Levis Change Gender

Levi’s Jeans are promoted for their sex appeal in ‘Change’, a TV ad in which a man brings an attractive partner into his life. The gender of the partner varies, depending on whether the ad’s being shown on mainstream channels or gay channel Logo. A man begins to pull on his brand new pair of jeans. As he pulls them half-way up, a phone booth from the street below shoots up into his apartment, with what appears to be his partner of choice. One more tug at the jeans and the entire city is now in his living room. He finishes buttoning his fly, walking away with his partner into the night.

Levi's actor brings a phone booth into his room


The Levis Change advertising campaign was developed at BBH, New York, by executive creative director Kevin Roddy, creatives Maja Fernqvist and Joakim Saul, group account director Jenifer Wellig, account director Mary Ferris, business director Julia Torres and agency producer Katherine Cheng.

Filming was shot by director Filip Engstrom via Smuggler, with heads of production Laura Thoel and Allison Kunzman, executive producers Patrick Milling Smith and Brian Carmody, and producer Paul Ure.

Post production and special effects were done at AsylumFX by VFX Supervisor Tim Davies, CG Supervisor Jason Schugardt, CG Animator Yuichiro Yamashito, CG Artist Matthew Maude, CG Artist Sean Faden, CG Modeler Greg Stuhl, Matte Painter Tim Clark, Executive Producer Michael Pardee, VFX Producer Mark Allen Kurtz, VFX Associate Producer Ryan Meredith, CG Producer Jeff Werner.

Levi's actor on the street

VFX Supervisor Tim Davies explains some of the post production background…

“The apartment was built as a set that was raised above the ground to allow room for elements such as the phone booth, parking meters, bollards and the taxi to burst through the floor from below. Green screen was positioned outside each window, allowing us to add the city skyline and animate the rising up of the buildings at the compositing stage, as well as tracking in skylines and adding reflections back into the windows of various scenes. The phone booth scene required us to create an outside environment of the city rising up in sync with our guy lifting his jeans. This was created using a series of matte paintings separated in 3d space, a camera move was added in flame giving us the life-like parallax needed to sell it as a live action plate. Dirt, debris and dust passes were sourced as elements and added falling from the rooftops and exploding from the streets to simulate the buildings bursting through the ground in the city. For safety reasons, we shot the phone booth bursting through the floor empty. This allowed us to bring it through with some force, creating an explosive effect with floor tiles and dust flying everywhere. We then placed the girl in the booth and lifted her slowly through the now existing hole in the floor, she was then isolated, re-timed and composited into the initial burst through plate. Additional repairs were needed for this scene, as lights in the phone booth went out as it burst through the floor.”

Levi's actor with taxi

The taxi cab scene was broken down into 3 sections. The foreground elements including the taxi, furniture, staircase and flooring were filmed in-camera as practical effects. Meticulous rotoscoping was performed to lift these elements from their background and with the help of well planned dust passes, the team were able to successfully composite these elements into our scene. The walls, ceiling, lamp post and telegraph pole were created entirely in CG. The crumbling walls and ceiling were animated and then enhanced with several passes of CG cement dust, chunks of concrete and crumbling particles. As no street scene was shot for this, Asylum FX had to utilize what they could from the following mid shot of the hero emerging from the dust. This shot was reduced in size and extended as a matte painting. The hero was painted out, allowing Asylum to retain him from his interior plate. The team then added the traffic, pedestrians, background lights and again, more dust passes to bring this matte painting to life. Once all the effects were in place, the CG team then balanced the color of each shot, the jeans were isolated and graded to maximize the detail, the interiors were pushed toward a monochromatic ‘lifeless’ tone and the outside world was warmed up as a metaphor for a much happier place to be.

Editor was Maury Loeb at PS 260 with executive producer Zarina Mak.

Music was “Up Against The Wall”, by Peter Bjorn and John, from their album Writers Block.