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Levi's Ruins the Fun by Trying Too Hard

Can You Dare a Pair of Jeans?

By Published on . 3

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I've been a Levi's guy for the majority of my adult life -- always despite the advertising, never because of it.

That tradition continues with the latest campaign from the storied denim company.

It seems that upon winning the account, FCB was tasked with putting some distance between Levi's and its previous "Go Forth" campaign from Wieden & Kennedy. You remember that one, right? The one that linked blue jeans to the American spirit via Walt Whitman. It was a very pretty campaign to look at. But it was such a bummer, what with its focus on rust-belt America and the economy. Gross.

The new campaign, thankfully, is no downer. The launch spot makes jeans look fun. A rock soundtrack backs a varied cast of people doing exciting things. There are a couple of children. Old people, even! But for the most part, it's a bunch of sexy men and women doing sexy things.

In other words, it looks a lot like your typical fashion ad.

Which is fine. Nothing wrong with that. And there are enough "regular" people, working people and bearded grungy hipsters to indicate that Levi's is cool, sure, but still "of the people."

The new tagline is "Live in Levi's" and is nicely revealed via the brand's logo. The campaign, which will run on TV and in cinemas, was inspired by real stories from consumers; the company will add a social effort next month encouraging people to post their own stories online. All of which is smart marketing.

Still, we must discuss the text that runs throughout this spot.

Wear them. Dare them. Share them. Love them. Wash them. Don't wash them. Rock them. Roll them. Button them. Unbutton them. Work them. Abuse them.

Most of these are nicely illustrated by the visuals. But dare them? Can you dare a pair of jeans? I thought for a second that maybe the copy referred to the people in the spot. But phrases like "wash them" and "abuse them" clearly indicate we're talking about the denim (I hope).

Maybe I can overlook that as someone indulging a copywriter.

But then we get to "Just don't bore them." We've got to worry about our jobs and our families and a hundred other things. Now we have to worry about boring our jeans?

Not only is it illogical, it just doesn't fit with the Levi's brand. Levi's jeans shouldn't be demanding things of me, like some hard-to-please slip of a girl in need of constant entertainment. We have Calvin Klein for that.

Like my own pairs of jeans, this spot is a smidge too long. Trim that excess (and stupid) verbiage, Levi's, and you're on to something.

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