BBH abandons visual epic style for latest Levi's campaign

LONDON - Levi's has dropped its epic style of advertising in the latest campaign for 501 jeans, which uses dialogue for the first time and drops the soundtrack completely.

It is a bold move from advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty for the jeans brand, which has made its name with annual, big-budget campaigns that rely heavily on the use of music, such as Handel's 'Sarabande' in "odyssey" in 2002.

The new campaign shows young Americans in downtown Los Angeles talking about their clothing. It pushes the idea of the anti-fitting nature of 501s -- in direct contrast to the 2001 campaign pushing the twisted seams jeans.

One of the ads shows a boy cheekily putting chocolate sauce on a hotdog and in another two people talk about the cut of their jeans in Spanish. A third execution shows a man explaining to a bemused, silent doorman why he will not be let into the club.

Levi's claimed that the jeans act as a third character in the advertising.

Brand director Mark Garstka said: "The new advertising campaign celebrates the 'anti-fit' nature of the 501 jeans, showcasing new ways to wear the 501 that are more in line with today's trends."

Along with losing the big soundtrack, BBH has abandoned the big-name directors such as Jonathan Glazer. Newcomers Will Speck and Josh Gordon directed the ads and two of the stars, Rick Gonzalez in "doorman" and Dania Ramirez in "hotdog", are currently shooting the latest Spike Lee film. It was written and art directed by Nick Gill and Stephen Butler.

Butler, who is creative director at BBH, said that the idea behind the new campaign was to challenge the nature of old Levi's advertising, based on epic visual narratives.

"We wanted to feature on the 'anti-fit' aspect of the product and that's why we started looking at kids and the way they talk about their clothing and the idea of relating that to situations of not fitting in," Butler said.

The director of photographer was Harris Savides, while the print campaign was shot by James Dimmock. The campaign will be backed by an online campaign created by digital agency Lateral, including a new section on Levi's website.

Levi's has restyled the 501, which has been around for 130 years, to have a lower, looser look and introduced new finishes including "beach bum", "light smoke" and "hardware".

The campaign breaks in the UK on February 11.

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