So it’s not that much of a surprise that it has split with its global agency Wieden+Kennedy, particularly as the move follows the departure of marketing boss Rebecca Van Dyck to Facebook. For Van Dyck W+K Portland produced its Americana ‘Go Forth’ campaign, a series of depressing tales about depressed America. You were supposed to feel uplifted buy this combo of resilience and traditional values but, unlike the agency’s work for Chrysler, you didn’t.
Levi’s is indeed haunted by its past, first as American work clothes then the teen uniform from the 1950s through the ’70s. Now, of course, the jeans market has changed completely with the likes of Diesel taking the middle to high ground. Levi’s, in the midst of all this, looks decidedly middle-aged, as most of its customers appear to be.
Prior to moving to W+K Levi’s had a long stint at BBH, which produced some outstanding advertising. Here’s W+K followed by BBH:
Which doesn’t actually prove a lot; maybe just that two powerful corporate imaginations still struggled a bit with Levi’s.
So it’s a challenge for whoever the new agency is, especially as Levi’s doesn’t spend that much (Ad Age reckons it’s only about $40m in the US). When you’ve worked your way through BBH and W+K the logical next step would appear to be Droga5 although there are other contenders of course. Maybe new global CMO Jennifer Sey will go for a big network.
‘Team Blue Jeans’ at WPP? Surely not…