Levi Strauss aims for young males with I-Candy games

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Levi Strauss & Co., in a major push to reach teens through online music venues, next month launches advanced forms of a Web banner alternative called I-Candy.

The icons, which will run on 25 to 30 music sites, are intended only to give visitors an interactive experience of the brand and will not link back to the company's Web site, said Jay Thomas, director of digital marketing for the Levi's brand.

"To try to draw everyone to one destination is a fruitless approach," said Mr. Thomas. "We are going for a multidimensional approach, rather than a linear approach."

The effort comes as the industry debates whether marketers should allocate more dollars to Web site development or Web advertising (AA, Oct. 27).

I-Candy, developed by Organic Online using Shockwave, will run on sites such as the thedj.com, thehub.com, wallofsound.com, netradio.net. and SonicNet's Addicted to Noise area.

Five new executions offer those who click on them a different game experience. In "Black Hole," users try to avoid having the brand's red batwing logo ingested. Another is a flight simulator-style program in which a batwing picks up pairs of jeans over a landscape and tallies a score at the end. Another program allows users to create digital sounds while one creates colorful designs similar to screen savers.


Levi's originally launched simpler forms of Shockwave I-Candy in February with five objects, such as a twisting spiral reminiscent of DNA, that were spread over a variety of sites. The new buy, which will run for about six weeks, will appear primarily on music related areas. New versions of the I-Candy icons are planned for future online efforts.

The push is part of the company's goal to reach young males through music sites. "Our target's key destination on the Internet is music," said Mr. Thomas.

To accomplish that, Levi Strauss is sponsoring SonicNet's Streamland site, which offers more than 100 music videos on demand.

In a second music effort, Levi Strauss is backing Sony Music's Live From the Road feature, in which members of bands such as Ben Folds Five and Mike Watt were given digital cameras and laptop computers to share their backstage experiences online.

Mr. Thomas said he has designed Levi Strauss' interactive presence on three levels to "achieve the right level of brand exposure." In addition to I-Candy, Levi Strauss also has more intense exposures ranging from mini-content sites, such as its ESPN area, to total immersion in the Levi site.

Levi Strauss, which recently awarded CKS Group, San Francisco and Cupertino., Calif., its interactive account, plans to increase online spending in the next year, but levels have not yet been determined, said Mr. Thomas.

CKS' win includes all Levi Strauss' infrastructure and support for the Levi's brand, the existing Web site for its Dockers casual pants and the soon-to-be-launched Web site for Slates dress pants.

The company is also experimenting in a very limited way with online commerce, selling small collectors' items such as logo hats on its Web site.

Copyright December 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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