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Levi's Goes Forth in Berlin


Posted by Eliza Williams, 12 July 2011, 16:59    Permalink    Comments (7)

Levi's is the latest brand to recognise the potential of hooking up with young, relatively unknown, creatives and artists to create an ad campaign. The most recent iteration of its Go Forth campaign sees the denim company work alongside Portuguese street artist Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils, to create a series of portraits of local "modern day pioneers" on walls in Berlin...

The campaign, by Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, features portraits of four creative and community figures in Berlin: Joe Hatchiban, who hosts large outdoor karaoke shows in the city; artist duo Various & Gould (one of whom is shown above); photographer Sven Marquardt; and community organiser Fadi Saad, who is working with immigrant teenagers to help them acclimatise to German society.

Vhils has carved the four portraits into walls in the city, in his distinctive style. In the film above, he appears to use small explosions to complete the works. Appropriately enough, these look in the film like a kind of echo of Jonathan Glazer's classic Levi's spot, Odyssey, where the main characters burst through walls (see it here).

The murals appear without any overt Levi's branding, only the campaign's slogan, Go Forth. In addition to the portraits, Levi's is also presenting a five-week long printing workshop in the city. Located in Mitte, in a temporary venue in the city's former mint, Alte Münze, the Levi's Print Workshop provides free screenprinting and supplies for use by visitors, and is hosting a range of exhibitions and instructional workshops to teach people the art of screenprinting. Visitors can create their own hand-printed T-shirts, postcards and digital artworks. This is the fourth in a series of workshops held by Levi's, and the first outside the US (print, photo and film workshops have previously been held in San Francisco, New York and LA respectively).

The making-of film above gives more detail on the four figures featured in the portraits in Berlin. For those in the city, the portraits can be seen for real at Revalerstrasse 99 (Fadi Saad), An der Schillingsbruecke (Various & Gould), Chausseestr. 36 (Joe Hatchiban) and Potsdamer Str. 151 (Sven Marquardt). The Levi's Print Workshop will run in Berlin until August 18. For more info and to register for classes, go to

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam
ECDs: Mark Bernath, Eric Quennoy
Creative directors: Rosie Bardales, Alvaro Sotomayor, Tyler Whisnand
Creatives: Mathew Jerrett, Ivan Cash, Sean Vij, Daniel Maxwell
Digital creative: Tiago Varandas
Documentary director: Sanne van Hecke


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why did they use a portugese artist in berlin? were there no berlin/german based artists available?

so they blew up some bland portraits on a wall, with no personality...was JR not available? ;)

bbbboring levis
2011-07-12 17:30:13

This is going to sell jeans, is it?
Richard Hayter
2011-07-13 08:59:07

Why are they trying to sell american jeans in Germany? Doesn't Germany have their own pants? Say what?

Awesome stuff. Keep it up, I know you will.
2011-07-13 13:51:56

Pretty impressive the video.

Keep it up
2011-07-14 03:24:05

One of the mist cynical pieces of exploitation of youth by a major corporation I've ever seen. Did none of the artists have the bottle to ask why Levis wanted to be associated with them? to give them credibility which will make them more money that's the only reason. Don't work for the man, keep it underground, keep it real.
>Lil _Pete.
2011-07-15 15:07:49

Graffee-t is a hard 1 2 spell, haint it? [It's a little dated + over-used now, 2.]
Grilla Login
2011-07-15 15:54:01

its really good work - the process is incredibly well thought out in regards to using the negative space of the wall to make the positive image of the portraits.

Levi Strauss was born in Bavaria... which I'm pretty sure is in Germany. He migrated to the US to build something with us life. Which is the same thing most artist want to do with their life. It's actually pretty awesome that you would never know Levi's had anything to do with these pieces. No stark logo, just a slogan that really points to nothing if you don't know it - and they made an ethical choice to not hire another graphic designer to make another billboard to pollute the city's vision environment.

In reality - money does help make it so artist can focus on their work full time and not have to work part time doing something they hate dreaming about something they love. Or living off a zero budget to make art being cold at night, worrying about rent and having to "borrow" food to keep feed.

but.... as always haters are going to hate - and it's always easier to be a douche on the internet with little actually knowledge of the details between Levi's and the artist they work with.
2011-11-28 18:31:24

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