Analysis of Levi's 501s Advertisement.
Analysis of Levi’s 501s Advertisement
Levi’s 501s were aimed at around 16-25 year old men who were believed to represent the core of the jeans market. The teenagers in turn were also influenced by the stereotypical image of teenagers from the 1950s who represented freedom, independence and rebellion against the older generations.
The 501s were presented as the Original Classic Blue Jeans that represented everything that was stereotypically American. The 501s were also portrayed as the original hardwearing work clothes, but by the 1980s they had become a fashion item. Malice
Aims in 1984
By 1984 the 501s were failing, Levi’s had to come up with a new campaign to boost numbers of the jeans sold. They decided to advertise the jeans with new television advertisements.
In the advertisements the main aim was to show that the jeans were very much American and were connected to the 1950s and classic songs.
Originally the 501’s were targeted at men, but Levi’s soon realised that if they were to make a significant affect in the market they also had to advertise to the female audience.
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The price of Levi’s 501s were always an issue. They were always expensive and Levi’s never pretended that they weren’t. Sometimes this point was obvious in the advertisements. Some people could not afford them, but the point that they were expensive was what made them special. People felt that because of the price the jeans must be much better than other brands. So to look popular they would get Levi’s as they felt that no other jeans would do.
There was also the fact that Levi’s always had zips.
Due to the advertisements, by 1947 there had been a 24 times increase in sales. Because of this the songs from the first four advertisements reached the top 10 when reissued.
Introduction about the 12 advertisements
The 12 advertisements that we have studied were broadcasted between 1984 and 1991. There were many images that occurred throughout all or most of the adverts. Some of these are listed below…
- Red tag
- Tall, dark, handsome man
- Admiring Women
- Taking off/Putting on of the jeans
The red tag was used in each of the advertisements because there needed to be some sort of representation that the buyers could easily recognise and link to Levi’s jeans. A tall dark handsome man was used for sex appeal and since then the majority of shoppers were women, they were in the position the buy a pair and made sure their husbands or boyfriends tried them. The sunglasses and comb were typically thought to have belonged to ‘macho’ men who were in turn thought to be the most popular and whom most of the women wanted.
The advertisement that I have chosen to evaluate is known as the fridge advert, but I will refer to the others later.
Brief summary of selected advertisement
My selected advertisement is known as the fridge advertisement. The slogan on the advertisement was ‘The Original Jeans’. The band that made the soundtrack for the advertisement was called Muddy Waters and the song’s title is Mannish Boy (thus again referring to the typical macho image). The song in turn is about sex and picking up women.
There are much fewer people in this advertisement than any of the others, but altogether there are 5 people. There are 3 men, 2 are old and the other is considered to be the typical macho ‘hero’. There is a young admiring woman and an old women.
The advertisement starts with a long open road in what looks like a never-ending desert. Next you see the entrance of an old man. This is what men do not want to be. The next scene enters the café and you now see the young women who clearly doesn’t like the old man, but serves him anyway.
The next scene shows the ‘hero’ entrance by approaching the bottom of the stairs. This also is typically considered that teenage boys want to be him and teenage girls want to be with him. You can then see the contrast between the two men and that men and women alike like the young man better than the older man. The young man steps towards the women and she backs away but judging from the look on her face she is attracted to him and expects to be taken into his arms. However he stops next to the fridge, opens it and takes out his Levi jeans. This symbolises that they are special, expensive and/or cool.
The camera cuts to the old couple sitting in the café and you can see the old women is infatuated with the young man as she smiles at him in a sort of excited and admiring way and takes no notice of the confused look her husband is giving her. This suggests to the male audience that if you own these jeans you can attract any women you want. There is also humour in this small clip as it says that you may even attract old women that you don’t want. The hero then puts on his sunglasses or ‘shades’ as they were known as. This again refers to the classic, macho American. The hero leaves the café and mounts his motorbike followed by the admiring young women. He rides off down a long empty road on his Harley Davidson. The open road symbolizes that he is free to do what he wants because of the jeans and if you want to be free like the rebellious 1950s teenagers, then you have to buy these jeans too. This bike was thought to be the ‘classic’ or ‘cool’ bike that everyone should own. Again the male audience would want to be like him because it would make them ‘look cool and attractive.’
The fridge advertisement does have its own style of convincing people; this basic layout stays the same. Most of them show a man or a women putting on the jeans, but all of them have a handsome man included.
As a whole I feel that the advertisements were very effective as they used the fact that people wanted to show off to their friends and that Levi’s was the best way to do it.
By Malavarayan Koshalavarman