HAVE YOU SEEN THIS TV COMMERCIAL YET BY WEIDEN + KENNEDY? I was stunned the first time I saw it. I was talking to my wife when it came on and I stopped the conversation immediately with the words “wait—wait… what’s this?” I was at once and immediately fixated on the raw b & w imagery, the words. It’s dark, and shaky and a bit apocalyptic, which is why I was so curious as to what the advertisment was selling. I figured it out half way through—I said “jeans!” but I didn’t know which brand until the logo appeared at the end. Levi’s.

The ad was directed by Cary Fukunaga for Weiden + Kennedy, Portland using poem by Walt Whitman written in 1888. In fact, the voice of the poem is the
earliest known recording of Walt Whitman. How strange is that! At the beginning of the commercial we see the words “AMERICA” (as a large sign) laying down in dark water. Is this a signal re: the end of America— or a new beginning? Fireworks appear throughout as rockets in war. (I told you this was apocalyptic!) Near the end of the poem is a brief kiss by a young black man with a young white woman—not something you see often on TV commercials. The spot, with scratchy Walt Whitman recording and music by Final Fantasy (“The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead - Many Ives Version”) and ends with what sounds like a gunshot in a riot—but alas it turns out to be a firecracker.

This is a really creative, artistic piece by W+K—bound for a truckload of creative awards. I love it. Will the spot(s) generate enough traction within their audience to sell more jeans? That’s the $64 dollar question. What do you think?