Clothing manufacturer Levi Strauss is betting it can kick up some publicity for its new lines of jeans, by letting young consumers vote on the television spot they'd like to see air during the Super Bowl.
Beginning Monday and continuing through Jan. 27, Levi Strauss plans to let Web users decide which ad it will run during Super Bowl XXXVI, which airs Feb. 3 on Fox.
Ads running on Yahoo!, MTV.com, and teen site Alloy.com will aim to drive young consumers to levis.yahoo.com, which offers streaming versions of the three ads in the running. The candidates, designed by TBWA\Chiat\Day San Francisco, include two new spots, "Crazy Legs" and "Up & Down," in addition to "Bull," a commercial launched in October. The winning creative will be aired during the second quarter of the big game.
To entice consumers to vote, they'll also be entered into a drawing to win Levi's products.
It's not the first time that big-name Web advertisers have dabbled in the concept. During Super Bowl XXXIV, longtime Yahoo! client Pepsi Co. encouraged Web surfers to vote online for their favorite Pepsi ad from Super Bowls past. The winning 30-second spot ran during the post-game.
But it will be the first time that an advertiser puts its media plan up for grabs during the actual game, allowing consumers to pick which spot will run in the slot, for which Levi's paid an estimated $1 million.
The effort -- dubbed "SuperVote" by the company -- is designed to boost awareness for the brand's new lines of jeans for spring. "Bull" features an abortive effort to ride a mechanical bull, and focuses on the Levi's Boot Fit jean. "Crazy Legs" highlights the new Flyweight jean, "Up & Down" the company's new Superlow Stretch line. (Should "Up & Down" win the vote, it will be the first time that an advertiser runs a Super Bowl spot targeted specifically at women.)
"Our SuperVote campaign gives us a unique place in advertising history because it makes us the first advertiser to truly empower the public with this very important advertising decision," said Anna Brockway, director of marketing for Levi's. "With Levi's SuperVote, we're letting our consumers in on the most important 30 seconds of advertising. This reflects Levi's history of open dialogue with our consumers that has enabled us to develop products that fulfill their wants and needs."
But the brand also followed the lead of other big-budget advertisers, many of which, since the U.S. began its war on terrorism, have sought to position their marketing efforts as a patriotic duty -- like General Motors' "Keep America Rolling" automotive finance program.
"This is a revolutionary way to truly engage the public in the most American of events," Brockway said of the Levi Strauss effort. "Levi's is an American icon and there isn't anything more American or more democratic than giving people the opportunity to voice their opinion by voting."
Christopher Saunders, Internetnews.com. January 7, 2002
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