Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Got your speedos on?

While there are some brands that are desperately trying to establish themselves and create some kind of meaning and story around their name, others are trying to actively shed an association with their brand. For example I am sure that Burberry would prefer not be linked to the “chav” side of life. And Toyota will be looking to shed their newly acquired image of poor quality and mass recalls.

But what does the brand Speedo suggest to you?

It’s certainly iconic, and almost a brand that defines a category in the way that Hoover or sellotape does. But although part of me has a little image of a bloke wearing something skimpy, there is also a bit of a “fuddy duddy” association around the edges.

Well, Laura Rattray, a designer from Speedo is trying to change that.

Unusually she is not in a headlong rush to make the brand youthful and hip again. Laura has put some real thought into the new Speedo range, studying her target audience and coming up with something that replies to a real need.

Although we are presented with a myriad of colours in swim suits every season, it seems that there is really only one basic style decided some time in the 50s. Would that be the one that makes your wobbly bits bulge out?

So, she worked with researchers at London’s Hammersmith hospital to scan the body images of 5400 “normal” women and found that most of us will fit into three shapes hourglass, pear-shaped and top-heavy. She then designed “made to measure”suits in these styles that are designed to fit and flatter today’s women.

I think this kind of innovative thinking shows that you can still innovate in a mature category if you are willing to think differently and think customer.

I am all for it. As a spokesman for Speedo reminds us - wearing a swimsuit is pretty close to getting naked so I am sure there would be some brand advocates created if Speedo managed to get us looking a little better and more confident at the local pool.

Thanks to the Daily Mail for the article and Alex Grier who brought it to my attention.

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