When Dickies released its “874 Versus” campaign this summer, the apparel maker gave a lot of thought to what it calls the “last three feet” of the customer experience. Working with Winston Retail Solutions, San Francisco, Dickies sought out an original display that calls to mind a construction work site.
The new display—which consists of metal and steel, and a pair of suspended pants—is just one of the moves the 88-year-old company is taking to build a stronger connection with its customers. “It all comes down to that three feet,” said Tad Uchtman, Dickies svp-marketing, merchandising and licensing. “The consumer comes into a store and knows they need a pair of pants. [Winston Retail Solutions] and the new racks are making the buying process very experiential for the consumer.”
Uchtman said there wasn’t as much of an emotional connection before, and in order to inspire such feelings, Dickies, with the help of its lead agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, is using interactive and traditional marketing to broaden its reach. The brand is also hoping to grow its demo by targeting niche markets, such as medical and transportation workers.
In July, Dickies launched a series of eight black-and-white Web videos, via Goodby, which show how its 874 Original Work Pants handle everyday wear; the pants are pitted against things like a rocket, a herd of cattle and a wrecking ball. TV and print ads kicked off in August, while the second phase of the campaign debuted three weeks ago. Part of that phase is a program designed to “give back to the workers of America,” said Uchtman. For every pair of Detroit 874s purchased, Dickies is donating a pair to the unemployed.
The effort comes at the tail end of the recession, when consumers are switching their buying habits, said said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at the NPD Group. “Dickies is changing the way it sells to consumers,” said Cohen. “They’ve taken the uniform, the Dickies heritage and reliability as a workware product and expanded it. It’s saying: ‘We believe so much in our product, and so should you.’”