Sunday, April 15, 2007

Levi's : Orginal Icon

Brand : Levi's
Company: Levis Strauss & Co
Agency : JWT

Brand Count:221

Last week I bought my first Levi's 501 intrigued by the Salesman's pitch that 501 is the fastest moving brand in that store. I was more curious because this jeans has the old (Classic) way of buttoning rather than the zipper. I was surprised to find that 501 holds a special status in the world of jeans brands .( I then realised how ignorant I am about jeans.. )

Levi's has an iconic status across the world.The jeans came into existance in 1873 and since then has remained an icon generations after generations. Levi Strauss a young Bavarian immigrant left Newyork to San Fransico to sell his supply of dry goods. There he found the need for rugged long lasting trousers. Levi patented cotton riveted waist overall which later became the legendary Jeans.
Levi's came to India in 1995. Looking at a huge base of young customers, this brand did not had the classic runaway success it envisaged. The brand made the mistake that many multinationals made during those days: underestimate the Indian consumer and becoming too arrogant about their brands. Levi's thought that Indian consumers will fall for this iconic brand and will buy it at any cost. At the time of launch this brand was prices exorbitantly high at Rs 2950. Indian consumers as usual gave the brand a lukewarm reception. The brand was trying to skim the market but at the cost of market share and volume.
Levi's found that Indian consumers are very price sensitive and the prices were rationalised. Once the prices were made affordable, Levi's began to gain acceptance in the Indian market.
Levi's did not need to make special efforts to promote its brand, the brand had its share of mind among the TG in India thanks to the information revolution.But the brand used some superb creatives to reinforce the brand equity.Notable ones are the Clayman series of 1996 and the award winning Slim Jeans ads and the mind blowing "dangerously low" jeans campaigns. The brand also used film celebrities like Shah Rukh and Bipasha to endorse the brand.
Low waist jeans launched in 2003 was a milestone in this brand's lifecycle. It gave the brand a contemporary look and appealed to the new hip hop generation who was moving away from denims to khakis and other casual wear. Low waist jeans made both the category and the brand back into reckoning.Low waist had some blockbuster campaigns involving 15 supermodels which made the brand a symbol of being" cool".
Levi's also made their product line strong by doing downward stretch. The brand introduced Signature range at the lower end of the price point which opened a big market for the brand. Levi's also took on the casual wear with their Docker's range of casual wears.
Levi's in India is poised for tapping the huge young market. There is no other iconic brands which can match the strength of Levi's. But for that, the brand has to come out of its shell. Levi's is not marketing with aggression. I havn't seen any commercial of Levi's in recent times be it in print or in visual media. The brand is resting on its laurels earned outside the country.

With lot of Indian marketers taking on the aggressive path, Levi's may have to add more punch to its communication. Still lot of customers feel that Levi's is out of their range and most of them are unaware of the range of Levi's product line. In a tough market like India, this is a costly mistake.
Watch the Slim jeans video : Slim Jeans

picture courtsey: superbrandsindia,agencyfaqs