Inside Levi’s First Campaign from New Creative Agency

Inside Levi’s First Campaign from New Creative Agency

Levi’s ditches tired trends and launches “The Floor Is Yours” campaign, celebrating action and progress. The campaign uses dance as a metaphor for moving forward and asks consumers to join the movement through social media.

When Levi’s launched its “Live in Levi’s” brand platform in 2014, it focused on the moments consumers spend in their jeans and keyed in on themes of self-expression and individualism. In the years since, those themes have become de rigueur for retail and fashion brands, from Gap and Coach to Vans and Keds, allowing Levi’s to chart a different path.

That journey began Monday as Levi’s marks the 10th anniversary of “Live in Levi’s” with a new campaign titled “The Floor Is Yours” that is centered around the idea of the brand as the “unofficial uniform” for progress. The effort is the first work from the new creative and social agency of record, TBWA\Chiat\Day.

“It was important for us that the strategy, this notion of the unofficial uniform of doers and people for progress, was rooted in authenticity, but also distinct and differentiated,” said Erin Riley, U.S. CEO of TBWA\Chiat\Day. “We talked a lot about self-expression and authenticity — things that you encounter in this category — being certain things that Levi’s allows people to do, but maybe not something that’s challenging the convention or is completely distinct.”

With that in mind, the heart of “The Floor Is Yours” is an anthem spot that imagines progress as a movement in pursuit of something better. In the 60-second clip, a group of friends lounges about until one is inspired to dance, compelling to rest to join her as the room moves and morphs under their feet. By the spot’s end, the camera pulls back to reveal that the crew is now on the TV — the uninspired have inspired another group of Levi’s-clad consumers.

“We use dance as a metaphor for movement, and the enemy of movement and taking action is stagnation, disengagement, and being a spectator. We want to celebrate and inspire folks to move and take action because that is the behavior of folks driving progress,” said Kenny Mitchell, Levi’s global chief marketing officer. “Being a spectator is not what Levi’s is about; it’s not what our fans are about.”

Mitchell joined Levi’s in June 2023 after stints as a marketer for Snap, McDonald’s, and Gatorade. Among his first orders of business at what he calls a “dream job” was finding the right creative partner to help write the next chapter of an iconic brand. Levi’s landed on Chiat\Day, which took over from Droga5 in September 2023.

“Levi’s is such an iconic and universal brand,” said Riley, who was promoted to U.S. CEO of the agency in November. “At the same time, it’s a brand that does benefit from what we do, which is storytelling, shaping perception, and the ability to take a brand that has a strong legacy and past, [and] make sure that it is unmistakably in the future and feels modern.”

The floor — and the pen — belong to consumers

To reinforce the campaign’s theme of movement, Levi’s and the Chiat\Day team worked with forward-thinking figures to help put the brand at the center of popular culture. Omar Jones has directed music videos for leading hip-hop figures; Sherrie Silver choreographed the Grammy Award-winning video for Childish Gambino’s “This Is America;” South African stylist Bee Diamondhead is a creative strategist, fashion editor, and brand consultant.

“We wanted to have a very strong vibe in the spot,” Riley said. ”[Vibe] may not be the most precise marketing term, but it’s one that we think is so important for these brands and only comes to life when the brand itself has a clear design and lifestyle point of view.”

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Music is key to the campaign and video, which is set to a forthcoming track, “Drip Sweat,” by trendsetting dance music figures Kaytranada and Channel Tres. For the campaign’s next step, Levi’s will open a global casting call, asking consumers to use Silver’s choreography and submit their auditions via Instagram or an online portal. Select participants will be brought together to film a long-form video for “Drip Sweat,” which will be released in late spring or early summer.

“Being a spectator is not what Levi’s is about, it’s not what our fans are about.” Kenny Mitchell, Global CMO, Levi’s

“Passing the pen,” as Mitchell describes it, was essential for the campaign and allowed Chiat\Day to flex the muscles of everything it does well, from brand strategy and storytelling to production and communications planning, Riley said.

“The way the campaign is architected, when you do something that’s all about doing and movement, you can’t rely on only broadcast,” the agency exec said. “It had to be participatory, it had to be interactive, we had to do things the brand hadn’t done before.”

To help amplify the campaign, Levi’s will utilize creators and influencers who share the same mindset around driving progress and movement. While dance has been a consistent thread in its marketing, including a well-received 2017 spot titled “Circles,” the way that Levi’s is utilizing social media and creators would not have been possible previously.

“We’re staying very true to the brand but putting on a modern twist and [adding] connective tissue that could not have happened ten years ago,” Mitchell said. “It still feels very grounded in what the brand is and what our fans do and believe, using what has existed for the brand but also moving things forward for 2024.”