In every good pair of jeans there’s a story. Whether it’s a first kiss, an epic concert weekend, some serious handyman feats, or as a staple of a fashion uniform, great jeans have seen more of life than most other wardrobe items. Now, Levi’s–which first introduced denim into the fashion lexicon over 140 years ago–is looking to elevate the stories behind its apparel with a new global brand campaign, “Live in Levi’s.”
The new direction marks a shift away from the brand’s “Go Forth” campaign, which for four years was an earnest, poetic call to arms for the modern pioneer–the campaign, from Wieden + Kennedy, famously shone a light on Braddock, Pennsylvania, and saw the brand participate in the struggling Rust Belt town’s recovery efforts.
This campaign, created from a partnership between FCB West, London-based, MDC-owned agency House Worldwide and Levi Strauss’s internal team, feels more inclusive, and more mainstream. The campaign’s anthem spot, “Don’t Bore Them,” (seen below) directed by Fredrik Bond, is an upbeat and lively piece that sets the tone for the campaign. In it, a wide variety of people–young and old, dressed and half-dressed–are living life in their jeans. Or, as the copy goes, “Wear them, dare them, share them, love them, wash them, don’t wash them, rock them, roll them, button them, unbutton them, work them, abuse them. Just don’t bore them.”
Levi’s CMO Jennifer Sey says the concept for the campaign came from the many real stories its customers shared with the brand. Like a 72-year-old who sent a letter to the company telling of his relationship with his Levi’s. “We were truly inspired by the passion that consumers have for our products and the letters we get about all the amazing things they do in Levi’s,” she says.
That feedback set Levi’s on a new strategic course: to reconnect the product line to its advertising–like icons such as the 501 jeans and the Trucker jacket, as well as modern classics like slim jeans–and make the brand a relevant part of pop culture.
“We put it in a simple music metaphor and told the client we would take Levi’s from the band playing in the local coffee house to the band that everyone loves watching at Madison Square Garden,” says Eric Springer, chief creative officer of FCB West. “It’s time for Levi’s to proudly be that big, popular rock band once again.”
While the film and some print ads have kicked off the campaign, Sey says that the central piece of it will be the digital and social elements, both of which will prompt people to share their own stories of their lives with Levi’s at Levis.com and on the brand’s social channels. Sey also notes that they’re trying to use mobile as a traffic driver to Levi’s stores by using iBeacon-enabled billboards to alert consumers to the nearest store, and serve them an offer.
With personal stories at the root of Live in Levi’s, Sey says that the campaign will eventually evolve to include the real stories the brand collects in its future advertising. “There’s a joyfulness to this work and that was definitely intentional. When people tell us their stories, they really tell us these great moments in their lives. We certainly want to capture a spirit of optimism,” she says.
“The first step was to get the brand voice back and make everyone know it’s their brand once again,” adds Springer. “This is just the beginning. The first brick in the wall of bringing an American icon back on the main stage and reminding everyone just who started denim and who will always own the category. It’s not a comeback tour. It’s a forever tour.”