Wrangler Selling Gen Y On 'Authenticity Chic'

Thanks to its low price points and range-riding reputation, Wrangler is the No. 1 brand of men’s jeans in the U.S. But its new marketing strategy is to get even bigger for its britches, branching out to a wider audience. Craig Errington, VP-marketing communications for jeanswear at parent VF Corp., tells Marketing Daily what it hopes to accomplish.

Q. First, why the change in strategy with these new ads, and how does a younger audience factor in?

A. We’re still trying to appeal to our main target, which is men between 30 and 50. And we’re still using the same type of media strategy. But the message in these ads, by Toth + Co., is more emotional. We’ve been popular with 30-year-old men for a long time. But today’s 30 year old is interestingly different. They have the same passion points, like music and football and rodeo. But they are more interested in authenticity.



Q. You’re competing with plenty of other brands with an authenticity story, like Carhartt and Levi’s. How do you stand out with your own version of that blue-collar chic?

A. We call it authenticity chic. And we’re trying to build on it by giving them a product that’s relevant, so that they can see we have different styles, fits and finishes. They can see different occasions for wearing jeans, and how we fit into different life stages. But we’re still true to our ideal.

Q. Could you explain what you mean by relevant? 

A. We have the image of being a working jean, but this new campaign reaches out to people who wear jeans for all kinds of reasons—to the office, to relax. And it’s different for younger men. Many have grown up not wearing as much denim. They wear shorts. They wear sweatpants. 

Q. You’re keeping older spokespeople, like retired NFL star Brett Favre and country music’s George Strait, in separate efforts. Why?

A. We want existing customers to feel added loyalty to the brand and consider additional ways to wear the brand. And we want new consumers to understand better what Wrangler is. So we are telling them both what’s new, and showing a broader view of what Wrangler is and what it can be. This campaign begins to start telling that broader story. We want men in their 30s to say, “I didn’t know Wrangler did that.”

Q. There are women in these ads. Why the switch?

A. Yes, there are more women in these ads than we’ve had in a long time. We’re very popular with women, too, although our market share isn’t as high there with men. But we’re excited and see lots of opportunities. Celebs like Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez have been spotted in Wrangler this summer.

Q. Besides TV, where are the Wrangler ads running?

A. National print, on-line video, on-line display, national radio, social media.

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