A retail outlet center in Northern Ireland has launched a new campaign to lure people back into cross-border shopping. So what are they doing to grab peoples attention? Putting a bunch of naked Irish people on display.

This time last year a host of independent surveys covering shopping centres in Newry, Enniskillen, Banbridge and Strabane showed that cash-strapped Irish people were flocking to the North in search of bargains. In early 2009 at peak hours almost 70% of cars in Northern Ireland shopping center car parks could have southern registrations, but this had now fallen to about 45%.

One Northern retailer, the Outlet Village in Banbridge (just outside Newry), has developed an All Ireland advertising campaign to boost cross-border trade and highlight the range of brands and value available in their stores. Launched to mark the completion of the final section of road linking Belfast to Dublin on the A1 outside Newry, the “Naked Truth” campaign features men and women of all ages and from all over  Ireland getting their kit off.

Outlet Store Naked Truth Campaign

A spokesperson for the Outlet Village said: “There are clearly many factors that influence cross border shopping but one of the most frustrating issues has hopefully been resolved. We are confident we will continue to attract shoppers from the Republic of Ireland as the ‘naked truth’ is – we take more off.”

The “Naked Truth” tagline has been used for campaigns for everything from asbestos to psoriasis awareness but is most well known for the PETA campaigns featuring well known celebs such as Pamela Anderson and Eva Mendes bearing all to highlight animal welfare issues. Well who needs celebrities when you can have ‘naked Paddy from down the road’!?

Taking a leaf (or a bushel) out of the Dove ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’, the ads feature professional models as well as average  Joe’s who were recruited through friends and social network sites by Belfast-based ad agency, Navigator Blue. However, this campaign could have gotten more people talking if greater attention was given to the recruitment of average shoppers to participate in the campaign. Although the various releases state that people were recruited through social networking sites, neither the ad agencies Facebook or Twitter account nor the shopping center’s account has any related posts so I think that there may be more Heidi Klum’s than Joe the Plumber’s in these ads.

The campaign will have a wide spread with executions in local press, TV, all-Ireland radio, transport, outdoor and digital. The initiative was launched at the shopping center with a “Glee” themed weekend with dance troupes, American football challenges and giveaways….because everyone loves Glee and nudity!?