Bartle Bogle Hegarty has released its latest commercial for Levi’s 501
jeans, a Tarsem-directed thriller that shows a young woman stripping off
in a sleazy Los Angeles washroom.
The latest in the long line of raunchy Levi’s films - part of a claimed
pounds 8 million marketing spend across Europe for this year -
‘washroom’ will break on 15 February on MTV and will move on to TV and
cinemas across Europe until May.
The ad will not be aired on UK terrestrial television, but sources
insist that television remains part of Levi’s media mix and that this
does not mark a strategic departure for the brand.
The ‘washroom’ media schedule, handled by Motive, is broadening to
include festivals, band tours and multi-media events for the first time.
Roy Edmondson, marketing director at Levi Strauss UK, said: ‘We are
delighted to use such a strong execution to test a range of new media.’
The film, set in contemporary Los Angeles, opens on a deserted gas
station. Suddenly, a red 70s Camero swerves into view and screeches to a
halt. The driver, a glamorous young woman with peroxide blonde hair and
dark glasses, gets out and heads towards the washrooms carrying a
She frantically tries the locked door marked ‘Women’ and enters the
men’s washroom. She sees a young man sitting in the corner holding a
blind person’s white stick. Assuming that he cannot see her, she strips
off her clothes, wig and make-up.
There is a glimpse of loose cash in the holdall as the heroine, now
brunette, pulls on her worn-in 501s for women. She makes a last check
that the man can’t see her, teasingly doing up the button fly of her
jeans in front of him.
Suddenly, she hears a toilet flush and rushes out. We see that the young
man was in fact waiting for his elderly blind companion. The end copy
line reads: ‘The original button fly. Seen in all the wrong places.
Levi’s 501. The original jean.’
‘Washroom’ was written by Jo Moore, art directed by Simon Robinson and
directed by Tarsem through Spots. The ad is set to Falling Elevators by
the US avant-garde group, MC 900Ft Jesus.
Moore explained that the strategy continues the focus on Levi’s heritage
and authentic product details, but that the creative team was looking
for a less glamorous feel: ‘We knew the previous film - Vaughan and
Anthea’s ‘spaceman’ - was going to have a hi-tech feel. So we asked
Tarsem to go back to his earlier, gritty stuff.’
The ad is Tarsem’s fourth for Levi’s. Previous 501 films by the 33-year-
old director include ‘night and day’, ‘campfire’ and the award-winning