NEWS: BBH unveils story with a twist in Levi’s 501 ad

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.

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

holdall.



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

‘swimmer’.



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