Levi Strauss is raising the stakes on gender discourse with “Wear The Pants”, a campaign promoting Dockers khakis for men. Online at dockers.com, the campaign begins with a Christmas tie-in, suggesting a return to traditional masculine stereotypes with phrases such as “Hang Mistletoe Pants”, “String the Lights Pants” and “Carve the Turkey Pants”. The Man-ifesto, expressed online and in print advertisements, spells out the call of manhood.
A “Man-ifesto” posted on Dockers.com begins, “Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well. Women rarely had to open doors and little old ladies never had to cross the street alone. Men took charge because that’s what they did. But somewhere along the way the world decided it no longer needed men. Disco by disco, latte by foamy non-fat latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny. But today there are questions our genderless society has no answers for. The world sits idly by as cities crumble, children misbehave and those little old ladies remain on one side of the street. For the first time since bad guys, we need heroes. We need grown ups. We need men to put down the plastic fork, step away from the salad bar, and untie the world from the tracks of complacency. It’s time to get your hands dirty. It’s time to answer the call of manhood. It’s time to wear the pants.”
Radio, print, poster and online advertising are being supplemented with social media including Facebook, Flickr and Twitter (now discontinued it seems). A set of TV commercials will be launched at the Super Bowl in February 2010.
“The category is in decline for a reason. Khaki brands have been stuck in the 20th century with little in the way of new product news for the last 10 to 15 years. We are going to change that,” said Jim Calhoun, President, Dockers® brand. “Our goal is to make men love their khakis again. Khakis are what Dockers® does best, and with the introduction of new fits, styles and finishes, we believe we will appeal to the modern man.”
“The intent of the campaign is to put forth a new definition of masculinity, one that embraces strength and sensitivity and appeals to men who can change a tire AND a diaper,” said Jennifer Sey, Global VP of Marketing. “We’re not trying to shame men. We want to make them laugh at themselves and at the state of manhood. And, at the same time, encourage them to dress up, man-up and embody today’s new definition of masculinity.”
The campaign was developed at DraftFCB, San Fancisco, by copywriter Desmond LaVelle, art directors Julie Scelzo and Dana Johnston. “Face It You’re A Man” was written by freelance copywriter Dimitri Ehrlich. The online ads were produced by Razorfish. Typography and design was by Craig Ward and Julian Quale and Am I Collective. Photography was by Kevin O’Brien.