The first time Geoff Thompson of Foote Cone & Belding/S.F. met Ann Dudley of Britain’s ‘Art of Noise,’ he kissed her passionately on the lips. ‘I w" data-categories = "" data-popup = "" data-ads = "Yes" data-company = "[]" data-outstream = "yes" >

CREATIVE INFLUENCES: Women’s Levi’s



The first time Geoff Thompson of Foote Cone & Belding/S.F. met Ann Dudley of Britain’s ‘Art of Noise,’ he kissed her passionately on the lips. ‘I w

Thompson, a creative director on the Levi’s women’s campaign, was also swept away by the idea of using animation to convey emotional truths about women’s lives – and flog a few pairs of jeans, as well. ‘I’ve been in this business 30 years and this is the best campaign I’ve ever done,’ he says.
The series of five 30-second spots originated from Levi’s 1992 outdoor and print campaign, which used brush strokes reminiscent of Henri Matisse. Thompson chose a similarly simple animation style – in keeping with the low-key, budget oriented ’90s – rather than hyperkinetic look of the ’80s. ‘There are two ways to use animation – bigger than life or simpler than life,’ he says, adding that now was the perfect time to revive the medium. ‘There was a lull in its use, technically it was not in favor.’
So Thompson took note of a few famous predecessors, including R.O. Blechman’s ‘Man Talking to His Stomach’ for Alka-Seltzer and Perrier’s animated cavemen from Waring & La Rosa. He and his team, art director George Chadwick, copywriter Mimi Cook and producer Iliani Matisse (no relation), set about creating a different personality for each of the five spots. ‘We were trying to visually describe a brand of jeans that covers a lot of territory. Women think about different things from men, they’re more into nuances.’
The team’s biggest challenge, says Thompson, was hanging on to the campaign’s simplicity. ‘Most animators wanted to do too much,’ says Thompson. ‘We wanted to let a few lines represent a lot.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)