AIMING AT THE ECHO BOOMERS
In 1986, Levi Strauss & Company found that the best way to stay true blue to its customers was to change
Riding high on the results of a recent “back to basis” campaign with its flagship 501 brand,
Levi's was enjoying reinvigorated jeans sales.
But the good news was followed by bad.
that baby boomers, the core of the company's customer franchise, were buying only one or two pairs of
jeans annually, compared to the four to five pairs purchased each year by 15 to 24-year-olds.
Born between 1946 and 1964, the baby boomers had adopted jeans as a symbol of their break
with the tastes and traditions of their parents.
They had, in the words of Steve Goldstein, vice president
of marketing and research for Levi's, helped turn the company into an “international global colossus” in
the apparel industry.
Now, however, the baby boomers were looking for something different.
wanted clothing that was comfortable and made from natural fabrics, but fashion had become more
Many worked in environments with relaxed dress codes, so they sought clothing that
combined style and versatility—something appropriate for both professional and leisure activities.
“We set ourselves out to answer the big question,” Goldstein says.
“How could we keep the baby
boomer generation in Levi's brands when they weren't wearing so many pairs of Levi's jeans?
answer was Dockers, something between the jean that they loved and the dress pants that their parents
expected them to wear when they got their first job.”
Dockers created a product category—new casuals.
Blue denim was out; cotton khaki (in brown,
green, black, and navy, but mostly traditional tan) was in.
Positioned as more formal than jeans yet more
casual than dress slacks, Docker's satisfied an unfulfilled need.
They were the right pants for a variety of
occasions, an unpretentious alternative to dressy, tailored slacks.
The challenge in marketing Dockers was to leverage the Levi's name and heritage while
establishing the independence of the new brand, and to do so without detracting from Levi's core jeans
According to Goldstein, the company briefly considered not using the Levi's name at all, but
realized that this would be “sort of like trying to put a space shuttle up without any launch rockets.”
the original theme for Dockers was “Levi's 100 percent cotton Dockers.
If you're not wearing Dockers,