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Levi’s Kicks Off Multi-Market Communications Review

EMEA, Global

Arun Sudhaman 06 Jan 2012

BRUSSELS--American clothing giant Levi Strauss & Co has kicked off a wide-ranging review of its communications support across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The company is understood to have issued an RFI yesterday to the numerous European firms with which it has worked in recent years. The company counts relationships with a handful of agencies in Europe, including 11-year partner Exposure, which handles both UK and pan-European activities. Levi's also uses Edelman at a corporate level.

According to one source familiar with the situation, the procurement-led review demonstrates that the Levi’s is aiming to bring a “more formal process” to its current agency selection efforts.

The company will seek to streamline the long list of its existing partners to a smaller roster via pitches. Incumbent firms will be expected to repitch for their business.

While the initial focus is on Levi’s in EMEA, the source noted that reviews in Levi’s other regions - North America and Asia-Pacific - could not be ruled out. Levi’s is not noted for hiring many agencies, and most relationships take place on a project basis. “They are quite agency-light,” said the source. “And local investment in agencies has gone down. Implementation is the name of the game at a local level.”

Levi’s total agency spend in EMEA is estimated at approximately $1m. In the US, the brand largely handles PR matters in-house, although it does work with Exposure’s San Francisco office. The company’s global creative strategy is led by ad agency Wieden + Kennedy.

The Holmes Report understands that the review focuses on the company’s iconic Levi’s denim brand, which remains focused on connecting with young people and cracking the female market. The brand’s ‘Go Forth’ positioning, which launched in 2009 before being expanded internationally last year, represents the first global campaign in its 138 years of history.

Levi’s senior global brand comms director Alexa Rudin said that the company “is not commenting at this time on our agency reviews.”

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