You might say the best campaign of 1992 colored the way we think about fashion advertising. Usually it’s the model that gives the clothes the attitude, but as San Francisco shop Foote, Cone & Belding paints it, the ethos for Levi Strauss Co.’s Dockers casual wear is in the clothes themselves. Each spot in the series of TV commercials focuses on a color, then paints a personality to go with it. ‘Grey. It’s what black would look like if it could lighten up a little,’ says a voiceover that peeks in and out of a whimsical flute solo. The music enhances the mood: percussion for black, ‘the color of shadows and night, of modern art and foreign films’; a grave oboe for brown, ‘a color with both feet on the ground’; and a playful flamenco guitar for tan, ‘a color with a thousand faces.’ Dockers, which accounts for almost a third of Levi Strauss’ more than $3 billion in sales, was a brand built for the thirtysomething generation that made comfort a fashion statement. The new campaign sought to broaden that appeal. We think it’s advertising woven from quite a different cloth.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)