CLOSE-UP - CLIENT OF THE WEEK: Hamster spot was no mistake. Amanda Le Roux tells Jade Garrett what Levi’s aims to achieve with its campaign

Levi’s new advertising campaign from Bartle Bogle Hegarty got off to a controversial start (Campaign, 28 August) when the ITC received more than 200 complaints last week about the second of four TV executions, ’hamster’.

Levi’s new advertising campaign from Bartle Bogle Hegarty got off

to a controversial start (Campaign, 28 August) when the ITC received

more than 200 complaints last week about the second of four TV

executions, ’hamster’.



’We wanted people to look twice,’ says Amanda Le Roux, Levi’s marketing

director, and with stories appearing in most national broadsheets last

week, she certainly managed that. Despite the reaction it received, Le

Roux says the ad was not a mistake. She feels Levi’s did its research

with a poll of the target audience who perceived the ad as

light-hearted.



It gained approval from the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre prior

to transmission, but not from mothers whose children were treated to

shots of a stiff-looking Kevin the hamster.



Le Roux insists: ’When Levi’s 501 was launched in 1985, we produced some

ground-breaking advertising and led the market. Now it’s time to do that

again. We needed to refresh our approach and that’s what we did.’



These comments reflect the highly competitive nature of the jeans market

at present.



Three weeks ago, the first ad aired, showing a young boy trying to

hammer square pegs into round holes, then came Kevin and, last weekend,

the third execution, ’the mall’. All ads exclude any shot of the jeans

and aim to challenge the viewer and enforce the idea that things are not

always what they seem.



The fourth execution, ’wives’, is airing in cinemas now.



While print work does feature the clothing, it also differs from the

traditional Levi’s approach. ’We have been innovative with our media

buying,’ Le Roux says. ’As you might expect, we have bought double-page

spreads in titles such as Elle, FHM and Frank, but we also bought small

slots prior to the spreads to give a glimpse of what was to come.’



It’s not hard to see why Le Roux loves her job. With the Evening

Standard devoting a whole page last week to Kevin the hamster’s

blossoming career in show business, hers must be the easiest, as well as

the coolest, job in town



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