Levi's gets 50 young women to tell their stories in new campaign

By David Kiefaber on Tue Dec 7 2010


Levi's opened up jeans to women 75 years ago, but now the brand is truly celebrating the ladies. The ubiquitous clothing brand has given journals to 50 inspiring young women for them to document how they're making the world a better place. These journals will play a vital role in Levi's sponsorship of the first-ever TEDWomen conference, which will also feature a documentary film, titled Shape What's to Come, about eight of the most photogenic journal contributors' stories. This is an impressive display of sucking up to a powerful consumer demographic, and an equally brazen, if indirect, display of the "buying stuff as activism" ethic a lot of companies are using. Levi's global vp of women's marketing gushes over how the featured ladies are "changing the world with nothing but raw talent, game-changing ideas and the will to make a difference," while Gen Y consultant Lindsay Pollack says "the media perception of this generation is that they're entitled or coddled or lazy. They're not. We are just intimidated that they don't have any timelines and they are achieving these extraordinary things." Even if that's fake sentiment based on marketing data, it's still nice to hear after so much ink and paper has gone to attacking this generation for coming of age in a horrible job market and tender economy. Hopefully Levi's motives are at least somewhat genuine here, because it looks like some actual good might come of this whole thing.

Imitating imitators, American Apparel presents line-drawing ads

By David Kiefaber on Mon Dec 6 2010


How can American Apparel cut costs and still provide entries for its pervert owner's whack stack? One way is to replace live models with line drawings for new ads that look just like pornographic fake AA ads posted around NYC three years ago. Those were better, in some respects, because at least they were daring—the new AA print series could be doing a lot more with this hand-drawn approach. For one thing, the over-sexualized images are boring, and also get in the way of what really sets AA apart as a company—for all his personal faults, Dov Charney's pro-fair wage and anti-outsourcing business practices are extremely rare in the corporate sector, and right now they're too easy for his rapacious CEO counterparts to discredit. If AA is going to survive, both the company and the guy running it need to stop tripping over their own dicks and re-examine how they want people to see them.

Jeans ads offend delicate sensibilities with their 'crude' language

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Oct 14 2010


There's no way to put this euphemistically: Those jeans make your ass look ginormous. There, I said it. And while it's OK for me—my friend's crying in the corner now, but never mind that—it's totally crass for marketers to use real-world terms to describe people's butts and the denim covering them. At least, that's what The Wall Street Journal suggests in a starchy story that goes so far as to try to get a spark out of the Parent's Television Council. (The PTC, uncharacteristically, didn't really take the bait.) Gap, Levi's and Lee Jeans are all using terms like booty, ass and butt in their current ads, and the Journal considers it crude. Tsk, tsk. What's the alternative—in the 21st century, that is? Backside? Behind? Rear end? Rump? Ridiculous! Someone needs to remove the stick from its derriere.

Hamsters in Kia Soul commercials inspire 'Hamstar' clothing line

By Elena Malykhina on Thu Sep 2 2010


You've seen them on TV, and now you can roll in style like the hamsters in the Kia Soul ads. The carmaker and D&G (that's David&Goliath, Kia's ad agency, not Dolce & Gabbana) have rolled out a line of streetwear clothing inspired by the furry rappers. Called Hamstar (yes, ham + star), the line includes T-shirts, hats and hoodies. The clothing doesn't feature the actual Kia characters; instead, it sports a simple design and the word "Hamstar," just like a hoodie worn by one of the hamsters in the car ad. At the moment, the selection, offered online at HamstarClothing.com, is a bit limited. I'm sure it won't be long, though, before all the cool kids are wearing it. Well, I don't know that. But it is a clever way for Kia to cash in on its highly successful ads.

American Apparel collapse told through 10 of its advertisements

By David Kiefaber on Thu Aug 26 2010


Flavorwire's exploration of American Apparel's decline, as shown through the clothing company's slapdash advertising, is like watching a clown die: sad, sobering, but still funny. That its owner is a sexist mongrel is well-known, but Dov Charney's transgressions have been far from the only problem at a company that never settled on what image it wanted. Its models were either blankly parading their scanties with gonzo-porn production values (the "Pyramide Humaine" ad is especially gross) or trying to look casual in boyishly ugly, unflattering designs. Sometimes there weren't any AA products in the ads at all. Now, a certain amount of cheeky camp has always been part of AA's brand, often literally. Which is fine, but they had trouble deciding how seriously to take themselves, and now the company is in danger of being removed from the NYSE. Part of that is bad leadership coupled with blowback from Charney's unseemly behavior, but the brand wasn't strong enough to counter hardship. Coupled with scandals and the sort of stuff Gawker has uncovered, it's embarrassing to be associated with AA. And in case anyone from the company is reading this, assuming the office computers haven't been repossessed, pleated pants in 2010 aren't helping.

