DXL: The over-sized man is under-served

by Harry Sheff

Destination XL Group, the big & tall menswear retailer formerly known as Casual Male, just launched a big national ad campaign — its first ever — with some humorous videos to appeal to the under-served over-sized man. The videos highlight the retailer’s growing DXL concept—now 55 stores and scheduled for more than 100 by year’s end—a store model that will eventually replace the more than 300 Casual Male XL stores. By 2016, they hope to exceed 200 DXL stores. DXL’s growth tends to be outside of malls because the retailer has found men don’t like shopping at malls.

DXL Shopping No Man's Land

Destination XL Group was our Retailer of the Year in 2011. It has been slowly shifting its focus to relatively fewer but larger stores (they operated 465 stores in 2011 and have 400 now).

The potential customer base — men over 6’3″ and with waist sizes larger than 40 to 46 inches — is more than 40 percent of American men over 20, according to the retailer.

Part of the marketing push is a social media campaign, asking large men about the difficulties of being big in a medium-sized world. Using the hashtag #bigguyproblems on Twitter, DXL has already gotten a big response.

“Getting skinny isn’t nearly as much fun as it was getting fat,” tweeted @jcdenning21.

Another big guy, @Luis_Traps, tweeted, “This is what happens when I attempt to climb into Tinker Bell’s car,” along with an Instagram photo.

The first video below is a “tour” of a DXL store showcasing its larger aisles and dressing rooms.

The second video is their new ad, which has run afoul of some broadcasters with its (mercifully) pixilated nude man. None of the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) would run it. While some cable networks didn’t have a problem with it, according to the New York Times, Comedy Central and ESPN were among the ones that did. (They will run a “clean” version showing that man in underwear.)

Destination XL Group CEO David Levin was nonplussed by the controversy. “I’m watching prime-time television and seeing parts pixelated out every day,” he said in the Times story. “I don’t understand why we’re being called out on this thing — if this were a hunk of a guy, would there be the same problem?”