Drawing on dusty history lessons to reach a youth market is always dicey. But Levi's thinks its latest twist on the "Go Forth" campaign -- an interactive scavenger hunt that combines its 19th-century street cred with online-gamer allure -- will help young men connect with the denim giant in a whole new way.
The game's debut, the company says, is the latest iteration of its "Go Forth" campaign, launched back in June and inspired by the wilder works of Walt Whitman. And it comes just weeks after the San Francisco-based company announced another way to pursue the young and vaguely poetic, sponsoring the Berkeley Repertory Theatre's premiere of "American Idiot," the stage version of the Green Day album.
"We are always trying to reach consumers in the spaces that they live, and in this case, invite them to engage actively as well," says a spokesperson for Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., Levi's ad agency. The "Go Forth" game, also by W+K, asks users to solve the mystery: "Who was Grayson Ozias IV and where is his fortune?"
To bring the brand's history to life, the company invented Ozias, a character it says is based the brand's "pioneering and innovative spirit." He disappears in 1896 after hiding his gold, but not before leaving a few hints with one of the Strauss family. Clues steer players toward cities and towns across the U.S., and each task triggers the next clue.
Bits of the puzzle will be released over a seven-week period, and the first player to solve the cryptogram not only wins $100,000, but they get to vote for a U.S. nonprofit to receive $100,000, as well.
Ads for the game will run on Facebook and Twitter, online, and in ESPN The Magazine.
Meanwhile, the W+K spokesperson says, Levi's continues to expand the "Go Forth" campaign with new print executions, and greater distribution of its second TV spot, O Pioneer.
Like many clothing companies, Levi's has been struggling. In its second-quarter results, net revenues fell 3% to $905 million, and it posted a net loss of $4 million. The company is scheduled to announce its third-quarter numbers later this week.