Byline: James Fallon
LONDON — Those edgy archrivals, Lee and Levi Strauss & Co., are going into space and under the sea, respectively, in their new European ad campaigns.
Both jeans giants will begin airing their latest TV, print and cinema campaigns here over the next few days. The campaigns will run through June.
Lee’s ad, which is part of its $34.02 million to $35.64 million (21 million to 22 million pounds) European ad budget — up 12 percent from a year ago — is its most risquA ever, said Derek Woodgate, the company’s European marketing director.
The ad, “SpaceLink,” shows a male and female model struggling to “get together” in the weightlessness of space. Their efforts are futile until the woman buttons her Lee jeans to his. The ad was shot at Pinewood Studios in England and was directed by Adrian Moat of RSA.
The soundtrack from the Lee ad, called “Legends,” is being released as a single by Virgin Records in March and is also as part of the album “Sacred Spirit Volume II: Culture Clash.”
Woodgate said the new ad is aimed at building on the image Lee created with its last campaign, which featured a model portraying a young Gypsy Rose Lee and seductively stripping her jeans off in front of two young men.
“SpaceLink is aimed at building the desirability of the brand,” he said. “We wanted to show the female in control.”
In addition to TV and cinema, Lee has produced a series of print ads called “The Position,” inspired by the Kama Sutra. The first is “Launch Pad,” followed by “Missionary Impossible” and then “The Big Bang.” The print ads will run in European fashion and style magazines.
Vying for its own share of attention, Levi’s is taking its advertising theme from mermaids and the sea.
The ad, which focuses on Levi’s Original Shrink-to-Fit 501 jeans, features model Paul Sculfor as a fisherman caught in a storm. He’s knocked off his boat and drifts unconscious to the sea bed, where mermaids Brighdie Grounds, Laura Lynn Douglas and Genevieve Kate Maylam are attracted to him. He wakes up as they struggle to get his jeans off and swims back to the surface. The ad was created by Levi’s U.K. ad agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, with creative direction from Jim Hegarty.
It was written and the art was directed by Steve Hudson and Victoria Fallon, produced by Berman Chambers Courlander and directed by Michael Gondry. The ad will be shown on terrestrial and satellite television throughout Europe, including MTV Europe, said Amanda Le Roux, marketing director of Levi Strauss (UK) Ltd. Levi’s also will show the ad on its Web site, on in-store kiosks, at rock festivals and as trailers on rental videos.
In Britain, it forms part of the company’s annual ad budget of $12.96 million (8 million pounds), she said, which is the same as a year ago.