Launching the Gildan Brand

The Super Bowl is a great place to launch a new brand; the event’s huge viewership provides a platform for introducing a new product to a significant portion of people in the United States. Brands like Monster, CareerBuilder and Go Daddy used the Super Bowl effectively during their launch.

One of this year’s new brands, and one of the most interesting Super Bowl stories, is Gildan.

Gildan is a huge apparel company with almost $2 billion in annual revenues. Gildan produces millions of shirts and sweatshirts. When you buy one of those shirts saying “My friends went to Cleveland and all I got was this stupid shirt” you are probably buying a Gildan product.

The Gildan brand is largely unknown; most people don’t know or care about it. This is a problem, of course, because branding is critical for differentiation in the apparel world. It is difficult to command an enormous price premium based on fabric or cut. Without differentiation, the focus shifts to price and fighting based on low price is hard.

Gildan is now trying to build its brand. The goal is clear: grow awareness of the Gildan brand and build customer advantage. If all goes well, people will eventually seek out Gildan and pay a premium for it.

This makes very good strategic sense. Differentiation drives profitability.

The problem is that this will not be easy. Building a brand in this cluttered world takes money and time, especially in a somewhat low-interest category like t-shirts.

The Super Bowl is a logical choice for Gildan; it is a strong platform to launch the brand.

Will it work?

To be successful, Gildan will have to do what all Super Bowl advertisers have to do: get breakthrough, deliver a benefit and communicate the brand.

Gildan’s first spot isn’t all that encouraging. You can watch it here.

http://permalink.fliqz.com/aspx/permalink.aspx?at=f9bf390abfde4e63a5bc77640bea4096&a=7575d9fb737a4193a5ef6df3c0b4744b

The ad has fairly good breakthrough. But there isn’t a clear benefit (why Gildan?) and the branding is weak. Hopefully the Super Bowl spot will be better.

6 Responses to “Launching the Gildan Brand”

  1. Amit Agarwal Says:

    Professor Caulkins: I agree that the ads and Gildan’s story will be an interesting one to watch. My belief is Gildan, a brand that seems like it has been around forever, will need to do much more than some advertising to rebrand itself as a differentiated product, but this might just be phase I of their plan.

  2. David H Says:

    This is not going to end well. I can see how Gildan might be confident – two other brands have recently launched and become ginormous with nothing but a t-shirt to begin with: Under Armour and American Apparel. But these brands had an actual benefit. Under Armour purportedly had a performance benefit from their compression fabric. American Apparel brought high quality, good fit and panache to a undifferentiated category. BUT, as Prof Calkins points out, there is no benefit in this ad, no “there” there. Who knows, maybe they have some great new products coming. I hope so. Because the schlubby kind of guy portrayed in this ad does not seem like the type to care about the brand of a generic t-shirt or sweatshirt.

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