Awkward timing for new Levi’s ad

Levi’s has released the latest ad in its Go Forth series of ads. The campaign is centred around youthful freedom, usually of the semi-naked-in-nature variety, but this spot also features kids fronting up to riot police, scenes the brand no doubt didn’t actually think would be happening when they released the spot…

Levi’s has released the latest ad in its Go Forth series of spots. The campaign is centred around youthful freedom, usually of the semi-naked-in-nature variety, but this spot also features kids fronting up to riot police, scenes the brand no doubt didn’t actually think would be happening when they released the spot…

Titled Legacy – Now Is Our Time, the ad features a reading of Charles Bukowski’s poem The Laughing Heart, which opens with the lines ‘Your life is your life, don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission, be on the watch, there are ways out, there is a light somewhere.’ The visuals are a mixture of kids having fun (jumping into swimming pools etc) and the more pertinent imagery of protests and riots.

Realising that the timing is off, Levi’s has apparently postponed the ad’s UK release, but has uploaded the spot onto YouTube and similar sharing sites, and it is available to view on the Levi’s Go Forth site, goforth.levi.com, so is easy to find. Plus with the unrest that has occurred elsewhere recently, the ad’s imagery will no doubt feel topical to people all over the world, not just in the UK.

Levi’s is far from the first brand to want to co-opt the romanticism and danger of protest imagery for commercial gain. And looking more deeply into the mission statement that accompanies the ad on the website, Levi’s is clearly trying to instigate positive action with the campaign (in particular support for the charity water.org). But should brands really be dabbling with the language and imagery of political protest to sell products? Especially when the issues behind such action, as has been proven lately, are often far more complex than brands are ultimately comfortable with engaging in?

Levi’s Go Forth credits:
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy US
ECD: Susan Hoffman
Creative directors: Tyler Whisnand, Jeff Williams, Eric Baldwin
Creatives: Antony Goldstein, Julia Blackburn, Jeff Williams
Production company: @radical.media
Director: Ralf Schmerberg

 

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