Levi's 'laundrette' by Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Levi's looked a most unpromising account when it arrived at the fledgling Bartle Bogle Hegarty in 1982.

The brand was perceived as old fashioned and, at a time of much anti-American feeling, uncool.

The launderette commercial, promoting Levi’s classic 501s, was the breakthrough.

John Hegarty and the writer Barbara Nokes recreated an image of 50s Americana that presented 501s as alternative to punk’s scruffiness.

The spot wasn’t only beautifully shot but had humour and sex appeal in the form of teen idol Nick Kamen.

It was also an early example of successful integrated marketing. Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through The Grapevine soundtrack was re-released with the Levi’s logo on the record sleeve and shot into the charts.

As for Levi’s sales, they had soared by 800 per cent within a year of the 501s re-launch.


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