said, “is what other carriers have charged to fly the Caribbean before Spirit’s $9 fares.”
(Want to overdose on underwear? Go here.)
* Before the MILF kerfuffle, True & Co.’s major claim to newsworthiness had been a lawsuit filed by True Fit, maker of personalized-fit technology used by Macy’s and Nordstrom, which asserted that “True & Co.” infringed on its mark. True Fit also sought to prevent any use of “true” in connection with personalized-fit technology. In March of this year, the U.S. District Court denied the motion.