Wednesday, November 10, 2010
We Are All Workers: The Town behind the Levi's commercial
From Fast Company:
You've probably seen the Levi's commercials. The cinematic spot with color-saturated scenes of a rundown town, and a girl off-camera musing about how "things got broken here" how "frontiers are all around us." Or the shorter, more upbeat ad (same town and people) declaring that "there's work to be done" and "reinvention is our only option" over a jazzy version of "Heigh-Ho." The ads are partly about the joys of work, work wear, and wearing jeans (not necessarily in that order), but it's their eerie location, Braddock, PA, that's the real star.
Why Braddock? For one thing, it's the story. A once-prosperous town that once had 20,000 people in the 1940s is trying to recover from the long industrial decline (and the poverty, the crime, the drugs) that have turned it into a near–ghost town today, with a population of just 3,000.
Levi's involvement with the town extends far beyond just shooting a couple of commercials there. Levi's paid over $1.5 million to turn an abandoned church into a new community center and to expand an urban farm program, and it shot the commercial using real people from town, paying them standard rates for a commercial appearance.