The golden age of denim and an ironic Mr. Boombastic in the Levi’s spot

Today’s TBT (Throwback Thursday) takes us back to the Nineties, the golden age of jeans, when denim brands had global influence and their advertising campaigns were a concentrate of brand values and creativity.

Jeans were a status symbol, your chosen brand and model sent out a clear message about you, your interests and the icons that inspired you.

Many of the campaigns from this period made their mark and many of those were for Levi’s.

Swimmer, from 1992, was directed by Tarsem with artistic consultation from Larry Barker and Rooney Carruthers. The spot references Burt Lancaster film The Swimmer (1968) and taught us that “the more you wash them, the more they get”. The soundtrack was Mad about the Boy by Dinah Washington.

In 1994, the Creek advert publicised the legendary 501s. The agency behind it was BBH – Bartle Bogle Hegarty and it was filmed by Vaughn & Anthea with artistic direction by John Gorse. The soundtrack was Inside by Stiltskin.

But it was one spot in particular that marked a turning point for the brand, shifting from advertising with a cinematographic feel to something totally new. It was 1995 spot Mr. Boombastic, where soundtrack and imagery told a single entertaining story, catapulting us into a world of plasticine.

It was the first animated Levi’s spot, directed by Deiniol Morris and Michael Mort. Claymotion technology, a cinematographic technique using animated plasticine, was used to create it.

The track used was Boombastic, written by Robert Livingstone and Orville Burrell for Shaggy’s third album, also entitled Boombastic.

It would be reductive in this case to define the track as a mere soundtrack. The song actually adds to the humorous spirit of the spot, accompanying our hero ‘Mr. Lover Lover’ through every scene and exaggerating his coolness with irony.

The single was a huge success, seizing the number one position in Australia, Italy, New Zealand and the UK and in the US R&B chart.

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