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Prompting Action Through Denim with James Drew

It might seem grandiose to refer to an item of clothing as revealing something deep about the person wearing it and yet, something as ubiquitous as a pair of Levi’s jeans does this. A worn pair of Levi’s communicates both an ease with one’s self as much as a loyalty to the jeans and the company who creates them. You can dress them up with the right pair of shoes and jacket or just be yourself, pairing them with a worn tee. Above all of these, Levi’s communicates the wearer’s willingness to be confident in who they know themselves to be. The company was counting on these ideals resonating in their “Use Your Vote” commercial; a light-touch call to be active in one’s civil duties and responsibility. James Drew worked closely with Charlotte McConnell (creative agency producer) and director Benito Montorio to craft this message with the postproduction team at Electric Theatre Collective. The goal; remind Levi’s wearers and fans that they are active rabble-rousers and voting is a revolutionary action. Levi’s wearers definitely paid attention.

The Levi’s brand and name needs no international interpreter. It’s recognized the world over and is as American as Coca Cola. With total assets nearing three billion dollars and an annual revenue of almost five billion dollars, the influence of the company is substantial over the public. There’s obviously a lot of pressure to represent the brand and its message in a production such as this. The footage captured by Montorio and his team depicts locations across the globe, displaying the natural beauty of different places and people. Miniature stories are connected by the overall message of voting. The soundtrack of Aretha Franklin’s “Think” implies feelings of the 60s activism and responsibility. From hoodie to hijab to hiphuggers, different people of varied cultures are seen exercising their right to be part of the future. Overseeing his team at the Electric Theatre Collective, postproduction EP James Drew ensured that the color grade and clean up VFX work which he had helped design and budget amplified the emotions which Montorio’s team delivered. While the message of voting is uniform, it’s obvious that the color grade doesn’t force itself to adopt this approach and instead takes advantage of the beauty of the different locations.

The genius of this Levi’s ad is that it doesn’t specify the “correct” outcome but rather compels the viewer to be a part of society’s move towards a solution that is appropriate for their best future. Instead of forcing the answer, it prompts us all to do something towards the future that each individual wants. Regarding his feelings about the commercial, Drew replies, “I consider myself lucky to have worked on this project but then again, I only chase the projects that I admire. The most powerful ads are never didactic but instead let the consumer make their own mind up. Some adverts can be very blunt and direct with their sales strategy; it’s a matter of tone and taste. Levis has a long history of producing great adverts so I would naturally gravitate to people working on projects for this brand. Working with Benito was memorable to say the least. He’s always in the zone and always one-hundred percent engaged. The excellence of the commercial speaks for itself.”

Written by Kelly King
Prompting Action Through Denim with James Drew Reviewed by JaamZIN on 6:51:00 AM Rating: 5
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