Playtex brings 10 ordinary women to New York for bra makeover

By Elena Malykhina on Thu Aug 19 2010

Playtex has touched on a sensitive subject for women in a series of new webisodes dubbed the "Playtex Bra Makeover." The clips—two of which have gone live so far—feature 10 women who all won a trip to New York City to meet with style expert Alison Deyette. Each woman faces some kind of bra problem. Towanda, for example, a single mom from Virginia, has "droopy boobies." (Hey, she said so herself!) The goal of the videos? To show that the majority of us (women) are wearing the wrong size bra or the wrong type of bra (lacking support, uncomfortable straps, you name it). Ultimately, Deyette helps the women find the right fit, and the videos conclude with the women thanking Playtex for a successful bra makeover. The effort is reminiscent of Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty," which featured actual women in ads, not models. Seems Playtex is targeting all shapes, sizes and ages. Take that, Victoria's Secret!

Dickie's makes jeans advertising even more dark and depressing

By Todd Wasserman on Wed Aug 18 2010

Selling jeans these days is a pretty grim business. Not because no one buys them, but because people apparently buy them to walk around depressed and angry. After Levis' "Go forth" campaign set the scene with black-and-white ads that looked like they were shot by Jim Jarmusch, Dickie's and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners have introduced their own feel-bad ads in black and white featuring tough guys scowling at the camera and falling down a lot. "Our faces will be stained," sneers a voiceover. "Our blood will be spilt." Jeez. That's a lot of baggage for a pair of pants. Whatever happened to "These jeans won't make your ass look too big"?

Take your Betty White obsession to a whole new, wearable level

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Jul 23 2010


Betty White's adorable, beaming face really is everywhere, including stamped on your chest. Not only did she kill during her first Saturday Night Live hosting gig (she has an Emmy nomination to prove it) and get her new TV Land sitcom, Hot in Cleveland, picked up for a second season, White is also starring in a line of licensed wearables. As a nod to the legion of young fans who woke up to her via The Proposal and the Super Bowl ad for Snickers, the T-shirts and hoodies are digitally equipped with washable earbuds and a jack for plugging in your iPod or MP3 player. The deal between White and L.A.-based manufacturer Jerry Leigh Apparel will put product into stores next month, according to WWD. (Preview: There's some Shepard Fairey-esque/Obey graphics and some '80s inspired looks—all fabulous). Proceeds will go to the Morris Animal Foundation, an animal-health group that White has supported for years.

JCPenney helps teens put together post-shopping 'haul' videos

By Elaine Wong on Wed Jul 14 2010

The latest concept to hit back-to-school retail marketing involves "hauls," which are homemade videos created by teens showing off the results of a shopping spree. As USA Today reports, some of the retailers jumping onto the action include stores like Forever 21, American Eagle and department store JCPenney. Penney, which today also announced an augmented reality back-to-school tie-in with teen magazine Seventeen, recruited six social-media-savvy teens to show off their fabulous fashion finds. In this video, teenage hauler Annie St. John dishes on her "clearance section finds." A "super, super comfy" Arizona baseball T-shirt is $3.57, while a Decree vintage high-waist skirt is just $10.20. (Annie also serves up some tips for layering and piecing together the latter.) To avoid the FTC's ire, haulers like Annie also disclose any monetary or gift compensations they received from advertisers. (Penney's haulers, in this case, get free gift cards and housing near a JCPenney store.) Hey, better to be safe than to be sorry! Now we're off to videotape our own haul find.

Le Tigre ads continue to poke fun at golf's famous philanderer

Posted on Mon Apr 5 2010


As far as puns go, the Le Tigre billboards along the West Side Highway in New York have been fairly tame but still pointed squarely in the direction of philandering pro golfer Tiger Woods. They're more along the lines of "Heh, that's sort of funny" than "Oh, snap!" Still, you have to hand it to the marketer for its timeliness. The first campaign showed up in December with the tagline: "Golf needs a Tiger. Let's get back on course." It promised 20 percent of net profits from polo-shirt sales would go to TheFirstTee.org, a youth program that uses golf to build character. The latest ad, launching as Woods preps his return to the game at the Masters this week (sans Elin!) calls the brand "Golf's original Tiger. For those who play a round." Get it? The marketer's upping the ante this time, with 100 percent of polo-shirt proceeds going to help youngsters "get on course" and "stay on course." Probably a lot cheaper than rehab.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley



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