EMBRACING LOCAL FLAVOUR
LEVI’S, the quintessentially American jeans brand, has carved out a South African identity with its social responsibility campaign called Red for Life and its uniquely South Africanshaped Eva range of clothing.
From the new-age pantsula to your super laid-back guy with spiky hair, South African subcultures have adapted Levi jeans to reflect their lifestyles, making an impact similar to that of Converse. There’s even a reverse cultural invasion going on: the home-grown Eva range – specifically designed for more voluptuous (bighipped) local figures – has started to make its mark in the US.
The SA vibe is continued with the Red for Life campaign. “We felt HIV was the single biggest issue facing our core market and lending our brand to the cause could help de-stigmatise it,” says Levi marketing director Debbie Gebhardt. “We encourage regular testing and have tested just over 100 000 youngsters – double the national average.”
Now in its fourth year, the campaign is eagerly anticipated at educational institutions as it culminates in a music concert – Rage for the Revolution. “Testing centres are open throughout the year, with mobile units used at campuses during the campaign.”
Performers also fulfil an educational role about HIV, while Levi’s promotes up-and-coming musicians as part of its local music programme. But it’s let down by a website that gives the impression it fosters only one genre of music – unlike Rage for the Revolution, which incorporates diverse youth cultures.