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Levi's Woos Women With Curves

Levi-B3

  For years, women have been stalking the perfect pair of jeans, and after 75 years and 60,000 full-body scans, Levi's thinks it has the answer: Levi's Curve ID.

"Jeans that fit right are like the Holy Grail for women," Mary Alderete, Levi's VP/global marketing, tells Marketing Daily. "We analyzed women's bodies around the world, and did 60,000 body scans, and found that 80% of all women fall into three different body types." Once Levi's identified the types -- Slight Curve, Demi Curve, and Bold Curve -- "we took these pants on 'fit safaris' around the world to test them out."

Instead of focusing on size, the line relies on the difference between the measurement of a woman's hip and seat: The greater the difference, the curvier the body.

That's a move likely to win the denim giant plenty of new fans, says Marti Barletta, a marketing consultant in Winnetka, Ill., and author of Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach, and Increase Your Share of the World's Largest Market. "The names of the different styles -- with no 'normal' or 'average' middle ground -- means nothing comes across as either 'too little' or 'too big.' The names they've chosen are non-judgmental and you can feel good about buying any of them without feeling 'odd.'" "Women won't walk around in jeans that don't fit right, and we were struck by how hard they were working to compensate. We found so many women who complained that in order to get a jean that fit in the thigh and hip, it would gap around the waist, and so they cinch it up with a belt. I'm more of a straight shape, and when jeans fit me right in the leg, they'd often be too tight at the waist. I own a lot of blousy tops to compensate."

Levi's also learned that 54% of women try on at least 10 pairs of jeans to find one pair that fit, and 87% wish they had jeans that fit better. And only 28% believe jeans are designed to fit their bodies. "For us, the lightning rod insight was that women were tired of the 'one size fits all' approach to buying jeans," she says.

The San Francisco-based company hopes to build its presence among women with the new lines. "Levi's has been somewhat targeted to men, and we want these ads to create new awareness."

Print ads are running in such magazines as Lucky, InStyle, Elle and Vanity Fair. But since a key goal is to increases awareness and engagement, there's also a significant social push. While women can be fitted at any Levi's store, they can also shop digitally, with an online quiz to help women identify their shape as well as a measurement tutorial. It also just announced, after a Facebook contest, its new Levi's Girl, who will play a key role in the launch.

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