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Hard to Believe These Jeans Ads Will Work

Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on tastefulness and probable effectiveness, with $$$$ being highest.

July 02, 1998|DENISE GELLENE

Advertiser: Levi Strauss & Co.

Agency: TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice

Challenge: Create an image for Levi jeans that appeals to younger customers without alienating the boomers who buy them now.

The Ads: Six television commercials dramatize the legendary stiffness of Levi jeans. One spot shows a fluffy chick while an announcer says, "There is cotton that feels as soft and innocent and pure as a newborn chick." As the chick walks from view, a pair of Levi jeans drop to the floor, making a metallic ringing sound. "We didn't use any of that cotton," the announcer says. In other ads, the jeans are used to saw through a block of wood or appear to walk by themselves. Each commercial uses the slogan "Hard Jeans."

Comment: In these spots, Levi makes a valiant attempt to turn a disadvantage of its jeans into an advantage. By contrasting its hard cotton with the chick's soft down, it suggests its jeans are for people who are tough and maybe a little naughty--a message with appeal to rebellious youth. But it's taking a big risk in emphasizing discomfort. $

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