When it comes to new and interesting branding, the last place you’d suspect to see something unique is in men’s underwear.
Yet, over the weekend, a series of ads touting Duluth Trading’s Buck Naked Underwear flooded our TV screens during the football (and Thanksgiving) feast – and I, for one, took notice.
The simplest way to explain what makes a brand work is that it is different than its competition (Buck Naked, check), its promise can be fulfilled by the brand (users will eventually decide that) and is most meaningful to target audiences (Buck Naked has honed in on the idea of comfort).
But part of that differentiation is something that most brands miss: A difference in tone.
The difference in tone here is everywhere. It’s in the unique animation, but it’s also in that it directly takes on the competition in a noticeable way (the meat grinder) that would be shocking if it weren’t so funny.
The Buck Naked Underwear name.
Then there’s the name. Duluth Trading has decided that comfort is the highest emotional intensity in this marketplace. I don’t know if that’s true. But, if it is, then Buck Naked Underwear is a name that unabashedly states that.
It is unashamed of its comfort position by claiming it in a compelling way that skirts the edge of being a little too cute and a little offensive.
I think it’s brave. So many brands settle into a tone and position that, even if they are slightly different, are still related to how the competition delivers a similar message. I’m sure Hanes and Fruit of the Loom have also marketed the idea of comfort before, but they used that exact word (comfort), which is just a value without any differentiating tone, and a delivery that is easily dismissed.
By adopting this tone, Buck Naked Underwear says its users are different and aren’t afraid of extremes. That’s a brand position that transforms what could become a clichéd message into something new.