Levi's aims to return masculinity to khakis in Dockers effort

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Although denim has dominated the pants market for the past few years, Levi's has launched a Dockers campaign to bring back khakis.

The multichannel effort, which includes TV, print, search, social media, mobile, viral video, e-commerce and PR, is led by creative that attempts to reconnect male consumers with masculinity. It uses the tagline “Wear the pants,” playing on the colloquial pun, as well as taking an authoritative stance positioning Dockers as “the pants,” said Jen Sey, VP of global marketing at Dockers.

“In this day and age when men are supposed to be both sensitive as well as ambitious, they are a bit confused,” she said. “We are trying to connect with them on an emotional level, to help define a new ideal of masculinity. A man should be able to change a tire and a diaper.”

The campaign aims to both retain existing customers and to acquire new customers. It also marks Dockers' return to marketing to its core male 25-to-49-year-old audience.

“We've departed from this approach in the last few years,” said Sey. “But we have learned historically that when the brand was at its healthiest, khaki focused on men.”

The repositioning of Dockers comes as the popularity of jeans has pushed the casual pants' sales down 20% this year.

Dockers is releasing a new line of pants to help men rethink the khaki. The pants will be designed with tighter leg fits and less pleated and puffy designs. The company will also introduce new patterns and fabrics.

The campaign was created by Levi's agency of record Draftfcb San Francisco. In addition, Razorfish worked on the digital media. The digital, out-of-home and radio launched on December 1. The national campaign will launch via a TV spot during the 2010 Super Bowl. The effort will run throughout 2010.

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