$90m Levi’s US brief to TBWA…

TBWA Chiat/Day has picked up the $90m (50m) US advertising account from troubled denim giant Levi-Strauss after a five-way pitch.

Bartle Bogle Hegarty London, incumbent Foote Cone & Belding, BBDO Worldwide and Hal Riney & Partners were the other agencies to pitch.

BBH continues to handle the brand in Europe and Asia.

John Bartle, BBH joint chief executive, says the agency’s international expansion plans will continue, although the location of a new US office and its opening date may change.

He says: “Obviously this will lead us to think exactly when and exactly where. It will depend on what business we would be opening up with.”

Bartle says the agency would have opened an office on the West Coast if it had won the business for San Francisco-based Levi’s.

Last August Levi’s launched its most expensive ad campaign to date in the US in an effort to revive flagging sales. It was the company’s first image building push, targeting both the male and female market.

The campaign was not enough to turn around sales and in November the company announced plans to close 11 US plants and lay off more than 6,000 workers. The plans cost Levi’s $200m in redundancy payments.

The Levi’s brand is being squeezed by the growing popularity of designer brands, such as Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren, and competition from cheaper brands such as The Gap and JC Penney’s Arizona label. Levi’s penetration of the woman’s market in the US is also widely seen as underdeveloped.

Gordon Shank, Levi-Strauss president, says: “TBWA Chiat/Day demonstrated a deep understanding of Levi’s and will inject new vigour into our efforts to build the brand.”

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