Tuesday, on a wet dreary day, Doug Sweeny, Vice President of Brand Marketing for Levi Strauss & CO., and Tyler Whisnand, Director at Wieden+Kennedy, charged the Advertising Track session of the OMMA Conference to “Go Forth.”
Sweeny began by candidly outlining Levi’s primary brand’s goals: 1) reassert the brand’s iconic stature, and 2) express what America is today. Inspired by poet Walt Whitman’s transcendental ability to portray realism in America, Levi’s campaign was aptly named “Go Forth.” Sweeny continued with a commercial from the campaign consisting of black & white footage, portraying images of an unrefined Americana, while Walt Whitman’s voice bellowed his infamous poem Pioneers! O Pioneers!.
Whisnand eagerly introduced the next major campaign “Ready to Work,” which continued the theme of real-life Americans during these wearisome times, and putting Levi’s “work wear to work”. For its spokesman, Levi’s chose John Fetterman, the mayor of small town Braddock, PA. Leader of a once heralded booming town that is now pulling itself out of an economic abyss, the 6 foot 8 inch former AmeriCorps member, who exhaustively worked to reinvent his town, was the ideal candidate for Levi’s mantra: “Real Work + Real People = Change.” In addition to filming a series of commercials showcasing authentic citizens revitalizing the town, Levi’s produced its own change by donating $1.5 million to build a community center in Braddock.
Levi’s then took it’s “Ready to Work” campaign viral, using a variety of digital and social media outlets, ranging from online video documentaries to a dedicated portal on the Levi’s site displaying the Braddock story. By using various media channels and steering away from its conventional high-fashion campaigns, Levi’s was able to reach the workingman, its target consumer, and continue investing in social responsibility, one of its original values. What’s next for the 100+ year-old denim giant? Expanding the messages of rebuilding the world and investing in its people…in other words, going forth and multiplying.
Alicia Criner, Search Account Manager