Break.com Creates Mini-Doc Series for Levi’s

Break.com has produced a series of documentary-style videos for Levi’s about offbeat American events with cult followings, such as a “cardboard regatta” in which contestants build boats out of paper products, and a beach volleyball tournament in which teams dress as Smurfs or Magnum P.I.

What they don’t necessarily do is wear jeans. No matter: The ads are part of Levi’s Go Forth campaign, which is the fashion brand’s attempt to associate itself with “New Stories of America.”

The videos — all just a few minutes in length — were created by Break.com’s in-house agency, Creative Lab. It’s a level of service the publisher has grown accustomed to providing its advertisers since it formalized its creative offering late last year (and since the bottom has dropped out of the ad market).

“We tried to identify events that were up-and coming, that were grassroots in nature, that had an Americana, feel-good quality,” Danila Koverman, director of development for Break.com, said. Creative Lab and Levi’s were careful to create a series of videos that “wasn’t so heavily branded,” she said. “It was more about finding events that associated with the brand.”

The videos will reside on a dedicated Levi’s channel on Break.com (Break.com/Levis), which will link back to the campaign’s home page. One video will debut on the channel each week for five weeks. During that time, Levi’s will also enjoy a prominent display ad presence on the site with occasional home page takeovers. The value of the ad buy was not disclosed.

Koverman said that while Creative Lab collaborated with Levi’s ad agency, Weiden & Kennedy, and its media shop, Razorfish, it was responsible for identifying, filming and editing the videos, which number five in all.

Creative Lab has produced similar campaigns for Dos Equis and Castrol GT, among others. The 10-person team is currently producing a video series for a popular snack food brand as well.

While the campaign is fairly straightforward, one element would seem likely to cause confusion. Levi’s calls the videos “mockumentaries,” as in a mock documentary, a term usually applied to movies or TV shows with fake subjects like “This Is Spinal Tap” or “The Office.” But the subjects in the videos, despite being eccentric, are all real.

Koverman said there had been no discussion about whether consumers might conclude from the name that the videos had been staged. “Using the term ‘mockumentary’ was not meant to confuse anyone,” she said. “The format of the documentary is what we are mocking.”

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