Jockey positions briefs for the tech-savvy crowd

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Jockey International goes back to basics this holiday season with an ad campaign celebrating the original white briefs that made the company famous 65 years ago -- but with a twist.

As usual, the company's latest print ads and its main billboard in New York's Times Square feature a group -- members of a San Francisco motor scooter club posing in the classic white briefs. The billboard continues the campaign tagged "Let them know you're Jockey" which uses real-life models. Ads from Grey Worldwide, New York, break in November and December magazines.

But while the new campaign promotes a product from the Old Economy, its pitch also includes media geared for the wired generation. Besides its usual buy of sports and fashion publications such as Sports Illustrated and GQ, Jockey has expanded its media buy to business magazines such as Smart Money and Wired that appeal to young entrepreneurs.

"The more entrepreneurial, tech-savvy guys wear underwear, too," said Mark D. Hogan, Jockey's VP-marketing and advertising.

Jockey's research found the target male shopper is a managerial, mature, department store shopper, so there was an opportunity to grow sales by reaching younger men, he said. "If our traditional customer works for a Fortune 500 company, our new customer works for a startup," said Mr. Hogan.

Jockey's previous Times Square billboard, unveiled March 8, departed from the campaign to concentrate on its women's products, which was the company's spring/summer focus (AA, March 6).

NO PANTY-LINE PROMISE

The women's focus will also continue next year, with the No Panty-Line Promise, a new line of women's underwear in Tactel microfiber designed not to show through clothes. The line will ship to stores in late February and will be available in early March, supported with print ads in April magazines and the Times Square billboard breaking in March. That campaign, also from Grey, will continue the tagline, "We know what makes you feel good" which was introduced in the women's ads for Spring 2000.

Jockey plans to keep its 2001 ad budget at the same level of spending as 2000, when the media budget was increased to bring the spending for women's products on a par with the ad support for men's lines. Jockey spent $9 million in U.S. media in 1999, and $6 million in the first half of 2000, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Jockey first entered the women's market in 1982 with Jockey for Her, a line of cotton panties that borrowed many of the style points of its men's underwear line. In recent years, it has built its profile among younger women with more colorful and fashion-conscious styles. It is also reaching into new distribution channels beyond department and specialty stores. In February, Jockey introduced Formfit, a line of women's intimate apparel exclusively at Target Stores (AA, Feb. 7).

The company also plans to celebrate its 125th birthday next year. Mr. Hogan said plans for the anniversary are still under development.

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