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The Soapbox: Why Can’t Levi’s Get A Clue With Their Advertising?

Levi's Controversy
Levi's bigwigs spoke to The Frisky about their Curve ID jeans problem. Read More »
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Susan Sarandon hates when young women snark on their bodies. Read More »

Two years ago, Levi’s debuted their new Curve ID jeans by blasting our eyeballs with ads about their three different “slight curve,” “demi curve,” and “bold curve” shape versions. The sizes ranged from 2 to 14 and each size offered versions for different shaped curves. Some women were apoplectic about Levi’s over these jeans: first, because the tag line was “All asses were not created equal,” and second, because none of the models were particularly curvy. Some critics said a line like “All asses were not created equal” implied that some asses are, in fact, better than others. Another point of contention was why Curve ID ads didn’t have more women of color in their advertisements, since they purported to be for “curvy” girls and plenty of women of color are rocking curves.

I, personally, wasn’t so harsh on Levi’s regarding the tag line.  I thought they meant well and the negative tag line was open to interpretation. When people mean well, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they sensed a sympathetic ear, because they granted me an exclusive interview to talk about the Curve ID jeans controversy. They explained how they photographed Causasian, African-American and Hispanic women for the ads, and had nine women modeling in three different ads each, but most people only saw one ad which showed models who appeared to be all white. (Levi’s didn’t know the ethnic breakdown of their models when I interviewed them, but it appears that there was only one African-American model in the whole campaign. It’s unclear about the other eight models.) Levi’s seemed surprised at how angry people were.  You can read the full interview here, but basically it boiled down to them being oblivious to the way the average person consumed their advertising. That’s undeniably a failure, because, well, we’re talking about advertising here. Image is everything.  

But this week, a Reddit user posted a Levi’s Curve ID ad from a magazine — it appears to be Marie Claire, because I’m the kind of nerd who recognizes magazine fonts — and, well, they still seem not to get it.

A visit to the Levi’s Curve ID web site revealed the brand has introduced a new shape — “Supreme Curve” — but everything else seems relatively unchanged since a year and a half ago. They’ve since added plus-size Levi’s Curve ID jeans in sizes 16 and up, but of course, those are not the jeans depicted in the glossy magazine or on the home page of the website. As you can see in the print ad, the new tag line is “Hotness comes in all shapes and sizes” and the three models depicted range from “a little bit of butt,” “a medium bit of butt” and “a bit more butt but nothing to write home about.” All three of the models are as tall and skinny as you would see in any other magazine; it is unclear what their ethnic backgrounds are, but suffice it to say the three models taken together all look homogenous. As Amelia put it, “It’s just a stupid ad. It doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, which is depict their product being for all shapes and sizes.

At this point I have to say, really Levi’s? A year and a half ago you had this major kerfluffle and you still don’t get it?  The tagline is better this time around, but they are still failing on the image part. Do they just refuse to cast big-hipped, booty-full models in their advertising or what? 

[Copyranter via Reddit]

[Levi's Curve ID]

Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.

Image via Reddit

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