Levi-Strauss' Dockers brand was introduced in the 1980s as an alternative to jeans and more formal wear and as a casual pants line that would appeal to the company's aging core customers who were now in the over-25 age cohort (Keller, 2003). Dockers quickly became the leader in the new casuals category and retailers across the country quickly supported this brand in response to extensive sales support provided by its manufacturer.
To establish Levi's Dockers as a major brand in men's casual sportswear, a focused, comprehensive consumer marketing strategy was undertaken targeting white collar working men between the ages of 25 and 49 living in major metropolitan areas (Keller, 2003). In relatively short order, Dockers became a billion dollar brand, achieving this sales plateau in 1993 and accounting for 50 percent or more of casual pants volume in stores where the line was sold.
The success of Dockers represented one of the few positive aspects of the company's business in the late 1990s largely because the company failed to anticipate what the 15 to 24 year-old segment of the market would demand. Levi's even fired its long-time advertising agency, Foote, Cone & Belding, after reviewing their account in 1997, hiring TWBA/CHiatt/Day, which immediately undertook a new advertising and marketing campaign for the firm.
After achieving record sales in 1996, the company experienced a sales slide and a market share drop for the subsequent four years despite the fact that the overall jeans market grew 4 percent annually. Levi downsized its U.S. operations and production staff, closing half of its North American manufacturing plants and laying off 30 percent of American employees in 1999.
Over time, Levi created a number of sub-brands for Dockers, including new wrinkle-free products, Dockers Authentics, Slates, Dockers Khakis, and the new Dockers Recode line and Mobile Pant. However, at thus juncture, Levi and Dockers have ...