Levi's Bares Brand Soul In New Campaign

In an effort to perk up flagging sales, Levi Strauss & Co. is rolling out “Live in Levi’s,” a new global marketing campaign its says represents “an optimistic new direction” for the 141-year old brand.

The San Francisco-based marketer says the campaign, created by FCB, The House Worldwide and creatives at Levi’s, was inspired “by the millions of stories consumers tell about the things they do in their Levi’s.” The new effort, which will begin running in print, TV, digital, social, and outdoor in August, replaces “Go Forth,” the long-running Wieden + Kennedy campaign crafted around Walt Whitman’s poetry. 

The new ads are meant to celebrate real-life moments, “from first dates and first-borns to rodeos and road trips and every day in between,” it says in its release. Taglines include “For everybody who’s not just anybody” and “Look good on your way to what’s next.” 

Ads highlight the Levi’s 511 Slim jean for men, the Levi’s Revel jeans for women, and such updated products as the 501 jean, western shirt and Trucker jacket. 

The company, which will announce its second-quarter earnings next week, has been struggling with weaker results, particularly in its women’s products. In its most recent quarterly results, profits sank 53% to $50 million as it cut prices on clothing, while revenues slipped 1% to $1.13 billion. 

Consumers, all stocked up on their denim wardrobes, are feeling fussy. The NPD Group reports that while overall denim sales rose 5% to $17 billion in the September 2012 to August 2013 year), sales of higher-end products—pants priced at $75 or above-- are down sharply. Many of Levi’s Revel line, for example, normally priced at $98, are marked down to $54 on its website.

And a recent report from Cotton Inc.’s Lifestyle Monitor reports that price is increasingly important to denim shoppers, with 63% saying it’s more important than it was a year ago, compared to 58%. Quality (59%, up from 52%) and durability (52% to 59%) are also more of an issue. “A more scrutinizing jean shopper may be resulting from quality issues experienced in denim jeans over the past few years,” the report says, “or the growing consumer desire to make an investment in their clothing.”

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