Levi’s inhabits planet of the cats

In an effort to reinvigorate the Levi's brand, Levi Strauss & Co. (Canada) has launched its first television commercial in more than 18 months. The national 30-second spot, supported by an outdoor billboard campaign, was directed by Bruce McDonald, the man...

In an effort to reinvigorate the Levi’s brand, Levi Strauss & Co. (Canada) has launched its first television commercial in more than 18 months. The national 30-second spot, supported by an outdoor billboard campaign, was directed by Bruce McDonald, the man behind Canadian indie hits such as Highway 61, Hardcore Logo and episodes of the TV series Twitch City.

The ads, which launch Levi’s spring line, are aimed at consumers 15-24 who are fans of shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files, says Vincent Lam, consumer marketing manager at Richmond Hill, Ont.-based Levi Strauss.

‘We wanted to do something very, very different,’ he says. ‘And different from other fashion advertising that mainly shows pretty people in pretty clothing,’ he says.

The spot features a handsome young man in a post-apocalyptic world who is imprisoned in a cage with two sultry women. Guarding them are mutant cats decked out in Levi’s casual wear. As the commercial ends, the man screams at the cats, Charlton Heston-style, ‘You stole our style, you mutant felines!’

While Levi’s is still the leader in the denim and casual pants category, it has come under increasing pressure from the competition, says Genevieve Dennis, account director at Harrod &Mirlin/FCB, Levi’s agency of record and creator of the spot.

‘Testing has shown that some young people have begun to think of Levi’s as their jeans of their parents,’ she says. ‘We wanted to do something bold that would reconnect with those young consumers.’

The spot will run nationally in heavy weights from March 6 to the middle of April, including a special 60-second version that will run during the pre-Academy Awards show. Forecasts show that 85% of Canadian consumers 15-49 will see the commercial about 12 times during its run.

It was important for Levi’s to come out strong with the campaign and reclaim its position as the number one jean and casual pants brand, says Dennis.


Client: Levi Strauss and Co. (Canada)

Agency: Harrod & Mirlin/FCB

Account Director: Genevieve Dennis

Creative Director: Brian Harrod

Copywriter: Joseph Nanni

Art Director: Larry Ioannou

Director: Bruce McDonald

Media: Television, out-of-home

Start date: March 6

End Date: Mid-April

Kraft Heinz beats the street, but reports slight sales slide

The company's Q2 net sales, while down slightly, reveal continued demand for snacks and pre-packaged meals.
Kraft Heinz

Kraft Heinz is reporting earnings of 78 cents a share, beating Wall Street’s estimate of 72 cents a share, thanks to continued demand for snacks and pre-packaged meals. However, the company also reported a net sales decline of 0.5% compared with the same period last year, to $6.6 billion, according to its latest Q2 earnings report, released Tuesday.

The company experienced a favourable 2.3 percentage point impact from currency and a negative 0.7 percentage point impact from its February divestiture of Hormel Foods – including the Planters peanut brand – which closed in the second quarter of 2021.

Its cheese divestiture – which included the sale of its natural cheese division to Lactalis – is expected to close in the second half of 2021, says Kraft Heinz Global CEO Miguel Patricio in this morning’s conference call.

Adjusted EBITDA slumped 5.2% versus the year-ago period to $1.7 billion and increased 6.6% versus the comparable 2019 period. Higher transportation and inflation-related goods costs continue to affect the company’s bottom line.

Kraft Heinz’ organic net sales declined 3.6% in Canada over the last three months compared with a comparable period last year, this as total net sales rose 8.8% year over year. 

However, its overall organic net sales slipped 2.1% compared with 2020 figures. This includes the negative impact stemming from exiting its McCafé licensing agreement. However, this decline was partly offset, Kraft Heinz reports, by “partial recovery in foodservice channels and retail consumption trends.”

“Food service is recovering, and recovering fast,” Patricio stressed in today’s earnings call. He said “the bet to support QSR” early in the pandemic, with individual packets of ketchups and sauces, is paying off.

Channel trends are still normalizing, he warns, and it’s too early to see how at home or away from home, will net out. “We have big ambitions for away from home business,” he said. Consumers continue to evolve how they eat, with Patricio saying that Kraft Heinz is collaborating with a popular DTC brand for its Philadelphia cream cheese.

Accrued marketing costs, the company reports, rose to $968 million from $946 million in December 2020.

“We are investing more in our brands, and better as well, building a much more creative company,” Patricio reported.

Kraft Heinz is also strengthening and diversifying its media presence, he said, driving repeat rates for those discovering and rediscovering the brand. Patricio added that the company is continuing to drive its transformation program forward, modernizing its brands and better connecting with its consumers.