Levi’s celebrates the 150th anniversary of its most iconic pair of jeans, the 501, with a cinematic campaign, “The Greatest Story Ever Worn!”
Levi’s are known for their campaigns that are truly iconic – campaigns that have stayed in the minds of generations of Levi’s jeans’ aficionados. To create yet another memorable campaign for the 150th anniversary of its 501 jeans, Levi’s partnered with the agency, Droga5.
Some of the best campaigns for Levi’s jeans are ones that tell single stories. And Droga5 stayed within the same lines and built not one, but three short spots, each throwing the spotlight on one true story.
So, there is this man from Georgia, who trades his cow for a pair of jeans. And there is another one about a man buried in a pair of 501 jeans at a denim-required funeral. There is also the story of how Jamaica took to the 501 jeans and completely changed global culture.
Each of the stories is true and came from either Levi’s own archives, or newspaper obituaries and online discussion groups like Reddit.
Droga5 then roped in director Melina Matsoukas and cinematographer Bradford Young to work on “Precious Cargo,” the story about 501 in Jamaica. They also got the much-celebrated director-cinematographer pair Martin de Thurah and Kasper Tuxen to work on “Fair Exchange” (the cow and the 501) and “Legends Never Die” (the denim funeral).
The background score was carefully chosen to keep with the moods of the spots. The one where Kingston made the 501 their own in the ‘70s and, in turn, influenced the world, had “54-46 Was My Number” by Toots and the Maytals as its background score. The other one, “Fair Exchange” takes one back to 1982 to Tbilisi, Georgia and uses a song by the Polish band Kryzys as its soundtrack.
The Greatest Story Ever Worn campaign is not just these three shots – there are 13 stories in all. The others are done photographically, capturing specific moments in each story and will be launched through the year. Different stories are told in different tones and lend themselves to different mediums. And apparently, one campaign was was translated into 19 different languages and will run in 36 markets.