Lacoste's Marketing Strategies in the US

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG132
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 2001-2006
Organization : - Lacoste SA
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : USA
Industry : Apparel

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Background Note

The Lacoste brand and its famous logo were born in 1933, when René Lacoste and André Gillier, the owner of a leading knitwear manufacturing firm in France, set up the apparel company La Chemise Lacoste, and began manufacturing white polo shirts embroidered on the chest with the picture of a green crocodile. Reportedly, this was the first time that a brand name and logo appeared on the outside of a garment. The Lacoste shirts became a part of popular sportswear. Although, there was an interruption in the company's activities between 1940 and 1945 due to World War II, LCL resumed production of the shirts in 1946.

In the 1950s, LCL began exporting the shirts to overseas markets such as Italy and the US. In 1951, LCL introduced colored polo shirts. Towards the end of the 1950s, the company also introduced a children's line of polo shirts. In 1960, LCL launched striped polo shirts and shorts. LCL further expanded its operations in the international markets through licensing agreements. In 1961, LCL signed a clothing manufacturing and distribution license in Spain....

Lacoste's US Journey

In 1951, DC and LCL entered into an agreement whereby DC agreed to market Lacoste polo shirts in the US. DC sold the Lacoste polo shirts under the 'Izod Lacoste' label. Lacoste shirts were well received by American consumers and became a big hit in the US market. The popularity of the shirts increased in the 1950s when Dwight Eisenhower, the President of the US (1953-1961), was photographed playing golf in a Lacoste polo shirt with its crocodile logo. In 1966, DC signed a licensing agreement with LCL to manufacture and market Lacoste shirts in the US.

Over the years, the sales of Lacoste polo shirts surged and 'Izod Lacoste' established itself as a premium sportswear brand for men. However, the shirts also became more closely associated with Izod than with the Lacoste brand. In 1969, GM acquired DC and thus acquired the license to the Lacoste brand and the crocodile logo. During the 1970s, GM popularized the green crocodile logo by launching a range of clothing items like sweaters, jackets, ties, socks, etc. Gradually, the Lacoste clothing line was extended to include womenswear and children's clothes as well.

However, the polo shirt with the green crocodile logo was still the Lacoste brand's flagship product, and it was still perceived as menswear brand. Until 1975, GM imported Lacoste polo shirts from France. The shirts were made of fine cotton with buttons made of mother of pearl. However, from 1975 onwards, GM started manufacturing the shirts in the US and Asia, and the shirts were of poorer quality. Lacoste shirts were now made of a cotton/polyester blend, and their design was different from the original Lacoste shirt...

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