Levi's Goes Global With New Campaign, CMO

Apple, Wieden Vet Rebecca Van Dyck Joins Jeans Maker as It Continues Move Away From a Regional Operation

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Levi Strauss & Co.'s Levi's brand is slated to launch its first global ad campaign later this year, and the jeans maker continues restructuring to a more global organizational model. And overseeing the marketing operation is new Global Chief Marketing Officer Rebecca Van Dyck, who begins work on April 19.

Ms. Van Dyck fills the role vacated by Jaime Szulc last August. And she comes armed with plenty of global know-how. Most recently she served as senior director-worldwide marketing and communications at Apple, where she worked on the launch of products such as the iPhone and iPad. And prior to that, she was Nike's global account director at Wieden & Kennedy. In that role, she was key to Nike's "Just Do It" campaign.

The iconic brand is getting a global push.
The iconic brand is getting a global push.

Ms. Van Dyck said she sees an opportunity for Levi's to unify its brand voice around the world. "One of the reasons this job now exists is to bring focus and consistency around the world," she said. "I've always had global experiences, and that will help me to lead and execute globally."

The brand began making moves toward a more global approach in 2009 with the appointment of Mr. Szulc as its first global chief marketing officer. But the overall company structure was still operating in a regional model, with separate operating structures for the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe regions. Mr. Szulc had been part of a global leadership team that reported to Levi Strauss & Co. CEO John Anderson. But after Mr. Szulc's departure, a spokeswoman said that there was "some debate about the ideal structure" for Levi's CMO role.

In September, the company announced a restructuring, paving the way for a global, rather than a regional organization. Robert Hanson, formerly president of Levi Strauss Americas, became president of the global Levi's brand. Ms. Van Dyck will report directly to Mr. Hanson. He lauded Ms. Van Dyck's "proven success in creating and managing consistent and disciplined marketing experiences across diverse geographies and cultures."

Rebecca Van Dyck
Rebecca Van Dyck Credit: Michael O’Neal

"We believe global brand leadership is the most effective way to deepen our connections with consumers, respond to changing tastes and attitudes and grow in an increasingly dynamic international marketplace," Mr. Anderson said at the time. "We are taking a disciplined approach to become more consumer-focused and responsive, and more consistent in our brand presentation and retail experiences around the world."

Levi's has also consolidated its agency structure into a more global model, awarding independent Wieden & Kennedy global creative duties and Omnicom Group's OMD global media duties earlier this year. Now, in addition to Wieden's Portland, Ore., office, which produced the "Go Forth" campaign that ran in the Americas, its Amsterdam, Shanghai, Tokyo and Sao Paulo offices will work on the business. Likewise, OMD is now handling the brand's media business, including planning, buying, online and offline. The brand had worked with a number of creative and media agencies around the world.

While the shift to a global operating structure is new for Levi's, Ms. Van Dyck said it's the only way she knows how to do business. "I'm a fan of consistent brand voice and experience around the world," she said.

Levi Strauss & Co. does not break out sales by brand. But in reporting its fourth-quarter results, it said the company was able to grow revenue across the world in 2010, due to the strength of the Levi's brand, among other things. The company saw a 7% jump in sales for the year ended Nov. 28.

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