Nearly 10 months after The Gap unleashed a hip and youthful ad campaign for its khakis, Levi Strauss & Co.'s Dockers unit is finally ready to fight back with a sexy campaign of its own, breaking nationally this week from Foote, Cone & Belding.
The work in no way resembles the last and rather tame effort for the client from FCB (one spot featured a man in khakis catching a mouse that had frightened his girlfriend). The short-lived, $20-30 million 1998 effort was yanked by Dockers last summer in favor of a spot from Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London, starring a group of well-toned, handsome men whose surfboards doubled as ironing boards [Adweek, July 20].
Two 30-second TV spots from the San Francisco agency show scenarios in which young, good-looking men in khakis receive attention from the beautiful women around them.
One spot, shot in black and white, takes place at a carnival, where a young man offers to sit over a dunk tank so his girlfriend can throw balls at the target. Shirtless and shoeless, but still in his khakis, the man is dropped into the tank when his girlfriend scores a bullseye. Women outside line up to stare at the man, now clad in clinging wet khakis, and wait to take their own shots. His girlfriend hands over a ball to each.
A female voiceover says, "The durable, authentic khakis. It gets better with every wash." The spot ends with text: "Dockers. Khakis."
The second ad, shot in color, features a young man in a nightclub "asked" to dance by several beautiful women who pull at the waistline of his khakis.
Both spots were developed by creative director Chris Shipman, who resigned from FCB, San Francisco, earlier this month [Adweek, March 1].
Dockers and FCB declined to comment. The work is being supported by at least $20-30 million, sources said.
Separately, FCB last week laid off 35 employees. Sources said the cuts had been in the cards since the shop lost Levi's $90 million jeans business a year ago. --with Joan Voight