The Greatest Levi’s Ads Of All Time

Last week was the greatest Nike Ads.

This week: Levi’s

In order, from one to however many I find on YouTube:

1. Drugstore. Someone will complain about me wanging on about this again, but it is the best Levi’s ad bar none. This is a sad admission to make, but when I first saw it in Screen One of the Odeon Brighton I felt like applauding. Thank you John Gorse and Michel Gondry.

2. Odyssey. Not quite perfect, but only because the ending doesn’t quite match the brilliance of the initial running through walls. Best opening shot ever. Brilliant music. I used to rush in from the kitchen to watch this on TV whenever I heard those first strains of Handel’s Sarabande.

3. Creek. Another sad admission: I bought this song and helped it get to number one. Owes a great debt to Ansel Adams, but you could just watch it again and again.

4. Launderette. Made the whole country wear boxer shorts. I bet some of you weren’t alive when it came out. Maybe you were conceived to its insouciant sexiness.

5. Flat Eric. After a few years where Levi’s advertising, shall we say, lost its way (remember the dead hamster?) it became as cool as fuck all over again:

6. Swimmer. Robbed of the Cinema pencil in 1992:

7. Washroom. During the nineties, cynical ad folk used to say that Levi’s ads were just cooly-shot Benny Hill sketches (see Creek). Here’s the coolest:

8. Twisted. I’ve never been hugely keen on this, but it got a Gold Pencil, so here it is.

9. There were some classics that just seemed to make you believe there was a never-ending stream of these things being pumped out of BBH at will: the pool game for the jeans with ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go?’; the one where the bloke drives his motorbike into the office to the sounds of ‘The Joker’; the one where the bloke comes downstairs to get his jeans out of the fridge; The one with black 501s, Eddie Kidd and ‘Stand By Me’, and The Procession. If you recall, it was a time when we all waited for the new one and it very rarely let us down. So here’s one from that era to represent all the others:

10. The one the went in the other direction: Mr. Boombastic.

And then there was Spaceman, Riveted, Mermaids, Tremor, Pick-Up,
Tackle, Bath, Cochran, Undressing and Kung Fu.

Got a fave I’ve left off the list?