Cubo’s Trevor Chambers picks his Desert Island (denim) Ads

Trevor Chambers (below) is a senior integrated creative director of over 30 years. He joined Cubo Group in 2011 and is now group creative director. He set up Real Time Interactive with Phil Jones in 1994 which grew to over 110 staff and worked for clients including Diesel, Canon, The FA, PlayStation and The Premier League. In 2000 Real Time merged with Evans Hunt Scott to create EHS Real Time, one of the first integrated (digital and direct) agencies, now known as Havas Helia. Cubo’s clients include SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Betfair, Pernod Ricard, De Montfort University and Sol Hotels.

Desert Island Denim

If knew I was going to be marooned on a desert island, the first thing I’d chuck into my bag would be a pair of blue jeans. They’re versatile and iconic – Marlon Brando, James Dean and the Ramones all rolled into one – and you can do pretty much anything with a pair of jeans, from towing a car to putting out a fire, something advertising has shown us over the years.

Trouble is, which brand would I take? A number have found their way into my closet and across my arse over the years. Denim has a way of creating a moment for every generation, so I thought I’d take a trip down blue jean memory lane to try and make a final selection.

Brutus Jeans – Jeans On (1974)
By Saatchi & Saatchi

If you were born in the ‘60s you’ll remember Brutus and the award-winning commercial “Jeans On”. What started as a groovy jingle, went on to be retooled into a number one hit, which set the stage for the long and fruitful marriage between pop music and adverts. “When I wake up in morning light, when I put on my jeans and I feel alright. I pull Brutus Jeans on, I pull my Brutus Jeans on…”

Calvin Klein – Brooke Shields (1981)

That infamous line. “You wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.” Brooke Shields was only 15 years old when she said it, which today sounds rather shocking. The fact that I was only 19 when this came out makes me feel a little bit better about how much I liked it. A decade later the Justice Department launched an investigation into the brand and its exploitation of young models. Our industry has made leaps and bounds since then, but still has a way to go with its fetishisation of youth.

Levi’s – Laundrette (1985)
By BBH, London

Oh c’mon, it’s a classic! When talking denim ads, you simply can’t leave this one out. It set the fashion for button fly jeans and got young men across Britain swapping their Y-fronts for boxers. Marvin Gaye sets the mood and history is made as the first of four Levi’s-related songs make the Top 10.

Diesel Jeans – Little Rock, (1997)
By Paradiset DDB, Stockholm

In Diesel’s “Little Rock, 1873,” a model-ly young man, kitted out in Diesel, bids farewell to his family to challenge a loathsome baddie in a gunfight. To our surprise, the Diesel hero takes the fatal bullet. One of my favorite commercials of all time, it won a Grand Prix at Cannes in 1997 and still makes me smirk every time I see it. Brilliantly directed and written, it is pure entertainment and no one but sexy, edgy Diesel could have made it.

Levi’s – Twist (2001)
By BBH, London

Another multiple award winner (D&AD, Cannes Lion, Clio etc, ad nauseam) written by Mark Hunter and Tony McTear and directed by Frank Budgen, a truly brilliant commercials director. Sadly, Frank died in 2015 after a long battle with cancer but will always be remembered for ads like this one and ‘Double Life’ for PlayStation. Like all great work, it speaks for itself. RIP Frank Budgen and thank you for the inspiration.

Armani Jeans – Cristiano Ronaldo, Housekeeping (2010)

Jeans advertising seems to have lost its fun over the past ten years with many ads also lacking an idea. Or maybe I’m just getting too old for it. This Armani ad returns the genre to form with an entertaining story and a cheeky twist. It also does a brilliant job at making almost every man in the world feel inadequate.

So that’s it, after hours of watching I’ve made my choice. It’s got to be Diesel Denim ‘for successful living’ on a desert island.

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