BW: The khaki category’s in decline, Dockers said, as there’s been no significant new innovation in the last decade or so. Is that because of a lack of new product news, marketing or both?
JS: It’s a combination of both. It does all start with product. We will have new product in the market starting now [a new, nine-color line of casual soft khakis], and we’ll also [innovate in terms of] fit, with an eye towards slimmer and cleaner styles, new color patterns and fabrics. The goal is to get people to think of it as not just a work-only look, but a great casual—or maybe more dressed-up casual—option as well.
BW: Who’s buying khakis nowadays? And, is there a new segment you’re trying to reach?
JS: Our current and very loyal consumers are men in their forties who are fairly traditional in terms of how they dress. They want to look good, but not stand out, and they want to look up-to-date. They value brands because they signal quality. We need to continue to engage that guy, but we need to attract a new consumer. He’s younger, in his thirties, more style-involved, not style-leading, but definitely engaged, and he uses brands to say something about himself—who he is, what he values. He’s currently not that engaged with the category and might not see khakis in a well-loved way, but it’s a big job and that’s why we need to engage him with the category and our brand.
BW: Dockers is returning to the Super Bowl—the first time since 2002. Why so?
JS: It’s the most watched TV event of the year. It’s the ultimate “man day.” It’s a great way to launch this message to men and also to the women that may be buying khakis for men.
BW: Why might this be a good time to introduce a campaign like this? What does the brand have going for it now?
JS: The wind is against our backs a little here. There are fashion signs on the horizon that khakis are coming back. A lot of premium denim brands are showing khaki in their assortment. We’re seeing khakis on the streets in very influential markets in Northern Europe like Stockholm. In this very difficult economic environment, men are not willing to take any risks at work. While they may have been comfortable wearing jeans to work before, not they’re not, and khakis are a great option.