Just wait'll we get our brand on you

Source: Whisper

Hanes, the venerable underwear retailer, has decided to revive their classic brand positioning from the 1990s and put it back to work. The question is why did they ever ditch this strategy? As reported in the New York Times:

FOR those who have been waiting for Hanes to revive "Just wait'll we get our Hanes on you," the wait is over - kinda sorta.

In a campaign...which is being billed as the largest in years for the Hanes apparel brand, the "Just wait'll" theme, so successful in the 1990s, returns with a bit of tailoring as "Look who we've got our Hanes on now."

Also being revived is the idea of using a roster of celebrities to sell Hanes underwear, sleepwear, socks and other clothing, rather than the single-star approach the brand has recently taken in featuring Michael Jordan. Mr. Jordan remains, joined initially by Damon Wayans, Matthew Perry and [actress] Marisa Tomei....

Brands "have to keep themselves fresh with consumers to be relevant," said Sidney Falken....Hanes brand champion at Sara Lee Branded Apparel...a division of the Sara Lee Corporation.

Because "consumers know this brand really well," Ms. Falken said, the idea of using celebrities they may not expect to see endorsing Hanes is meant to convey that the Hanes name can be found on apparel that is more stylish, colorful and comfortable than they may expect.
This updating of the brand would be compelling if the new messaging were left unchanged from the original Just wait'll we get our Hanes on you.

Just wait'll is a powerful position, a valuable piece of mental real estate, creating an evocative mental connection. One quality of the Just wait'll positioning is how it leaves room for continual updating of the brand through the use of multiple contemporary endorsers.

In contrast, Look who we've got our Hanes on now is all about self-laudatory Hanes talking about themselves ("look at us") rather than talking about the consumer. The original '90s campaign talks about and to the consumer ("our product on you"), which made the positioning so effective.

Look who we've got our Hanes on now also assumes a top-of-mind audience recall of the successful '90s campaign, an extra mental processing step forcing the consumer to devote more time and work even harder to connect up brand relevance today.

Simple is hard. In branding, often the best answers are those demonstrating a brand promise through compelling simplicity. Resisting the temptation to gussy up an already powerful brand position is often the hardest task of all.