Dockers

In: Business and Management

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DOCKERS: CREATING A SUB-BRAND INTRODUCTION
In the spring of 1985, Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) was flush with its success in the blue jeans market. The company’s star campaign, called “501 Blues,” had recently brought new vitality to the company after several failed expansions into other apparel market segments in the earlier part of the decade. Confident in the wake of 501’s success, the company was contemplating its next steps when research revealed a decline in jeans purchases by LS&Co.’s core customer base of baby boomers. In short, the company’s “bread and butter” customer for the last 30 years - the American male teenager - was now 25-40 and was moving out of the jeans market at an alarming rate. To retain these customers even as their jeans purchases slowed or stopped, the company introduced Levi’s Dockers casual pants. Dockers, as the name was later shortened to, was one of the most successful new product introductions of the 1980s in the clothing industry. Consumers responded to the product design, which utilized the comfort and casual feel of cotton, and likeable advertising by purchasing enough Dockers to make a billion-dollar brand by 1993. Over the course of the 1990s, LS&Co. enjoyed phenomenal success from its Dockers sub-brand. The Dockers brand achieved record sales growth in 1998 and Fortune magazine estimated in 1999 that 75 percent of American men owned a pair of Dockers and that the average customer owned 3.8 pairs. That year, the total number of Dockers owners exceeded 40 million. The company noticed at this time that younger customers began to lose interest in Dockers, however, with many dismissing the pants as something “their fathers wore.” In the late 1990s, Levi Strauss developed new advertising campaigns and introduced new Dockers sub-brands to counteract this trend. Sales of Dockers remained over $1 billion through 2000, but sales…...

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