Working At The #FlashbackFriday…

…get with the feeling of…of total confusion.

Today’s commercial came out of hearing the song within the commercial. I remembered this one commercial from one of my Saturday Night Live recordings, and it made absolutely no sense. I was fifteen years old the first time I heard it, and I assumed maybe there was a point that I was missing, and perhaps “in time” I would figure it out.

Over twenty-three years later, I’m still trying to figure this darn commercial out.

Today’s moment in advertising is an oddity that comes to us from the year 1997, and advertises Levi’s jeans. Now, hear me out – jeans are not new or novel on Allison’s Written Words. They’re frequently-worn material (yeah, I know), but it never dawned on me to feature this commercial as your week-ending entertainment. Mostly because it makes no sense whatsoever, at least to me. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe there is a point to not knowing which bathroom is for men, and which one is for women…

…or what the third act of this commercial has to do with any of this.

But why take my word for it?

I’ve watched this commercial three times while working on this, and it definitely doesn’t make sense. Age be damned, there is nothing to understand about what happens, or what any of it has to do with jeans!

Levi’s slogan in 1997 was “they go on,” and advertising at that point, as it had been since 1984, was handled by Foote, Cone & Belding, and its predecessor, Honig-Cooper over the course of sixty-seven years. By that year, Levi’s had peaked at $7 billion in sales, in spite of its competition. Beyond that, and for the next eighteen years, Levi’s saw net losses and poor growth, before finding its way back in 2017.

Their campaign at the time lead to a web series produced by NBC and streamed on NBC’s website called They Go On, featuring characters from the commercials (including The Impala Man seen in the second half of the commercial with all the stuffed animals), with two lead characters, Chloe (played by Laura Prepon) and Zack, who interacted with the “viewers” during the “broadcast” via an internet forum that was part of the website. The series debuted on September 22, 1997 (this commercial was recorded in December 1997), and worked to target teenagers and twentysomethings toward wearing Levi’s 501s. This commercial, “Car Wash,” was part six of the series, and its final episode.

And now that I’ve seen the entire series, it actually makes sense, as long as you watch it in the correct order. Strange in concept, but surprisingly, interesting when watched in its proper order.

Thank goodness for YouTube!

They’re interesting in their premise of being a continuing story, but I’m not sure they would convince me to buy jeans.

That’s just me. At least it doesn’t feel as disjointed.

I mean, some elements make sense, but not all of them.

Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!

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