Magazine article Marketing

US Image Fades as New Euro Jeans Air

Magazine article Marketing

US Image Fades as New Euro Jeans Air

Article excerpt

Social commentators looking for evidence of the cultural battle between Europe and the US could do worse than watch a lot of telly. Another week and there'll be a sudden explosion in jeans ads - and a test of whether American imagery is still vital for success.

Levi's has two new executions, "Taxi", running now and "Drugstore" making its debut soon. Lee has a new film featuring a workman building the Empire State Building, Lee Cooper brings out its first ads in ten years next month, Pepe is about to launch "outrageous new advertising", and newcomer Iceberg has radically improved the rush hour for London's male commuters.

Jeans are supposed to be one of the few timeless fashion garments and, over the years, one continuous thread has always run through the ads - Americana.

Take a look at Levi's Launderette execution, Wrangler's recent City Slickers ads, Lee's cow in river commercial or Pepe's ads featuring Jason Priestley from Beverley Hills 90210, and it looks like the US is to jeans what Scotland is to haggis.

But this spring's jeans ads will show a breakaway element - Euro jeans. Lee Cooper kicks off next month with a [pounds]5m ad campaign for its new LC08 unisex jean. The ads, through the Colorado Agency in France, are deliberately continental in flavour.

Lee Cooper's last ad burst ten years ago, which featured fluorescent green eyes, a Kraftwerk track and an 80s, trendy image, was not focused on any particular region. This time it's different.

"There is space in the market for a European jeans brand. There are enough American 'I-wrestle-with-sheep-and-cows-every-morning' ads," says Lee Cooper marketing controller, Andrew Robinson. "Everyone has seen what Levi's has achieved with shed-loads of cash to spend on ads. Now, everyone is competing for the rest of the market."

Latest figures from Mintel show that Levi's controls over 20% of the market, while Wrangler, Pepe, Lee, Easy and Lee Cooper are fighting it out with market shares of between 2% and 7%. …

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