Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Don't try to be cool

I'm fascinated by the Levis brand.

Have been for as long as I can remember.

As a teenager in South Africa during the final days of the apartheid years I longed for a pair of Levis.

But due to sanctions and political boycotts they were unatainable.

Not long after I came to Melbourne 501's were relaunched to much aclaim.

That red tab became ubiquitous.

Then along came Chevignon, Replay and Diesel.

And suddenly Levis fell out of favour.

At least in Australia.

Claims of the brand's desmise appear to be wishful thinking at best.

Yet here in Australia Levis has lost a large part of its cool.

Not so in Japan or Europe. Where selvedge and authenticity are key parts of the Levis dna.

Whilst in the USA there seems be be a tonne of money being spent on reclaiming the working heritage of Levis.

I suspect that Levis may end up like the big two auto makers Holden and Ford.

They make quality products at an affordable price for everyday people.

But they also have a specialised performance unit that produces hot cars for a niche market.

So too Levis.

All they need to do is stop trying to convince cool people that Levis are cool.

And start building niches.

Because there's plenty of money and brand value to be found in niches.