Levi’s wanted to make a substantial contribution to the evolving conversation around masculinity – but were conscious that they needed to do it in an authentic way. They also knew that the definition of what it means to be a man is changing.
To launch their Performance Denim collection, Levi’s partnered with TCO London’s premium counter-culture platform Huck to create ‘Here & Now’, an editorial partnership exploring how men are reimagining outdated expectations of status, identity, and performance.
To explore what “performance” means to a man day-to-day, Huck’s editorial team identified the unfiltered voices of men who are making a change in the world and expressing their vulnerability through art, dance, music and photography.
Huck documented three men who represented modern masculinity across different countries – UK, Russia and Germany – through an original film titled ‘Not a Hero’, an editorial series of words and pictures on Huckmag.com, and a far-reaching brand campaign through Levi’s’ owned channels. The partnership was activated in 9 markets across Europe and achieved a completed view average of 28% and delivered 73% more page views than planned.
There’s London-based photographer Owen Harvey, who spent years shooting projects without recognising his core subject – until a fellow photographer pointed out that his images all centered on how men represent themselves. Musician Tofel Santana remembers how arriving in Germany as an 11-year-old from his native Dominica led to a crisis of identity. It was only through music and performance, Tofel explains, that he learned to discover who he really is. Meanwhile, Kirill Grigorev – born and raised in a town northwest of Moscow – has been pushing aesthetic boundaries from the moment he began using his work as a tool for self-discovery.
Levi’s, a brand that’s synonymous with dusty pick-ups and ruggedness, generated a new kind of conversation that was both more authentic and sensitive than other brand attempts to address toxic masculinity.
Huck’s social channels and website became a hub for people wanting to engage more with the stories in the film through editorial longform pieces and photo essays. Huck’s heritage of covering art, activism and action sports provided an authoritative emotional storytelling platform.
In a first for Levi’s, TCO re-purposed the partnership assets to highlight the functional benefits of the Performance range, creating a bespoke suite of display ads for an advertising campaign highlighting the innovative and functional attributes of the “performance” jeans, and linking it back to the stories of our three men. These saw an increase of 40% CTR vs. the classic Levi’s product ads, demonstrating the power of original storytelling and authentic lifestyle imagery vs. product shots.
– 4 premium Huck films, 3 editorial features, 16 social activations
– 32 Million+ Impressions
– 8.6 Million+ Video Views, 146% over target, with 2.1M viewers watching 100% of the films
– 180K+ article reads, 78% over target with a 2-minute average dwell time
– TCO managed seeding through local media partners in France and Germany
Winner: Best Lifestyle, Luxury & Fashion – World Media Awards
Shortlisted: Best Content-led campaign – The Festival of Media M&M global awards
The partnership successfully impacted the business, brand and media metrics it was being measured against. Levi’s said the business generated by this campaign was above expectation. Whilst it was not optimised towards sales, they credited it with a rise in sales revenue for the performance line in the UK, Germany, France and Sweden (key markets for the campaign).
The campaign generated strong brand uplift results with an increase of 6% for men considering Levi’s as a culturally relevant brand.
“What the team at TCO have been able to achieve through ‘Here and Now’ is a great blend of credible and considered insight, excellent creative execution and the expertise to be able to amplify at scale, something that is a lot harder to find than you’d think.” –Rhodri Evans, Brand Engagement Lead, Levi’s