Men, desperate to get rid of an itch, are known to do disparate things. Whipping out a huge scissor and cutting off that offensive source of discomfort is just one of the many measures that men adopt.
So, what if the unusual dismemberment procedure shocks the living daylights off a newly married bride?
There are, of course, better ways to deal with an itch. Wearing a Hanes brand of tag-less underwear, for instance, is one sure-fire way (click here to view TVC).
Hanes is a 103-year-old, $2.2 billion global brand and is the best selling innerwear brand in the US. Launched in India in August 2004, the brand owned by Sara Lee Apparel (India), is aiming to corner a sizable chunk of the Rs 750 crore branded men's underwear market. Started in 2004, Sara Lee Apparel (India) is a 100 per cent subsidiary of US-based Sara Lee Corp.
Shekhar Tewari, general manager, marketing & sales, Sara Lee Apparel (India), says the company's plan of focusing on tag-less comfort was not accidental. "In 2002, Sara Lee had done a global study where it was found that two out of three men complained about the itchy labels or tags in their underwear. And, it was discovered that one out of these three men had actually cut off the offensive label from the apparel,” he explains.
"This has been the precise focus of our campaign. With little or no product differentiation among premium underwear segments, we had to focus on a single issue, which is tag-less comfort. The TVC, which has been done by McCann Erickson, has captured the essence of the product quite well (Comment on the Hanes ad). The campign went on air about a week ago. We have been low-key so far... the TVC will be all over the place during the forthcoming India-Bangladesh ODI series,” he adds.
The Hanes brand of underwear is available in 15 different styles in India and is in the price range of Rs 60 to Rs 250. The brand, which was test-launched in Pune in August 2004, is now available across the northern and western regions of the country.
"The underwear segment is a packaged branded apparel product, which comes closest to the FMCG sector. In order to have an all-India presence, we will have to establish a full-proof supply chain connecting the manufacturer down South to retailers spread across India. I expect to have an all-India presence by 2005-end,” Tewari adds.
On the overall industry figures of the underwear market, he estimates the total men's underwear market to be around Rs 2,500 crore. Of this, the branded underwear market is currently around Rs 750 crore and growing by 8 per cent every year.
The cumulative female underwear market is also around Rs 2,500 crore, but the branded component is much smaller at Rs 100-150 crore. What's encouraging though is the branded market is growing at 35 per cent per year, Tewari explains.
The premium category in men's underwear (prices start from Rs 50 or thereabouts) is estimated to be around Rs 100-150 crore, and growing at 15-18 per cent per year. It is precisely this market which Hanes has targeted.
"Several factors have prompted us to enter the Indian market. The Indian male is now fashion conscious. Underwears are not being bought as grocery items anymore. These days, people are choosy about the colour, the styling and the brand.”
"Also, the distinction between innerwear and outerwear is disappearing fast. Metrosexual men are wearing colourful form-fitting vests and flaunting their well-toned bodies. Low-waist trousers, which show the labels of the underwear, are also part of their wardrobe. Our product will appeal to such fashion-conscious clientele,” Tewari concludes.
While the Indian operations for Hanes is limited to male underwear for now, there are plans to launch other categories of apparel in India as well. In fact, globally the Hanes brand of apparel has grown from a basic line of men's underwear into being the leader in men's, women's and children's clothing across underwear, casual apparel, socks and shoes. A little trivia: Hanes had produced its first union suit way back in 1901.
Other Sara Lee ventures In India include: Godrej-Sara Lee Ltd, a joint venture between Sara Lee Corporation & the Godrej Group which is the market leader in the insect repellant category with brands like Good Knight and Hit; Sara Lee Household & Body Care, another 100 per cent subsidiary of Sara Lee Corp which markets leading brands like Kiwi Shoe Polish, AmbiPur and Brylcreem.
Sara Lee Corp is a Fortune 500 global consumer products company with leading brands in three businesses: branded apparel, food & beverages, and household products. Sara Lee's annual sales in 2003 were $18.3 billion. Headquarters in Chicago, it has operations in 55 countries and markets branded products in nearly 200 nations. The corporation employs 145,800 people worldwide.
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