Levi’s Takes Go Forth Campaign Global


Levi Strauss is working hard to make itself a global brand. To that end, Levi’s has been beefing up its human capital, the better to bring its global campaign and corporate citizenship message to the world.

The brand just hired Beto Guajardo from Avon to serve as global VP of strategy, following its recent hiring of Rebecca Van Dyck as global CMO, a marketing whiz who Bloomberg reports “led Nike Inc.’s ‘Just Do It’ campaign and helped Apple make the iPhone a best-seller,” to help revive the Levi’s brand.

“I had always worn Levi’s, but they sort of drifted away in my mind,” said Van Dyck, who was wearing Levi’s (of course) and prefers to go by “Becca,” to Bloomberg’s reporter. “I want us to be present and show up and be confident, and that’s going to be appealing to young people as well as old people who grew up with Levi’s.”[more]

Levi’s market share has fallen because the market has become glutted with both lower-end and higher-priced “luxury” jeans in recent years. Bloomberg notes that Van Dyck’s hiring is part of a systemic overhaul, quoting Robert Hanson, president of the global Levi’s brand, saying: “We’re 20 miles into a 100-mile journey.”

Researcher Euromonitor International says Levi-Strauss is still the top-selling jeans manufacturer, but its share of women’s jeans sales went from 5.4% in 2005 to 4.4% in 2010. On the men’s side, its market share went from 8.4% to 7% in the same time period.

The company’s other big global push is in marketing, with a global advertising campaign that expands its “Go Forth” campaign with the youth-stirring tagline, “Now is our time.”

The global push kicked off this week with a 60-second “Levi’s Legacy” short film (at top) that premiered on Levi’s Facebook page, where it’s the most “liked” denim brand on the site. The first worldwide “Go Forth” commercial is launching with 19 in-language versions (including Japanese, French, Spanish and German) and coming to cinemas around the globe starting this week, followed by a TV run later this fall.

Like the Walt Whitman poem “Pioneers! Oh Pioneers!” that kicked off its award-winning “Go Forth” campaign — which celebrates America’s pioneering spirt, and work as a lifestyle (in keeping with Levi’s utilitarian denim roots) — the global Go Forth spot by W+K references “The Laughing Heart,” a poem by the late Charles Bukowski. (It also, unfortunately, contains images of riots that strike too close to home for those in the U.K.)

The global campaign — which features (naturally) good-looking, rebellious youth — will also include a digital-engagement program featuring present-day pioneers from around the world, and also makes smart use of Facebook.

According to the press release,

Initially the ‘Go Forth’ digital engagement program features an online social challenge that highlights Water.org, a non-profit organization committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries.  Levi’s fans and Facebook users around the world are invited to join the Levi’s brand in supporting the efforts of Water.org by making an online pledge that will help bring clean water to up to 8,000 people – for life. 

To help ensure fans’ messages on Facebook are seen by their friends, Levi’s will use a mix of Facebook advertising and Sponsored Stories that will appear in 24 countries. Sponsored Stories is the latest Facebook marketing tool that allows brands to amplify a fan’s message, ensuring that friends see the message by calling it out on the right side of the page.

“We are thrilled that Levi’s® has chosen to harness the power that brands can have on Facebook by using our platform to premiere their first-ever global advertising campaign. Not only are they sharing this content on a global scale with people on Facebook first, but they are creating a place where fans can share stories with an ultimate goal of effecting positive change in the world,” said Carolyn Everson, vice president of global marketing solutions at Facebook.

At launch, the Levi’s®brand will enable people the world over to support pioneers by introducing the work of Water.org.  Water.org, which was co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White, has worked with local partner organizations for more than 20 years to deliver community-led, sustainable water and sanitation services to people living in poverty who are struggling to survive the global water crisis. Through Facebook, people can pledge their support for the cause and share their intentions with friends around the world.  Levi’s goal is to reach 100,000 pledges on Facebook – and reaching this goal will help bring clean water to up to 8,000 people – for life. 

Shining a global spotlight on the work of Water.org is a continuation of the long-standing commitment of the Levi’s brand to raise awareness for global water issues and reduce wasteful water usage.  As part of this commitment, in several global markets the Levi’s brand recently introduced Water<Less jeans, an innovative collection of denim made by using less water during the finishing process.  

Read more on Levi’s “Go Forth” marketing, which has inspired case studies and academic papers, to date below:

Levi’s brings global brand to US, US campaign to world

Levi’s Workshop NYC opens

Levi’s Go Forth channels Days of Heaven

Levi’s: Get Back to Work

Levi’s goes forth and beyond

Levi’s to go forth again

New Levi’s ads attempt to revive flagging brand