DL1961, a relative newcomer to the premium jean market, is launching a new campaign to build brand awareness focusing on fabric performance rather than on one more skinny model.
Ads breaking next month highlight the brand's unique stretch technology, called X-Fit -- which it claims won't sag, bag or lose its shape -- a very different approach than the pouty, high-fashion ads of such competitors as True Religion, Citizens of Humanity and 7 for all Mankind.
"Early on in the research process, we found a very compelling message," Peter Groome, CEO of Fathom, its ad agency, tells Marketing Daily. "This is a fashion and design intensive category, with very little emphasis on a core product benefit. And people wanted their jeans to fit well -- they wanted them to look as good on Sunday morning as they did on Saturday night. We felt it was a huge opportunity to tell people their jeans should work as hard as they do at staying fit."
Despite widespread declines in apparel sales, denim has been a continual bright spot, even in the recession. Cotton Inc. reports that sales of premium jeans -- those priced $100 or more -- have held up particularly well. (About 11% of adults in the U.S. have paid that much for jeans.)
Groome thinks that's because jeans "are such an emotional purchase decision -- how many pairs you have, what brands you own, when you wear them, all say a lot about you. No matter what the economy is doing, people are always going to be very connected to their jeans, and we think we've found a functional, rational product benefit within that."
The ads will run in such magazines as People, StyleWatch, and Nylon, as well as out-of-home, in-store and direct mail, and have headlines like "Shop 'til you find the only jeans that don't drop," "Turn the changing room into the fitting room," and "You don't have to stretch yourself thin to find jeans that don't stretch out."
The brand, launched in 2008, is a division of ADM Denim, the largest denim manufacturer in the Far East, which also supplies brands like The Gap.