Viral ‘butt-less’ pyjamas ad sparks confusion

Online advertisements for bottomless pyjamas have caused a stir after they began popping up all over the internet.

Ads for pairs of “plain functional buttoned adult pyjamas” promoted by multiple retailers began appearing on websites last week.

They have sparked confusion, with many questioning why such products were being targeted at them. 

One expert suggested the ads may be designed to help collect to data about consumers.

The adverts first garnered attention after multiple people reported seeing ones featuring the brand IVRose while reading a story on Elle.com.

IVRose’s Facebook page is managed by a Chinese firm called Shanghai Lishang Information Technology Co Ltd.

Its contact details match those of another fast-fashion website, ChicMe, whose name features in an almost identical advert.

ChicMe ad
image captionThe adverts were promoted via Google’s ad-placing service and could be dismissed by clicking the top right-hand corner

Its website is owned by Alkmand Estate Ltd, which operates numerous clothing websites, all of which have been running the same or similar pyjama adverts. 

‘Tantalising ads’

Mat Morrison, planning director at marketing agency Digital Whiskey, told the BBC that Chinese advertisers had a history of using “provocative imagery” in an attempt to capture attention. 

“Risqué, seaside-postcard style wardrobe malfunction-style adverts are a staple of the low-end publishers.”

One likely reason the ad has reached so many people could be down to its target parameters being much broader than usual. 

Instead of targeting a specific niche, the goal may have been to reach an entire gender or age group.

However, Mr Morrison suggested that the end-goal of the salacious ad might not just be for consumers to buy the featured product.

He said that if a user was to click on the ad, they would then probably be targeted by other similar products in the near future.

“They’ve created a tantalising advertisement that is just about ‘clean’ enough to pass publishers propriety rules, but salacious enough to capture audience interest.

“When someone clicks on it, the advertising network will place a retargeting cookie on their device that will let them identify them when they next see them.

“The web has opened up new routes to market for Chinese manufacturers who are selling to Western audiences through platforms like Amazon and eBay.

“But advertising lets them sell directly to their customers, which increases margin and profit,” he added. 

The BBC has asked IVRose and ChicMe for comment.

By Joshua Haigh
Technology reporter

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