Famous Furball Fuels Speculation About Rescuing Ailing Levi’s
NEW YORK–Flat Eric, the Levi’s Sta-Prest mascot that took Europe by storm last year in TV spots and a music video, appeared at the
International Toy Fair here this month, raising speculation that the fur doll will be used to bolster the sagging fortunes of Levi’s stateside marketing plan.
San Francisco agencies TBWA/Chiat/Day and FCB are the client’s U.S. roster shops. TBWA/C/D had created the popular Pets.com sock puppet, which some observers have suggested was inspired by Flat Eric.
New York toymaker Fun-4-All displayed a Flat Eric doll to potential toy buyers and played a 30-second Flat Eric Sta-Prest spot from Bartle Bogle Hegarty in London. “It’s going to be the next Taco Bell Chihuahua,” said Fun-4-All director of sales Jeff Goldman, who added he is sure Levi’s will introduce spots here. “We just don’t know when. We’re just waiting for them to release the promotion.”
Steven Greenfield, the Fun-4-All CEO, was not as certain. “They have been very hush-hush,” he said of Levi’s. “We don’t have a clue. I wish I knew, ’cause it would help me
make a decision [about when to distribute the doll].”
Levi’s has gone through a series of short-lived campaigns and is searching for a hit. Rights to Flat Eric are held by Partizan Entertainment, London, which represents director Quentin Dupieux, who invented the character in a short film. Two BBH spots have already appeared on MTV in the U.S.
Sandy Westlake, media relations director for Levi’s in San Francisco, said there were no immediate plans to launch a U.S. Flat Eric campaign, but she added, “There is always that possibility.” –with Justin Norton
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