UPFRONT;U.K. LEVI'S CLAY PLAYS STATES

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For the first time ever, a bit of Brit Levi's wit, in this case a clever clay-animated spot from Bartle Bogle Hegarty in London, is airing in the United States.

Directed by Welsh animators Mike Mort and Deiniol Morris of Passion Pictures, London, and set to a Jamaican dance hall tune by Shaggy, the spot humorously posits yet another product benefit: double-stitching.

It opens as a hard-jawed hero goes to save a blonde who's screaming for help from a burning building. He rides a police motorcycle up a ladder like a madcap circus performer and leaps through the window, letting the cycle crash. Once inside he drops his Levi's 501s, exposing his boxers, a sight that leaves the damsel in a state of erotic shock. He carries her to safety as they ride down the phone wire using his jeans for a tow rope. They land safely in a flat across the way, embracing in a clay-melting smooch. The tag: "Double-stitched for X-tra strength."

Besides reaffirming Levi's as the original jeans maker, explains creative director John Hegarty, the spot tries to point out another product quality by making fun of the sexy, rebellious hunks who've peopled past BBH Levi's commercials. "We're laughing at our own culture," Hegarty says. Mort and Morris, who have an animated TV show, "The Groggs," a humorous series about a stone age family, brought the right "wit and charm" to the spot, Hegarty adds.

Other agency credits to art director Tim Ashton, writer John McCabe and producer Philippa Crane.

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