In the name of modern masculinity — and selling khakis — Dockers has taken a 30-second advertising spot during Super Bowl XLIV, Feb. 7 on CBS.

This story first appeared in the January 25, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The tongue-in-cheek commercial, dubbed “Men Without Pants,” marks Dockers’ return to Super Bowl action for the first time since 2002. The brand, best known for a wardrobe staple, khakis, is abandoning the sidelines to reinvigorate this admittedly tired franchise.

“Khakis became a capitulation — men bought them because they had to when jeans weren’t acceptable, when they had to dress up,” said Jennifer Sey, Dockers global vice president of marketing. “We’re encouraging men to wear the pants” by associating khakis with masculinity.

Created by DraftFCB’s San Francisco office, the Dockers commercial pokes fun at a group of men who are not wearing pants (but who are sporting underwear) as they parade proudly through a field, singing “I Wear No Pants,” a song written by Los Angeles band The Poxy Boggards. Ultimately, the troupe is interrupted and given notice: “Calling all men — it’s time to wear the pants.” The idea is that male viewers may see a part of themselves in the parade — and decide to wear the pants. In this case, Dockers khakis.

“The TV spot is a metaphor for men who have lost their way, men in a failed place and not wearing pants,” said Desmond LaVelle, a senior vice president and creative director at DraftFCB, San Francisco, who worked on the commercial. Men ages 25 to 35 are the primary audience.

Super Bowl viewers with a Shazam app in their mobile smartphones will be able to point at the TV spot, capture its audio “tag” and be directed to a microsite online, where they can enter to win free khakis and buy “I Wear the Pants.” Dockers, which is owned by Levi Strauss & Co., will tease the Shazam mobile marketing foray on 500 Web sites, Feb. 1 to 7. It expects to give away thousands of pairs of khakis.

After the Super Bowl — 30-second spots are averaging $2.5 million to $2.75 million this year — the “Men Without Pants” commercial will run on networks such as TNT, Comedy Central, FX and the Discovery Channel. It is Dockers’ first TV commercial since 2008.

The “Men Without Pants” Super Bowl effort is part of a broader campaign themed “Wear the Pants.” Print and outdoor ads in the first part of the Dockers salvo broke regionally in December in New York and San Francisco. Outdoor ads will begin appearing in Miami on Feb. 1, during the run-up to Super Bowl XLIV at the city’s Sun Life Stadium. The print ads are slated to break nationally in the March editions of magazines, including Esquire, GQ, Sports Illustrated and Wired.

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