Levi’s Puts ‘Soft Jeans’ Ads On Hold

A proposed “Soft Jeans” campaign by TBWA/Chiat/Day for Levi Strauss & Co., which was supposed to break this fall, has been postponed until next year at the earliest. The shift in ad strategy by the San Francisco-based apparel maker comes as Levi’s prepares to reorganize its brand teams and cuts back on ad spending for the remainder of 1998.
The “Soft Jeans” work, which TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco, has been developing for months, was initially supposed to succeed the “Hard Jeans” campaign, which is now drawing to a close.
Brad Williams, manager of product publicity for Levi’s jeans, declined to comment on the status of the “Soft Jeans” campaign. But sources said Levi is delaying those ads and may instead run new “youth-oriented” spots from the agency in their place.
Williams confirmed “Hard Jeans” ads–which used lines such as “Stiff with a vengeance”–were ending as part of Levi’s strategy to use multiple campaigns to “surprise” consumers.
“We’ve moved away from running a campaign into the ground,” he said, “and need to reinforce our relevance with young people. We’re happy with ‘Hard Jeans,’ but never intended for it to turn the Levi’s brand around.”
Separately, Williams confirmed a new round of executive changes would come this week affecting brand management teams across all Levi’s divisions. He declined to give specifics.
Levi’s has reduced ad support amid heavy competition. It spent $60 million on jeans ads out of a total $100 million in 1997, per Competitive Media Reporting, but only $9 million on jeans, of a total $25 million outlay through June 1998.