ANALYSIS: COMPANY CV - Levi Strauss & Co

Address 1155 Battery St, San Francisco

Address 1155 Battery St, San Francisco

Date of birth 1873

Nationality As American as apple pie and guns in the classroom.

Marital status Still a single, lonesome cowboy. Levi’s is 100 per cent

privately owned and controlled by the Haas family. Chairman Bob Haas is

the great, great, grand-nephew of ol’ blue jeans himself, Levi


Background In the 1850s, the heyday of the Wild West, cowboys used to

wear out their pants in no time (all that bar brawling, getting dragged

through the dirt by runaway stallions etc). Seeing a business

opportunity, Levi Strauss, a Bavarian immigrant, started making

super-strong strides from sail cloth. Later he switched to the French

fabric serge de Nimes (giving birth to the name denim) and used copper

rivets to fasten the cloth. In 1873, the first pair of jeans - lot 501 -

rolled off his production line and a brand legend was born.

For the next 120 years - especially the mid-80s when Nick Kamen stripped

in a laundrette - Levi’s could do no wrong. That was until the mid-90s,

when combat trousers overtook denim in the style stakes.

In a panic, Levi’s resurrected the smart Sta-Prest brand with the help

of furry orange puppet Flat Eric, and the brand was trendy once


The company’s revamped stores and new range of Twisted jeans have

further reversed the decline.

Key brands and brand managers

- Suzanne Gallagher, marketing manager, Levi’s UK. Based in London.

- Peter Ingwersen, brand manager, Levi’s Premium. Based in Brussels.

- Georgio Presca, brand manager, Levi’s Originals. Based in


Media agency and account manager Bartle Bogle Hegarty has handled Levi’s

advertising since 1984. Media has been with its subsidiary Motive, now

Starcom Motive after its merger with Leo Burnett’s media division.

Account manager is Peter Colvin.

Contact number for Starcom Motive 020-7453 4444

Annual media spend Between January and December 1999, Levi’s spent

pounds 3.6 million in the UK and 86 per cent of this went on TV (AC

Nielsen MMS).

The ad push for Twisted may result in a higher spend this year.

Media used A heavy TV user, Levi’s work features in Campaign’s Top 100

ads of the century. A recent magazine campaign for the Twisted range

used an upside-down back cover with a seven-page gallery. Online agency

Lateral has produced innovative work featuring Flat Eric. Levi’s has

also recently created a radio station called Global Sound Kitchen.