Case Studies - Brand & Marketing - Brand Design

Dixcy Scott: Addressing the Transitional Indian Man

Why and how this 40-year-old men’s innerwear brand reinvented itself to address the evolving aspirations of Indian men

Underwear model in open white shirt and black briefs standing next to Dixcy Scott logo

The Context

Founded in 1982 by hosiery entrepreneur Prem Prakash Sikka, Dixcy Scott is one of India’s most well-known men’s innerwear brands, crossing Rs.1000 crores in turnover in 2019.

Their factory in Tirupur produces over 5,00,000 pieces every day, which are sold primarily through 1,20,000 retail stores as well as online via marketplaces. Their product range includes men’s briefs, boxers, vests, and more recently, T-shirts and loungewear.

In 2017, Dixcy Scott was acquired by Advent, a private equity firm, and subsequently housed under a new company called Modenik.  The brand undertook an extensive redesign of its product, brand and visual identity, partnering with  strategy consultancy Futurebrands  and design studio Codesign.  We got you all the details.

A Timeline

  • 2017: Dixcy Textiles acquired by Advent International, a US private equity firm
  • 2019: Advent acquires Enamor, a women’s lingerie brand
  • 2021: Dixcy Scott and Enamor are housed under a single company called Modenik Lifestyle
  • 2022: Dixcy Scott undergoes a brand transformation

Stirring Up a  Low-Engagement Category

“For decades,” says Sunil Sethi, Executive Chairman, Modenik, “Very little had changed in the men’s mass innerwear market. Men — or more often, their mothers and wives — went into hosiery shops, mentioned their size, and chose from the boxes the shopkeeper placed in front of them. They didn’t ask questions beyond the quality of the elastic.” 

The Indian night and underwear market is estimated to be about US$2.24bn in 2022, growing at a CAGR of 5.26%. Apart from industry leader Jockey which has captured the upper end of the market, there exists a clutch of large, high-decibel, but poorly differentiated brands which include names like Rupa, Lux and VIP. 

The space in between was vast and ripe for capturing and Modenik, which classifies its market as ‘essential clothing’ (innerwear, thermal wear and casual wear), is positioning Dixcy Scott in this white space.

The innerwear industry hadn’t kept up with the evolving customer. It was time to change the cliched, hyper-masculine stance they had taken for decades. The signs were all around us. We just needed to be bold and join the dots.

Sunil Sethi, Executive Chairman, Modenik Lifestyle

Undifferentiated Brand Communication

“The innerwear category’s imagination of their target customer has been pretty limited,” says Anirban Mukherjee, Head of Strategy & Insights at Futurebrands. There was the morally upright man portrayed by Sunny Deol for Lux or the aspirational ‘hotbod’ models in Rupa Frontline ads.

Dixcy Scott originally chose to embody the tough, macho man through its celebrity ambassador Salman Khan. Dixcy Scott founder Prem Prakash Sikka has said that Khan’s mass appeal was such that customers used to ask shopkeepers for “Salman Khan-waali briefs”. 

This is the danger of  larger-than-life brand ambassadors — while they create awareness and trust, often the celebrity will be remembered more than the brand.

dixcy scott logo along with a photo of salman khan wearing white vest and blue jeans
Dixcy Scott had come to be identified by its brand ambassador Salman Khan. The Modenik team, which now owns the brand, wanted to move away from using mega celebrities.

The Transitional Indian Man

There is evidence all around us that the aspirations of Indian men are evolving. 

Sethi points to the rise of male personal care services and rising Youtube searches for ‘how to groom myself for an interview’ and ‘how to make a good first impression.’ Influencer content on speaking English better, table manners, hiding pit stains, or tucking in shirts the right way is now consumed by men across big and small towns alike.

Futurebrands has been tracking Indian customers for decades and Mukherjee says they have identified a segment called ‘The Transitional Indian Man.’ 

“The transitional  Indian man has not fully transformed yet, but is a work in progress. He is no more the simple, basic, dheela-dhala man of old. He is more aware, has aspirations, and is seeking to better himself.” 

Anirban Mukherjee, Head of Strategy & Insights, Futurebrands

For Dixcy Scott, this was an opportunity to position the brand as a vehicle that enables the man to move forward and upward: romantically, professionally, and personally.

