Your chance to direct Akshay Kumar!

This August, the Levi's® brand 'unbuttons' a global integrated campaign and the biggest marketing program it has ever undertaken as a befitting celebration of the iconic Levi's® 501® jean. Titled 'Live Unbuttoned', the campaign encapsulates the metaphoric spirit behind the world's most well-loved, perfect, timeless and quintessential straight-leg button-fly jean  unrestrained, self-expressive and free-spirited  and encourages consumers to embrace the 'Live Unbuttoned' attitude – uninhibited and undeterred.

"This is about stepping up and being a global leader. With our Levi's® brand sold in more than 110 countries, we are the No. 1 jeans company in the world. This campaign gives us a unique opportunity to let a new generation of jeans consumers around the world know that the original, quintessential 501® jean is contemporary and relevant to their lifestyle. No other jeans brand can do this", said Shumone Chatterjee, Country Manager, Levi Strauss India Pvt. Ltd. 

The 'Live Unbuttoned' campaign focuses on the definitive spirit behind the Levi's® 501® jean, celebrating the moment when one 'unbuttons' oneself and breaks free of convention and inhibitions. The unbuttoning of Levi's® 501® jean is the symbolic act of personal expression and revelation as epitomized in the 'Live Unbuttoned' campaign.

A product as original as the Levi's® 501® Jean, and a concept as definitive as Live Unbuttoned, requires an equally original and definitive ambassador. The India leg of this global campaign features none other than Akshay Kumar – one of the superstars of the country, and an individual who epitomizes the 'Live Unbuttoned' spirit. Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Akshay Kumar said, "The word unbuttoned appealed to me since to me it has special meaning. As I see it, Unbuttoning is not an act, but an attitude! I am very selective in choosing the brands I endorse. The image and positioning of the brand is of utmost importance.  Levi's® and me have a perfect fit in that respect.  I am extremely excited about being a part of this brand and campaign – now and in the future!"

This campaign revolves around a central idea which is a first of its kind. Over the next 2 ½ months Levi's® will call for entries from youth in diverse, film related fields (acting, music writing, script writing, styling) wherein they will be invited to suggest the details of the next Levi's® 501® TV commercial starring Akshay Kumar. For the first time ever, Levi's® brings every youngster in India the chance to participate in their own reality show! The winners will actually get to work on the film with a world-class crew, superstar Akshay Kumar, and a brand as iconic as Levi's®. The winners will be announced in Nov 2008, with the commercial being released in Dec 2008.

Akshay himself is extremely enthused about the idea and is all geared up to play a central role in the decision on who the winner will be, as well as the commercial that gets made. In fact, he went so far as to say, "I'm looking forward to this experience with great anticipation. It's like entering absolutely unknown territory – the thrill is immense. Also, it gives me the chance to understand my audience at an extremely intimate, unbuttoned, level… and there can be no greater high for an actor!"

This association with Akshay goes far beyond the normal measures of a brand ambassadorship because of the close connect and natural fit between the star that Akshay is, and that brand that Levi's® has always been. Besides his obvious good looks, his effortless abilities as an actor, and his standing as a style icon – what draws Levi's® and Akshay together is Akshay's ability to constantly connect with the youth. This while maintaining the iconic status that he has attained over the course of his career – very much like the Levi's® 501® Jean!

The Indian leg of the campaign has been conceptualized by the Bangalore office of the advertising agency JWT, and consists of a series of print and outdoor ads, and a TV teaser which builds to the next phase of the campaign.

The print campaign was shot by renowned international photographer Steve Koh who was worked on numerous Levi's® campaigns across the world, and returns for this latest installment of an ongoing collaboration. The print campaign was shot in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Just as importantly, there is an extensive online component developed by online agency Interakt, based out of Singapore. The entire campaign contest will play out on the India version of the website – where youth will be able to upload their entries, and view and rate other entries, amongst other interesting things.

The global campaign is conceptualized and led by advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hogarty (BBH) and consists of a series of TV commercials, print and outdoor ads, retail window set-ups, instore point-of-sale materials, public relations and consumer promotions. The online component of the global campaign has been developed by online agency OgilvyOne Worldwide. In addition to an interesting and interactive website, it also encompasses a wide reaching online media strategy that includes social networks, viral/guerilla tactics, just to name a few.