Don’t Say A Word

How Levi’s uses a simple approach to make a powerful connection.

There is so much talk about diversity and inclusion in marketing that it can become numbing. How can we be inclusive with our marketing? How can we do it authentically? How do we tell the right brand stories? The answer? It isn’t easy. But I heard this quote during a diversity panel discussion while attending a recent marketing summit. One of the panelists said: “Diversity is getting invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” I thought that was brilliant. It made it crystal clear that we need go much deeper to create really great content that connects brands authentically with their audiences.

Rewind to a few months prior when I saw (heard) a Levi’s television commercial. It was so incredibly captivating that it stopped me in my tracks. I heard this catchy, somewhat tribal music coming from my television. (Side note: The song is called Makeba by French pop artist, Jain.) I turned around to see these amazing images of people of all colors, cultures, shapes, sizes and ages celebrating life. NO WORDS. Just music and people dancing in Levi’s. Baggy Levi’s. Tight Levi’s. Levi’s short shorts. Levi’s t-shirts and jackets. It was so deep in emotion and so rich in culture. Text on the screen read: men, women, young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight. Let’s live how we dance. The spot ended with Live in Levi’s. I nearly fell over. This piece is absolutely beautiful and it’s received more than 22 million well-deserved YouTube views. Take a look…

This description accompanies the video on YouTube: “Circles” celebrates our individuality and connectedness through music, dance, and Levi’s®.  When we come together, we dance in circles. We move as one, and celebrate the individual who takes the center. Unity and individuality come alive.

It’s woks because it is authentic – Levi’s shared in a blog post that its “core beliefs are rooted in empathy and courage.” The “circles” spot is proof of that claim. Levi’s also announced that it has donated $1 million dollars in grants to “organizations that protect the civil liberties of highly vulnerable communities across the United States and abroad” as part of the effort.

Levi’s broke out of the mold of typical product advertising and let people be the superstar of the ad, not its product. This campaign truly embodies the idea of “being asked to dance.” I wish more brands were bold enough to say less and convey more.

BONUS – Here is another great spot in the Levi’s “live” campaign. While it isn’t attempting to connect on an inclusive level, it is a great example of connecting with millennials. 8.4 million views. Not too shabby.

“Sea of Blue,” shines a playful light on our phone obsession, and what can happen when we look up and live in the moment.