NEW YORK — Entering its 20th year in business, Dockers is set to prove it’s about more than just “Nice Pants.”
The San Francisco-based brand, launched by Levi Strauss & Co. in 1986, has made some major changes in its marketing efforts in hopes of capturing a female consumer. Starting with a new logo, which will read Dockers San Francisco instead of just Dockers, the company will also forgo its “Nice Pants” marketing slogan in favor of “Dress to Live,” which Bill Stewart, vice president of Dockers marketing U.S., said will show the brand in a whole new light.
“We’re known for our khakis, so ‘Nice Pants’ has done really well for us since we launched it in 1994,” Stewart said. “But what we realize is that as we are entering our next phase, we need to do something new.”
Stewart said that since the company is still primarily a men’s wear business, with 80 percent of sales coming from men’s wear and 20 percent from women’s, there is a “gigantic opportunity for growth in the women’s category.” In the past, he said, Dockers has focused on performance product, such as with the “mobile pant,” which had hidden pockets for cell phones, cd players, etc. It also had the “defender pant,” which was made with a Dupont and Teflon fabric that repelled stains. While Stewart said the importance of performance still exists at Dockers, in order to reach a female consumer, the clothes also have to be stylish.
“She cares most about fit and style,” Stewart said. “So we have already updated the styling there, it’s much more fashion-forward than it was. Overall, what people are looking for are clothes to live in. Clothes that provide comfort and are ready for anything. That’s where the ‘Dress to Live’ comes in.”
Stewart also said he hopes this new slogan will help people realize that Dockers is about more than just pants, but rather a full lifestyle collection for women, men and home. While many products are still produced under licensing agreements, the company recently took back its women’s tops business from Kellwood Co. in order to make sure the women’s line was a cohesive, coordinated collection.
This story first appeared in the September 12, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The new Dockers message will become clear with a major TV campaign that breaks this week. The ads were developed with the help of Foote Cone & Belding, an agency based in San Francisco that also worked on the “Nice Pants” ads in 1994. Dockers will air two different 30-second spots on an array of networks, including cable entertainment channels as well as sports channels. Each commercial tells a story of how one couple met and fell for each other at first sight on a San Francisco trolley. One spot shows the story from the man’s point of view, while the other shows the woman’s side. A print campaign is also appearing this fall in magazines such as GQ, Men’s Health, Esquire, ESPN the Magazine and Sports Illustrated.
“We will eventually advertise in women’s publications as well, but for the start, we want to show our male customers that we have more than just pants,” Stewart said. “These ads will show him the full line, and even the women’s line will be evident since we now have women in the campaign.”
Also this week, Dockers will unveil its new Web site, dockers.com, which now serves only as an informational site rather than an e-commerce one. The site, designed by Silverlign Group in San Jose, Calif., features images from the new ads, showcases product and shows where they can be purchased.