LEE’S LAUGHING MATTERS

Byline: Janet Ozzard

NEW YORK — In its latest group of TV spots, which will debut during the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Lee Co. will present three more scenarios from the annals of ill-fated and ill-fitting jeans.
In one spot, women in dressing rooms jump in thunderous unison as they try to wriggle into jeans. The tremors destroy a china department on one floor, and stimulate the bed department on another floor. The ruckus dies down as the women try on Lee jeans. In the men’s spot, a department store male mannequin in stiff working apparel changes into Lee jeans after hours, then takes the elevator up a few floors to party with the lingerie mannequins.
The third features a man confessing to a support group while his girlfriend steps into a dressing room to try on a pair of jeans “real quick.”
“Hi, I’m Bob, and my girlfriend is trying on a pair of jeans,” he says to a roomful of other guys, expecting her to take forever. But within minutes, the girlfriend surprises him and the support group by quickly finding a pair from Lee.
The spots, which continue the humorous approach Lee started in 1992, were again created by Fallon McElligott, the company’s Minneapolis-based ad agency.
According to Leading National Advertisers, Lee spent $18.3 million on TV advertising from January through October last year. Lee will dig even deeper and increase its broadcast spending more than 50 percent for 1995. Company officials declined to give a specific figure for the new campaign. But with Super Bowl time running about $1 million for 30 seconds, Lee is spending about $3 million during the game.
“It came back strongly from our early testing that humor works,” said Mike Robertson, director of marketing and communications for Lee Apparel. He said that in addition to being a major presence during the Super Bowl and on the Academy Awards telecast in April, Lee has skewed its TV placement this year more heavily toward a younger consumer, from 18 to 30 years old.
It is negotiating spots on Fox Network programs such as “Melrose Place,” “Tales From the Crypt” and “The X-Files,” as well as on MTV. Robertson said the company has no plans to do any print ads this year.
“We are by no means walking away from the misses’ customer,” Robertson said. “There’s a lot of crossover between the junior and misses’ customers, and we feel we needed to be a little more aggressive toward that younger consumer.”

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