Says Mohor Ray, Co-founder, Codesign, “Innerwear is no longer just functional. It’s a part of the wearer’s identity.” This insight became the crux of the brand’s redesign.

  

Redesigning for Confident Body Language 

To enable Dixcy Scott’s brand transformation, Futurebrands came up with the anchor phrase Body Language, which has a clear connect to category, product, and customer. 

“Change can happen outside-in — body first, then mind. So the question we asked was, how can we free up body language?” says Mukherjee. 

“Our products are on our customers’ bodies 24×7,” points out Sethi, “We realised that if we took away hindrances to their comfort, we could become a catalyst in our customers‘ evolution.”

Dixcy Scott has translated this idea into every aspect of their functioning. In product design, this has meant the expansion of functionality to include moisture-wicking tech, odour-resistant fabric, and chafing-free seams and elastic.  For brand design, it meant a completely new look and feel across interfaces.

The logo

The brand’s original logo was an Elizabethan-looking crown that worked for a traditional, family-run business. For the new logo, Codesign rejected all traditional cues. 

“We moved away from static elements and embraced a more agile, exciting, ready-to-move feel. The new logo brings to mind a right-arrow in motion or a video ‘Play’ button, both dynamic, action-oriented cues.” 

Mohor Ray, Co-founder, Codesign
Old and new Dixcy Scott logos on an orange background
Left to Right: The old and new Dixcy Scott logo
Zip on a grey garment with Dixcy Scott logo

The new brand monogram lends itself to placement across products and materials

The colour palette

Dixcy Scott’s existing brand orange has been dialled up and colour values modified for a more vibrant, high impact hue. The distinctive orange is also a key distinguishing factor in small, poorly-lit retail environments and helps to capture share of shelf. 

Typeface

The serif typeface has now been changed to more compact and contemporary lettering which leaves breathing space around the logo, an essential requirement for packaging.

Packaging

The brand’s distinctive orange has been retained on the side and front panels for shopkeepers to easily spot the stacked packs on the shelves. 

Old and new Dixcy Scott underwear packaging
Left to Right: Old and new packs

Extensive redesign has been done on the back panel, which includes:

  • Illustrations to call out product features
  • A see-through panel so the item’s colour and texture are visible
  • A cross-sell section to introduce related products
Redesigned Back of pack of Dixcy Scott underwear showing new icons
The Back of Pack, usually an ignored area, has also been redesigned

Brand architecture

In addition to ‘Josh by Dixcy Scott,’ a pre-existing economy range, two more sub-brands have been added to the portfolio to serve the customer at all points in his journey:

  • Originals by Dixcy Scott for the main range
  • Maximus by Dixcy Scott, a premium range

Communicating the Redesign

In this 2016 interview, Salman Khan quips that his body is “looking too bulky” and “Dixcy Scott looks really cool…but I’m not looking as cool as the brand right now.” Prescient perhaps? Because Dixcy Scott’s latest brand campaign, developed by TBWA India, takes a whole new direction and deviates from the industry norm by featuring Rahul Dev, an older, leaner, less mainstream celebrity as a ‘body language coach.’

The new campaigns feature scenarios relatable to the target audience, like a job interview, meeting with a prospective father-in-law, or pep talk from a football coach. The anchor phrase has actually been incorporated into the campaign’s punchline: Body Language Jo Chha Jaaye.

The new campaign is also anchored around the idea of ‘body language’ and features Rahul Dev

What’s Next

Choosing to deviate from industry norms is a bold move for any brand and especially so for one in an industry that has seen little change. Sethi says the response so far from trade and end-customers has been overwhelmingly positive.  He says that going forward Modenik will continue to take this “FMCG approach” to their brands, focusing on differentiation, investing in social media, and ramping up distribution significantly. 

3 Comments

  1. I worked with Peter England (Madura) and this sounds familiar. Big opportunity to brand unorganised spaces. Good thing they are creating an aspirational cool brand. PE’s struggled after initial success because it was ok to be ‘honest shirt’ at entry level but people moved up and out very fast. Hopefully DS will not make same mistake

  2. V glad to see this in THC. The number of profitable 1000+ crore cos in India outside of techbros and apps is significant and should be covered.

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