Unpacking Levi’s New Advertising Technique

Levi’s needs customers to “dwell in” extra than simply its denims.

On Monday, the model launched a brand new marketing campaign celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its Dwell in Levi’s tagline, first launched in 2014. The 60-second spot, which can dwell in numerous codecs throughout tv, social media, streaming and out-of-home, exhibits a gaggle of buddies sitting on the sofa watching TV — naturally, all sporting Levi’s. Bored, they flip the channel to a music video, and one, struck with inspiration, hops as much as begin dancing. Her strikes rapidly do greater than inject vitality into the room — she flips the espresso desk after touchdown on the bottom after a soar. The remainder of the group will get as much as be part of her, and the complete room begins to tilt as an unique tune from producer and DJ Kaytranada performs within the background.

The advert, which is known as “The Ground is Yours,” ends with the display screen panning out to point out the scene enjoying on one other TV display screen, being watched by one other bored pair. One in every of them leans ahead, a glint in her eye — she’s about to hop up and do the identical factor.

As a part of the marketing campaign, Levi’s is issuing a worldwide casting name, asking customers to movie their very own video recreating the dance strikes seen within the spot. It’s an apt time for the model to concern such a name to shoppers, who they’re more and more hoping to talk extra on to sooner or later.

Levi’s within the midst of a transitional second. The almost 171-year-old firm, one of many oldest working retail manufacturers in the US, is presently on a mission not solely to shift how shoppers contemplate Levi’s, but additionally the place they store for its merchandise.

Final 12 months laid naked the vulnerabilities of the model’s historic reliance on wholesale: In January, Levi’s introduced it had missed income estimates for the fourth quarter, and deliberate to lower 10 to fifteen % of its company jobs.

To course right, Levi’s needs to refocus on its direct-to-consumer enterprise each on-line and in shops; presently accounting for 40 % of its gross sales, it needs to extend that quantity to 55 % by 2027. As effectively, Levi’s is hoping to get customers to think about them for extra than simply pants, and decide up tops and jackets, reminiscent of a $70 denim corset or a $198 denim trench coat, whereas they’re purchasing for a pair of denims. The concept, Mitchell mentioned, is to get shoppers to embrace the concept of “denim dressing,” head to toe.

“We’re trying to inform the story round this concept of being this unofficial uniform for progress,” Kenny Mitchell, Levi’s chief advertising officer, who joined the corporate in June 2023, mentioned of the inspiration behind the marketing campaign, his first main marketing campaign for the model. “We discuss progress as this concept of motion. It’s about being a doer and taking motion. Progress isn’t for folk that sit on the sidelines.”

This marketing campaign is without doubt one of the first steps in making that push.

A New Chapter for Levi’s

However altering client perceptions a few model — from what to purchase from them to the place to purchase it — is simpler mentioned than completed, significantly for a model with as wealthy a historical past as Levi’s. The model’s problem now could be to push Levi’s ahead with out dropping sight of that.

“It’s a terrific profit to have this historical past and legacy,” mentioned Mitchell. “It’s improbable to have the ability to play with our previous and convey that into the long run in actually artistic methods.”

The marketing campaign is supposed to replicate that bring-the-past-into-the-future mindset. Levi’s, Mitchell mentioned, has a historical past of being tied to music — it was one of many first attire manufacturers to run adverts on the radio, for instance, with a soundtrack by Jefferson Airplane, and has used music in numerous adverts since.

“Each alternative we made creatively was guided by … how Levi’s actually needs to place itself transferring ahead as this contemporary denim life-style model,” mentioned Erin Riley, chief government of TBWAChiatDay USA, Levi’s artistic and social company accomplice and the company behind the marketing campaign.

If the aim is to deepen shoppers’ reference to Levi’s, prioritising shops is an effective preliminary step, mentioned Allen Adamson, co-founder and CEO of promoting company Metaforce.

There, customers can see Levi’s full assortment and speak to workers which can be specialists in regards to the model.

“To vary the elemental notion of a model’s picture, they’ve acquired to go direct to client, as a result of wholesalers don’t have the talent set and funds to try this,” Adamson mentioned. “It’s a marathon, however they needed to begin on this path.”

Nonetheless, it’s necessary to keep up the steadiness with wholesale, as these type of buying patterns will be tough to shift — consider Nike, which is presently dealing with slowed momentum and gross sales after pulling again on wholesale partnerships.

By way of getting folks to think about Levi’s as greater than only a bottoms vacation spot, Mitchell mentioned he’s beginning with zeroing in on Levi’s model identification, after which making use of that to future advertising initiatives that may spotlight the model’s tops or jackets assortment. The identical manner earlier campaigns would highlight basic objects just like the model’s Trucker jackets or 501 denims, future adverts will spotlight t-shirts or equipment.

If it really works, Levi’s will be capable of improve its gross sales and start to develop the model’s definition for shoppers. Nonetheless, for a corporation that’s about as synonymous with bottoms because it will get, it’ll be an uphill climb to get folks to think about them in a different way.

“The additional you go away from the core, the tougher it will get,” mentioned Bob Phibbs, CEO of consultancy The Retail Physician.

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