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BBH Explores True Devotion for Levi's

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NEW YORK Two spots by Bartle Bogle Hegarty breaking on Monday for Levi's stress the personal bond people have with their jeans.

One ad by the New York shop, "Walk," shows a man pretending he wants to get back with his girlfriend, just so he can get into her apartment and retrieve his Levi's 501 jeans. The jeans, however, are hanging on a tree outside the window of her apartment, one of many of his belongings she has thrown out the window. Music is Willie Nelson's cover of the Elvis song, "Always on My Mind."

"Urban Legend" depicts a man buying a pair of Levi's Loose Straight 569 jeans he sees on a mannequin in a store window. The mannequin then follows the man, seemingly because he misses the jeans, as Screaming Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" plays in the background. The tagline: "Style for ever story."

"We wanted to do a campaign that talks about the breadth of the line," said group creative director Thomas Hayo. "The campaign is really based on the fact that we wanted to do multiple spots, different stories for different products."

The connection that people have with their jeans is a "key focus" in the campaign, according to Hayo. "People who wear their favorite pair of Levi's develop a special bond; it's a relationship not necessarily dependent on one style or cut." Previous ads were more fantastical, featuring scenarios such as a woman on a horse jumping over an entire train and a man wrestling with a car as though he were on a bull at a rodeo.

The TV spots were directed by Dante Ariola of MJZ, who was chosen to ensure the ads were "the right mixture of being humorous but not silly," Hayo said. They were shot over five days in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in February. Gianfranco Arena and Peter Kain served as art director and copywriter, respectively, on "Walk." Art director John Hobbs and copywriter Peter Rosch worked on "Urban Legend."

Another TV spot is in production and several more are planned for next year. A print component photographed by Richard Avedon, featuring real people in their favorite Levi's, broke in May.

Campaign spending is undisclosed. Levi's spent about $40 million on measured media for its jeans brands in 2003, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.