Monthly Archives: September 2010

Levis, Live wise please

Levis dENiZEN

My regular mall stroll and I all of a sudden found the levis signature showroom replaced by denizen. Soon I realized that atleast in Bangalore where they are test marketing Denizen, they had replaced signature stores with Denizen. What a relief. Finally the brand unmurders itself.

One of the most iconic brands of all times, levis had done something very successfully that most brands would like to emulate. They brought out the same sense of joy that they used to bring when my father shopped for his jeans.  A lot of ‘yester year’ brands have just been that – Fathers Era Brands. They find it difficult to wriggle out to the new generation and gain the same sort of perception.

Levis had been as aspirational for me and you, as to our dads. The red tag that you proudly carried along was aspirational. Everyone wanted a jean. And jeans was only levis. As water is only bisleri.

Levis Strauss Signature - Deepika Padukone

However in my post, david and goliath, I had mentioned that global corporations need to take a different stratagem for India as it is not a monolithic market, the forces affecting consumer decision is not the same as others. Levis unfortunately fell into the ‘Middle Class India’ trap and ended up over extending their positioning base with Levis Strauss Signature, that catered to the lower end consumers who aspired for a Levis but could not afford one. And then there were the Fakes. Anything with two legs could get a levis tag on their jeans. Soon you saw the red Levis ® tag behind every ass, lovely or not.

Levis contributed to its share of woes by diluting its image with Levis Strauss Signature.

Levis was slowly self-poisoning itself by launching Signature. Signature served two purposes, I could own an original levis and get it cheap too. Soon the denim youth, after buying a couple of pair of Levis signature, got it subconsciously registered that a levis jeans can be bought cheap and commands a price of not more than, say, Rs 1000. Cost for the Indian youth is a big consideration as most of them are dependent on their family for pocket money and the decision to buy a jeans is an outcome of countless hours of inkling and maneuver with the head of the family. Now someone who did not think anything before buying a Rs 1500 jeans, now had another stimuli in his mind. A levis, although signature, at Rs 1000. This eroded the brand premium somewhere. and as we all know it is the premium that you add to a commodity that makes it a brand. Levis was slowly becoming a commodity from a Brand.

Add to all this that most of the youth bought their pair of jeans when there was a heavy discount season during diwali or new years or so and would get the same Levis at Rs 500 and thereabouts. Then add to it, also the perpetration of Discount stores and family outlets that landed you a pair of jeans for Rs 800 and two for Rs 1000! All this diminished the perception that the great brand always commanded.

A classic case where monetarily you are gaining but qualitatively your perception is getting hammered and nailed. In short, Marketing Myopia.

However, they realized the mistake soon enough. Soon you found out that Levis Jeans were becoming more expensive. This was a deliberate attempt to break away from the Rs 1000-Rs 1500 price band image that levis had been garnering. The price rise was maintained even when the economy was going through a recession.

Levis Curve ID

Launching a new brand denizen,priced between Rs 799-1399, is a commendable effort to undo what signature did for Levis. Whatever happens to denizen the erosion of brand value of Levis would be considerably lesser. Meanwhile Levis should continue to create a niche for itself and make it aspirational again.

Levis launched its curve id jeans earlier last month and has been successful in an attempt to create another niche for which people would have to pay a premium.

It is absolutely fantastic to see how, eventhough, with a few mistakes here and there, the brand remains to be edgy and still be classic at the same time.

Kindly Note that as an entity Signature, after it was spun off as stand alone stores,  were a profitable venture and contributed almost close to 30% of its revenues.  However, a Signature by Levis would have been much better than Levis Strauss Signature. Denizen is on the right tracks as far as branding goes.


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Whats your idea of Fun?

I loved the ad the very moment I saw it, not because it is some cannes material or a result of a big creative mental orgasm but because it was clever. Who needs ads which you appreciate for the art and creativity and not the logic, atleast the client does not need so.

I have just started working and hence feel financially independent now. I can buy whatever I want, swipe the plastic all over and not care for a second opinion.  This is exactly where the ad hits bang on the nail with the logic and the connect that it establishes.

Till the time you work, the teenager is mostly dependent on his (no offence girls, their TG is M 15-25, and hence ‘his’) dads money. He might have a part time job but that again is just sufficient to meet his expenses for a nice date on a weekend and the booze and the smokes during the month. Savings are alien.

So now, your friend has bought a bike and you want to buy one too. Or you wanna move out with your friends to a nice apartment with a swimming pool and no restrictions on booze and girls. or you wanna roll some money and buy a car among your friends. or you want to buy nice home theatre or a playstation. or you want brilliant speakers. What do you do?
Ofcourse the monthly pocket money is not enough, neither does the part time job, if any, contribute a lot. So who helps you out? Dad….and there starts your ‘Letters to my dad‘ series ” Listen dad, I have joined a couple of CAT courses and it is really far off from hostel and takes almost two hours to reach to and fro. all my friends live close by and I wanna live with them too, and also i would need some money for a bike so that i can go to college without delay and save time.” A regular follow up with your dad for weeks ensures that you get either one of those after much bargaining. You might not have called your dad for weeks but when you start calling him up every day after college and give him a goodnight message, he knows that you want something and he tries to ignore  your demands (the way it is done in the ad where he fails to acknowledge that his son is clinging on all the time). It makes absolute perfect sense to use the idea of being pullled along with your dad wherever he goes.
Remember in and around 2000, how crazy we were about wallpapers, themes, ringtones, songs, bluetooth and transferable porn? All that was possible because of the device called – Mobile Phone. Enter 2010 and Mobile phones are pretty much shopping products than a specialty product. What has replaced mobiles is another sort of bigger screen and keyboard called a Laptop. and hence Laptops are there among the top 3 desirable things (non living ofcourse) for a young male.
The Other Side

Now lets look it form an Indian dads point of view.

So everyone saw 3 Idiots, remember what Madhavan’s dad presented him when he came to know that he had a job interview and that he was hopeful of getting one? Yes a Laptop!

Now close your eyes and imagine yourself to be a father (oh no, don’t imagine your hot wife as of now). You have three options for your kid, all three would mean ‘FUN’ to him.

1. Bike

2. Playstation/ game consoles

3. Laptop

Which is the one that you would choose? It is obvious isnt it? Where would you see the most VALUE?

Definitely, The One fun thing that your dad will say yes to.

Apart from all this, the end frame where the lenovos are shown is kickass, very eye catchy. After Sony Vaio, that is THE most stylish shot I have noticed of a laptop, and that too without Kareenas stripshow.

It very succesfully reforms lenovo as a young brand..Something that Compaqs , Dells, Acers are not. VAIO is and HP somewhat makes the cut.

The last lenovo commercials were around Saif and the face detection property, the creative was commendable but never gave it a differentiated perception. But this ad without stressing on any of the product feature, manages to create a perception.

What was missing from the ad was a peppy soundtrack that caught your attention, VAIO was bang on with the soundtrack.

Plus, the whole leg catching incident should have been over dramatized. A couple of times I skipped the ad as it was barely interesting enough to catch my attention for the first 3 seconds, the most crucial ones, in the ad. Heres an example of Over Dramatizing by Anchor, to establish a not so unique proposition, but easily the most recallable one in the category.

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Filed under Advertising, Mass media