I’ve already confessed my newfound love for Levi’s jeans to my friends. And now I’m confessing my crush on their new (well, relatively new) interactive, social media campaign that started in the fall of 2010.
Scene 1: Let’s start with the tag line. “Shape what’s to come. For you. For your community. For your world.”
Why do I love thee? And why do I put thee on my blog? Because these words ignite in us a desire to make something better, to dedicate ourselves to a larger social cause. As one of my favorite feminist poets Audre Lorde said about her power, and the power of what I see as Millennial women redefining their purpose in the context of social good, “When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
Scene 2: How does the campaign develop around this theme, and why do I care?
I’ll admit. Sometimes I drag my feet. There are definitely expectations which I get from society that say I should be getting close to being married; I should be having kids soon; and I should already have dedicated my 30 or so years to a long-term career path that I’ll be doin’ forever. At the same time, I’ve got another track playing in the background of my life. It is promoting my strength as a young woman who carves her own path.
Shape What’s to Come research sheds light on how women around my age are changing the meanings of womanhood which our mothers grew up in and we still internalize to an extent. What the research says is that Millennial women prioritize independence and shaping their own futures as independent women more than they prioritize marriage, being mothers, or having a long-term career plan early on in their careers. But like our mother’s generation, who began to challenge limited ideas of womanhood, Millennial women need mentors to help them be who they are and want to be. Essentially, we need mentors to help us challenge these internal voices that impose limiting expectations on us.
Lindsey Pollak, a lead collaborator on the Levi’s® Shaping a New Future study, says in a press release announcing the launch of the campaign that the traditional paradigm is being replaced with “a web of opportunities that Millennials sample throughout their twenties, representing a different approach from previous generations. These women are challenging long-held beliefs about success as they navigate a complex world.”
And so it’s not necessarily about us looking up to women older than us for mentorship. It’s about us reaching out to each other globally and locally regardless of age and location that helps us realize who we are in a world that provides with a sometimes overwhelming amount of choices.
Scene 3: The video…
The following video is so good that when I first saw it, I thought it was simply a creative collaboration of Millennial women. It tapped into ideas of who I am and what I want so well that I had no idea it was a commercial.
Here is the video that first lead me to this advertising campaign.
The video rides the successful bandwagon of “movement marketing.” It positions the Levi’s brand as the centerpiece (and at the same time “not in the center”) of a demographic’s thoughts, beliefs, and visions. The campaign is like Dove’s Campaign for Beauty, which I was very proud to be a part of when I worked with girls doing programming about self-esteem with Dove’s cause marketing partner, the Girl Scouts.
In other words, movement marketing is a social movement of sorts. And in this case it’s Millennial women reshaping how they envision and contribute to the world.
Scene 4: I am a story. You are story.
“I am a story. You are a story.,” painted on one of the women’s hands, weaves together everyone’s vision of the future and their place in it. They push the envelope and find a creative spark within. In the video you can see how the “higher benefit” of a Levi’s product is like any good advertising copy. It inspires Millennial women to know and contribute to the world.
MENTORING + MOVEMENT MARKETING = ONLINE INTERACTIVE CAMPAIGN
The campaign’s website content, online community, events (like the launch event this past October in London in the above photo), and videos are driven by Millennial women redefining who they and expressing this to each other. Millennial women who are leaders in music, art, fashion, and social change serve as mentors and help guide conversations between Millennial women in the online community. These women range from celebrities like Zooey Deschanel to Millennial leaders like youth advocate Ashley Rhodes-Courter.
The conversations range from the simple, “What is your favorite photography website?” to more complex issues, like conversations about a video on the site about one of Levi’s cause marketing initiatives with WAGES (Women’s Action to Gain Economic Security, a nonprofit that empowers women to own their own green businesses).
Curtain Call: The following video is from the first Women’s TED conference which got quite a bit of buzz in Washington D.C. this past December; TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It’s a nonprofit which is dedicated to spreading ideas that push the envelope of how we envision society and the future.
Since Millennial women are like TED in that they are envisioning new ways which they contribute to the world, Levi’s created a strategic relationship with TED. The video has more than 150,000 hits so far. It helps wrap up this blog post with final scene and curtain call.
This blog post is featured as a guest blog post at See3 Communications, a Chicago online marketing firm that works with social causes. It is also a guest post at Millennial Mafia, a project from Ragan Communications.