Crossing the Highway

Just another weblog

An open letter to Levi-Strauss December 9, 2009

via janie, of inside-the-sparkling:

so, apparently, Levi-Strauss, the parent company of Dockers, thinks the world would be a whole lot better if men would just put some pants on and stop being such pansies*. fuck them. here’s the letter i’m trying to send to them. i’m getting errors on the website, but i’m publishing it here and sending it to many people. if you want to send your own, here’s the place to do it.

12/10/09 quick update: i was able to send the email just now. so, whatever was up with the feedback site yesterday has been cleared up and this has been officially communicated to the company.

The “Man-ifesto” ad campaign you’re currently running for your Dockers brand is one of the most backwards thinking and uncreative approaches to marketing I’ve seen in quite a while. Apparently, your marketing team doesn’t care about at least 52% of your customer base – women. Women make up 52% of the world’s population and more than that of shoppers in the US. This campaign is totally dismissive of women’s contribution to society, suggesting that everything would be okay if they would just cede control to the big men who have been cast aside in the pursuit of fancy coffee and salad bars.

Just to be clear, I’m not offended by your ad. I’m contemptuous of it and its attempt at humor. Belittling women and our contributions to society is not innovative, or cutting edge. In fact, it’s been used as a way of promoting male power and dominance in the world for thousands of years.

If your advertising team really wanted to be edgy or creative, they would consider speaking out AGAINST entrenched stereotypes of men and women and encouraging more diversity, instead of less.

Please consider me and my household one less customer, as I will not be buying your products again if and until this ad is pulled and a full apology issued to the public.

This letter will also be published to my website and sent to many people via email. You may not think this is much of a threat, but you’d be surprised how much influence a few women can have.

*Here’s a screen shot of the ad, in case you don’t want to click the link and give them traffic. Do notice that dockers are, in fact, marketed to both men AND women, as the tabs above the ad reflect. I guess the marketing team missed that.


13 Responses to “An open letter to Levi-Strauss”

  1. MomTFH Says:

    Ugh, what a horrific ad. Thanks for sharing it and letting me be contemptuous, too. I used to almost exclusively buy Levi’s 501s, but that will be a thing of the past.

    • infamousqbert Says:

      yah, my favorites are levi’s something or other (535?), but i’ll be finding a new brand, or just finding them at thrift stores from now on.

  2. Quercki Says:

    Dang! Those used to be my favorite pants.

  3. bgk Says:

    Cuz you know the only thing wrong in life is that men don’t have enough rights.


  4. Lemur Says:

    Oh, ew. No more Levi’s for my household either. Reposting.

  5. RachelB Says:

    I’m both gobsmacked and disgusted. Way to alienate half your customer base, Levis. Now I need to find some other jeans that fit me.

  6. Daniel Says:


  7. Carissa Says:

    I like the ad. It says to me that once upon a time in Rhetoric-ville men tried to take care of things but now there’s a shortage. It’s call to action, “We need heroes. We need grownups.”

    Which is true. We DO need those people.

    This is not my favorite of their ads, but I’ve been talking about the “Go Forth” ads for a while. They use Whitman’s poem:

    Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
    All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
    Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
    Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
    A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
    Chair’d in the adamant of Time.

    I don’t think that Levi is trying to push any feminist buttons and I think this campaign is the MOST creative and well done I’ve seen in a LONG time. I don’t see where women are belittled and I think women in general will be more successful when we start focusing on the Success and less on gender or stereotypes.

    It’s 2010. We can be equal now.

    Also, it’s a JEANS COMMERCIAL.

  8. Equality Says:

    First they use sexism and now they use racism. I guess we’ll be seeing a homophobic version too.

    “Once upon a time, white men wore the pants, and wore them well. Black men rarely had to worry about measuring up and little old black men were happy on the plantation. White men took charge because that’s what they did. But somewhere along the way, the world decided it no longer needed white men. Urban by urban, wigger by silly pride-free wigger, white men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and racial equality. But today, there are questions our race-free society has no answers for. The world sits idly by as cities crumble, children misbehave and those little old black men are longing for the plantation. For the first time since bad guys, we need heroes. We need grown-ups. We need white men to pull up their pants, turn off the rap and hip-hop, and untie the world from the tracks of complacency. It’s time to get your hands dirty. It’s time to answer the call of white male supremacy. It’s time to wear the pants.”

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