Devina Joshi

Excalibur: Getting a new lease on life

Apparel brand Excalibur (from the Arvind Brands stable) recently went in for a relaunch, complete with a new look, logo and communication premise. David is the agency on the account

It’s almost a case of resurrection for Arvind Brands’ homegrown apparel range, Excalibur. Launched in 1997, Excalibur entered the market at a time when premium brands such as Allen Solly and Louis Philippe dominated the market scenario. Excalibur was launched as a good quality product for the mid-income segment.

While the brand did well initially, it lost its sheen over time, the primary reason being that it was perceived as an economy brand mainly dealing in office wear. Further, the brand lacked any emotional connect or positioning at that point. Without such differentiation, it became very easy for other brands to replicate its offering. According to J Suresh, COO, Arvind Brands, the brand was virtually stagnating from the year 2001 to 2005. “Hence, we decided to revive this brand and make it a lifestyle one,” he says. As Excalibur virtually had no brand connect before now (while it may have enjoyed a product presence), this revival is almost a launch for Excalibur, all over again from scratch.

Excalibur: Getting a new lease on life
Power meets Play. Excalibur. Live x Work x Play
Excalibur: Getting a new lease on life
Business Hours meets After Hours. Excalibur. Live x Work x Play
Excalibur: Getting a new lease on life
Eco Times meets Page 3. Excalibur. Live x Work x Play
Several activities have been conducted to give Excalibur its much needed brand makeover. Firstly, the product range has been distinctly classified into four categories – Business Hours (work wear), After Hours (the post work unwinding wear), Vogue (Party Wear) and Royale (formal wear for special occasions). These four were arrived at after studying the lifestyle of the target group comprising 22-28 year olds (mainly the working populace, in sectors such as IT, banking and BPOs).

Next, a pan-India communication has been rolled out. Ad agency David, which bagged the Excalibur business in July, 2006, was given the explicit task of tapping into the changing psychographics of today’s youth. “A few years ago, a yuppie’s life was clearly compartmentalised, with work and play forming two different aspects of it,” says Josy Paul, national chairman, David. But with time, he says, osmosis of sorts has taken place, and there seems to be a blur between the two now. “One can have playful moments while at work, for instance,” Paul says. “There are so many strands to a yuppie’s life nowadays that it would be grossly unfair to categorise him, or communicate to only one side of his personality.”

Adding to that, Suresh of Arvind Brands says that other brands in the mid-income segment address only one of the two aspects to a young professional’s life. “While Peter England has more of a work related positioning, John Players addresses the ‘play’ part,” he says. So clearly, Excalibur wants to have both items on its menu.

Thus emerged the whole ‘Live x Work x Play’ platform. Excalibur’s new baseline, as one can see, has the multiplication sign (‘x’) between the words, instead of a full-stop or a comma. This is to signify the ‘overlap’ amongst the key aspects in a youth’s life.

Further, model and actor Milind Soman was roped in as a brand ambassador for Excalibur, as his lifecycle much resembles the brand’s. “Initially, he enjoyed his glory days, after which there was a lull in his career. But he bounced back, much like the Excalibur story,” Paul explains. The TVC shows Soman in different moods, and how each item of his clothing brings out a different strand of his personality.

Interestingly, the TVC comprises a series of leftover still shots from the print campaign, which appear one after another in quick succession (as though the frame is moving). The proverbial problem of deadlines (the ad had to be released during the year-end festive season) made it difficult to actually shoot a film. Therefore, the agency improvised, and as the print shots conveyed pretty much everything that needed to be said, it was decided that the print visuals can work for the TVC as well. The TVC was put together by in-house filmmaker, Mehul Atha, while the creatives have been conceived by Priya Pardiwala and Steve Mathias.

It is learnt that in the coming months, some BTL work is on its way. A budget of Rs 3-4 crore has been allotted to the entire communication effort for Excalibur. Suresh of Arvind Brands expects a 30-40 per cent sales growth by the end of 2007. At present, Excalibur has 58 stores in India, but by the end of the year, its retail setup is expected to go up to 100 stores.

© 2007 agencyfaqs!

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