She dreamed she rode in a gondola in her Maidenform Bra

This adver­tise­ment from Woman’s Home Com­pan­ion, Novem­ber 1953, is just one of the many, many dif­fer­ent adver­tise­ments from the suc­cess­ful icon­ic adver­tis­ing cam­paign that Maid­en­form ran in print media through­out the 1950s and 1960s.

Each adver­tise­ment, as above, showed a par­tial­ly undressed woman brazen­ly expos­ing her Maid­en­form bra —as she dreamed she did some­thing amaz­ing, or fun, or ful­fill­ing. The illus­tra­tion in each dream showed an attrac­tive woman, exquis­ite­ly dressed but with­out a blouse or gar­ment above the waist. Just the white bra.  The head­line was sim­ply “I dreamed I (some­thing) in my Maid­en­form bra.”

  • On the farm she took the bull by the horns
  • Beside a stage­coach she dreamed she was in the wild west. She also dreamed she was on a Want­ed poster
  • At the cir­cus she walked a tightrope and was tick­led pink by a pink elephant
  • She dreamed she had Paris at her feet; was lost in a Lon­don fog, and she barged down the Nile like Cleopatra
  • In Spain she was a tore­ador; in the bil­liard hall she took the cue in her hands
  • In the bowl­ing alley she bowled them over and in the box­ing ring she was a knockout
  • She dreamed she won an elec­tion, and dreamed she had a whis­tle-stop­ping trip on a train
  • She opened the World Series and also dreamed she won an Acad­e­my Award
  • She went to the the­ater, sang a duet at the Met, bal­let danced, played in an all-girl orches­tra and made sweet music
  • She dreamed she went to work, to the races, and she had the world on a string
  • She posed for a Fash­ion adver­tise­ment and she dreamed she was a design­ing woman
  • She was a fire­man and she dreamed she was a lawyer who swayed the jury
  • With an easel and a brush, she was an artist
  • She dreamed she was an inter­na­tion­al fig­ure and was a queen on a chessboard
  • She had tea for two and was a real dish
  • She stopped the traf­fic, paint­ed the town red, went on a tiger hunt
  • She was a jack-in-the-box and a bewitch­ing witch with a broomstick
  • Of course she dreamed that she won a col­lege schol­ar­ship in the Maid­en­form Dream Con­test – where the top prize – of 221 prizes in all – was $10,000 cash

The theme was orig­i­nat­ed by Har­ry Tren­ner and his wife Flo­rence Shapiro Tren­ner. Har­ry Tren­ner was, at that time, work­ing for the William Wein­trob Adver­tis­ing Agency in New York City, and Maid­en­form was one of his accounts.

Maidenform created a unique selling proposition (USP) that distinguished the product from the competition

The chal­lenge faced by the copy­writer is to deliv­er a fresh mes­sage every time for a prod­uct that —like almost every prod­uct on the market—only has so much that can be said about it. What can be said about soap, or salt or a ser­vice?  There’s cer­tain­ly no obvi­ous USP for them or for prod­ucts that aren’t new and cer­tain­ly aren’t nov­el. For them the copy­writer has to find orig­i­nal ways of pre­sent­ing the message.

What if a sin­gle cre­ative idea could be var­ied to attract over and over again? An idea that didn’t become stale with expo­sure? An idea that pack­aged the same sell­ing fea­tures for the same prod­uct each time but with dif­fer­ent visu­als and dif­fer­ent head­lines repeat­ing the same mes­sage in a fresh, per­sua­sive man­ner every time. Such a sin­gle bound­less idea is a theme and Maid­en­form proved it with the “I dreamed…” campaign.

It was a great cam­paign built on a cam­paign theme that gave the adver­tise­ments con­ti­nu­ity and recall val­ue’ The cam­paign kept Maid­en­form front and cen­ter in under­gar­ment advertising.

Check out this Print­ing Times post about Corsets.