Levi’s bows biggest 501 push in jean history

Named 'Live Unbuttoned' to reference the fly design, the theme is to 'experience unbuttoning yourself and breaking free from inhibitions and convention.'

With the aim of reminding a new generation of jeans consumers around the world that the iconic 501 jean is ‘relevant to their lifestyle,’ Levi Strauss is rolling out its first integrated global campaign for its button-fly britches this week.

Titled ‘Live Unbuttoned,’ the campaign is the Levi’s brand’s biggest marketing program. NYC-based AOR Bartle Bogle Hegarty created and led the campaign development, including TV and print. Additional component developed by agency partners include viral videos by Cutwater, digital components by EVB and Ave A/Razorfish and outdoor by Ave A/Razorfish.

While most of ‘Live Unbuttoned’ is just launching, an advance element – posting videos on social networking sites – is already a viral hit. ‘Jeans Jump,’ ‘Hollywood Jungle’ and ‘Moon Walker’ were created with a young-male demo in mind, and additional videos will be launched throughout the summer. In Canada, ‘Jeans Jump’ has held most-popular and most-viewed status for the past week.

A series of TV ads features people unbuttoning their 501s. The spot scheduled to run in Canada is ‘Secrets and Lies,’ which features two characters confessing a series of white lies as they prepare to doff their denim.

In the US, print ads with models conjuring images of movie icons Marlon Brando, James Dean and Paul Newman will run in the August issues of Maxim, Details, Rolling Stone, Paper and Sports Illustrated.

Later this summer, Levi’s will kick off provocative digital content. The first component features up-and-coming pop-culture icons who ‘represent the spirit of living an unbuttoned life.’ Online visitors will be encouraged to virtually unbutton each person’s image for exclusinve content. A second online phase will consist of user-generated content allowing consumers to interact with their friends and the Levi’s brand online.

Outdoor ads in the Live Unbuttoned campaign will appear later this summer in key Canadian and US markets including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Canadian outdoor campaign elements will include wild postings, large format boards, transit shelter ads, button decals and a Toronto streetcar wrap.

On August 18, all Levi’s stores in Canada will launch an exclusive Levi’s 501 in-store activation program (details TBA). In the fall, limited-edition button-fly button covers will be offered in Levi’s stores.

Toronto’s DraftFCB Group, which is the creative and media AOR for Richmond Hill, Ont.-based Levis Strauss Canada, failed to answer MiC‘s queries about its involvement in this campaign by press deadline.