Jockey plans to take on underwear rivals with £1m youth campaign

Jockey is aiming to ignite a war in the UK underwear market with its first advertising campaign in 20 years.

The US company intends to become the “Coca-Cola of underwear”, according to UK brands manager John Harper. “We are a household name among mature consumers, but we want to build a younger base,” he says

The move brings Jockey into competition with Calvin Klein – which made underwear advertising fashionable – and own-brand market leader Marks & Spencer.

Grey London will create a &£1m advertising campaign breaking early next year, which emulates the campaign devised by the agency’s US arm.

The ads will feature groups of real British people with their trousers down. In the US, groups of firemen, doctors and stage-show cast members were featured.

The men’s underwear market is worth &£310m, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres FashionTrak. Brands account for 13 per cent of underwear spend, but have increased in importance over own label. Spend on brands this year is up 12 per cent over 1998. Calvin Klein has six per cent of market value and Jockey has two per cent.

Jockey has widespread UK distribution for its men’s ranges – classic, sport and fashion – and is hoping to increase the profile of its women’s range.

Jockey UK has recently appointed consultant Greg Parker as interim managing director after Laurie Walker left the company. Harper is responsible for marketing and reports to Robert Nolan, president of international operations, based in Wisconsin in the US.

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