Return of the Levi’s ad

If Levi’s advertising has been a little all over the place of late, lacking the simple, sexy storytelling of the classic 501 ads that used to be associated with the brand, BBH’s latest spot, Dangerous Liaison, feels like a return to the blockbusting tactics of yore

Director Ringan Ledwidge admits he was inspired by the brand’s past: “I really wanted to do a classic Levi’s commercial,” he says. “I grew up with them and, when I began in commercials, it was the thing to do. I wanted to create that feeling again.”

The spot opens on a girl standing alone in a bedroom, dressed in original Levi’s dungarees. Her boyfriend arrives and the couple quickly begin making out, yet as they rush to remove their clothing a new outfit is revealed, then another and another. Each ensemble represents a different era, as the couple race through the decades until the present day, when the tag “New 2007 collection. From the original” appears.

“It was a very strong idea anyway, but I wanted to bring that old flavour back, that sexiness and cool,” continues Ledwidge. “Making the characters look cool but also to have an attitude.”

“Levi’s’ heritage with BBH is all about sex, youth, rebellion and Americana,” agrees BBH executive creative director John O’Keeffe. “We came up with the ‘new from original’ idea as it gave us a chance to retain all the values established for the brand and also showcase a new line for them.”

Crucial to a classic Levi’s spot is, of course, the music, and Ledwidge admits that he spent a long time searching for the right song for the ad. “The tracks for Levi’s ads really stand out because they are different, they are not following something else that is around at the time,” he says. He finally settled on Strange Love by Little Annie (which is produced by Antony Hegarty from Antony & The Johnsons), a cabaret-esque song, which, rather like the ad itself, feels familiar at the same time as being new. And, as with the songs in Levi’s ads gone by, it will no doubt soon be climbing the charts.

 

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Graphic Designer

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
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Integrated Designer

Centaur Media