Talk of 1:1, direct communications and enhanced customer interaction is all the rage these days.

Normally it applies to direct mail, the internet or, latterly, SMS messaging.

With their latest Levi’s campaign for the hyper fast moving Japanese market, BBH applied it to a national, above the line advertising campaign with enormous success.

Having launched Levi’s Engineered Jeans (the form fitting new Levi’s product) back in 1999 and through 2000 with a traditional, but potent campaign featuring Takuya Kimura of the Japanese boy band SMAP, Client and agency were faced with the challenge of how to beat it in 2001.

They still wanted to feature Levi’s Engineered Jeans, to further secure its position in the core range, but also wanted to reaffirm Levi’s central values of being the original, definitive jean. All in a way that tapped into the psyche of their young, early adopter audience without falling into the usual ‘yoof’, ‘for the kid’s cliches’.

The answer was not going to be to hold up a mirror to the audience but, as it turned out, a photocopier – the largest in the world.

Cool people – including a re-visit by Takuya in a launch TV ad – were invited to go on the copier in their Levi’s to create their own highly original and individual print, which were then turned into press ads and in-store materials, along with further TV ads employing stop-frame animation techniques.

Many brought along items that symbolized what they were about – Sister Bliss of Faithless brought a disco mirrorball, Michael Lau brought one of his model figures, YKZ, the Japanese band, all got on together.

Many more people heard about it and clamoured to get on. It became cool. They all did it for the fun of it (and, of course, the publicity they were getting out of being in a revolutionary new campaign for Levi’s).

Beyond the style leaders, Levi’s didn’t want to forget it’s everyday customers – so the machine was moved in-store.

Here everyone got in on the act, climbing on wearing whatever they’d brought. They each received their own AO sized ad and their images were then put on a special website where they could then download them and SMS them to their friends. A further ad featuring all their images was also created.

Word spread, fame spread and sales climbed.

In Levi’s Harajuku store sales of the product were very strong. Levi’s Engineered Jeans sales rose as a proportion of total sales from 12% in Jan (pre) to 20% in Feb and 23.5% in March.

Likewise, awareness measures performed very well.

Looking at January 2001 vs May 2001 (an effective pre and post, with the campaign having wound down by the end of April) advertising awareness rose from 39% to 54% with a mid point peak measured of 68%. “Heard something about recently” scores shot up from a pre-campaign level of 27% to 55% at the end of the campaign.

Key brand imagery markers, crucial for Levi’s long-term position and overall sales, also moved in a very positive direction:

Results, that again, will prove a significant challenge to beat in 2002.