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Celebrating 150 years of the Levi’s® 501® jean

The Levi’s® 501® jean is one of the most iconic pieces of clothing ever made. It’s been lived in and worn the world over, transcending borders, cultures, languages and generations.


Levi’s - The Greatest Story Ever Worn

For Levi’s® largest brand initiative ever, we needed to honor the billions of devoted wearers worldwide, and inspire the next generation to fasten up a pair. We needed to tell the legend and lore of the original blue jean. So, we told “The Greatest Story Ever Worn,” a global anthology based on the true exploits of Levi’s® 501® wearers from the past 150 year

When fact is stranger than fiction

Our 150th anniversary campaign began by uncovering a 150-year-old prevailing truth. When it comes to the Levi’s® 501®, fact is decidedly stranger than fiction. After digging through the depths of the Internet and the Levi’s® archives, we uncovered source material almost too unbelievable to believe. So, we set out to tell these true stories in a way the world couldn’t ignore.

From the farmlands of 1980s Soviet-occupied Georgia, where one man traded his family’s beloved bellcow for a pair of 501® jeans. To the docks and dancehalls of 1970s Kingston, Jamaica. Even modern-day California, where one unliving legend not only requested to be buried in his 501® jeans, but requested all funeral-goers wear them too.

Every year a chapter. Every exploit, a new page

Across film, print, social, OHH, 3-DOOH, radio and in-store displays, the pages of “The Greatest Story Ever Worn” began to unfold, in an expansive year-long celebration of the fabled 501® jean and its wearers. Stories of the jean’s enduring relevance throughout history. Stories of its imprint on cultures and subcultures across the globe. And stories about a devotion for the 501® jean so deep, it bordered on the irrational.

Levi’s 150 aniversary logo
Levi’s 150 aniversary logo

A story written and rewritten by every wearer

Every piece of the campaign was inspired by a true story. As we began to celebrate this brilliant history, going beyond the icons and into the exploits of everyday wearers, we gave the next generation a glimpse into the unbelievable experiences, characters and events these jeans have been present for, inspiring them to add their own story to the legacy.

Authoring a global anthology

Just like the 501® itself, the campaign spread across the globe with an orchestrated rollout across 37 global markets, 19 languages and 6,000 unique assets via Song Studios. As the story unfolded, the world embraced it with a 61% increase in positive sentiment, 534% spike in site visits at launch and 332MM+ impressions. It was the 501® jean, portrayed like never before.

Levi’s banner campaign.
Levi’s banner campaign.

A tribute to history and to the future

More than an anniversary campaign, we authored a worldwide celebration of a product that’s been intertwined with so many people’s lives. And an invitation to the next generation to add their own page to the ever-expanding narrative. Because 150 years on, “The Greatest Story Ever Worn” is still being written.

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