Levi Strauss & Co.’s Women’s wear Division markets several lines of products but their recent introduction of the Women’s 501® jeans have been particularly successful. The marketing strategy for the new product launch was based on studies identifying two consumers Clusters as primary targets. The first consumer group consisted of women whose median age was 25, who had sophisticated tastes and were appreciative of the latest styles, the second group consisted of Women whose median age was 28, who followed a traditional lifestyle, and who preferred practical Clothes. Research showed that the product attributes most important to these two consumers groups were quality, value, comfort and fit.
The new garment retained all features of the original, including copper rivets on the front pockets, metal buttons on the fly, and all cotton denim fabric that in three washings shrinks to fit individual body contours. With additional washings the 501® jean becomes lighter in colour, softer and more comfortable, yet retains its durability. In contrast with the general practice of advertising after product distribution was completed, “consumer-pull” advertising and intense promotion stimulated distribution. Distribution was also facilitated by good communication with the retailers. Since the product actually does “shrink when washed”, the consumer education program was also more intensive than usual, with much of the information based on advance interviews with major retailers.
The advertising – “designed to create sensation” – did. Most memorable was a TV commercial which featured an attractive, self assured young woman in 501® jeans. Photographed against a backdrop of stark Texas countryside, she says only six words “Travis, you’re a year too late”. This cryptic statement generated such intense public interest that it proliferated dramatically through word-of-mouth and frequent editorial mentions. The Levi image was maintained in competitive...
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