LEVI'S TV ADS STEAM THE BRITS

Byline: James Fallon

LONDON--Levi Strauss & Co.'s new European ad campaign has upset some advertising watchdogs with its sexual innuendoes.
Britain's Broadcasting Advertising Clearance Centre has even banned from broadcast TV one of the company's two new ads. The commercial shows a boy buying a condom in a drugstore and slipping it into the watch pocket of his jeans. The B.A.C.C. complained that the ad might offend viewers.
The ad--with the tag line, "Watch pocket created in 1873. Abused ever since."--is being shown in continental Europe, however.
Levi's other commercial, called "Taxi," also has created a stir and has been limited to airing on British TV after 9 p.m. The ad shows a New York cab picking up a passenger, who appears to be an attractive black woman. The cabbie ogles the passenger, who suddenly takes out an electric razor and begins shaving his chin. The taxi abruptly stops to disgorge the transvestite. The ad uses the tag line, "Cut for men since 1850. Levi's 501. The Original Jean."
In addition to being shown on MTV Europe, the new ads are on regular TV channels and in movie theaters in 22 countries, including all Western European countries, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Israel, and soon will be aired in Australia, said Martin Rippon, Levi's European advertising manager. There are no plans to show the ads in the U.S.
The campaign of 40- and 60-second ads, which were created by the London-based agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty, runs until the end of April.

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