Colenso BBDO behind butt-cam video for Levi's which has attracted over 5m views in six days

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CB Exclusive (updated) - Colenso BBDO Auckland is behind an international online web film campaign for Levi's latest Curve ID Skinny Jeans which has attracted over 5 million viewers on YouTube in only six days. The unbranded web film - the connection to Levi's is yet to be revealed - shows two hot Kiwi girls in Los Angeles who have rigged the back of their jeans so that they catch people checking out their asses.

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The hot girls are New Zealand actresses Jessie Gurunathan and Reanin Johannink - and reportedly the campaign is such a hit that the girls currently have reporters stationed outside their homes in New Zealand.

Gurunanthan and Johannink (and their hot asses) also star in another video in which they teach you how to DIY your own butt-cam.

Colenso BBDO, Auckland executive creative director Nick Worthington told CB this morning that the brief from Levi's headquarters in San Francisco came out of the blue around six months ago: "I thought it was a someone pulling our leg, like [former CEO] Brent Smart [now CEO of BBDO West, LA and SF].

"Anyway, Levi's tells us it's the fastest, most successful viral campaign Levi's has ever done, and it's only just started, so we're pretty chuffed."

Client: Levi's (San Francisco HQ)
Agency: Colenso BBDO, Auckland
ECD: Nick Worthington
CD: Levi Savin
Creative Team: Jae Morrison, Kia and Zoe
Director: Jae Morrison
Account Director: Scot Coldham


Anonymous said:

Ball tearing idea. Literally.

Anonymous said:

Are people staring at the hot asses of these girls in their 'skinny jeans', or at the rectangular bulge rigged inside the bum of their kit? This is successful marketing for Levis how?

Let's see how long it takes for the lawsuits for breaching image and likeness rights to start rolling in. It's not like these 'actresses' are news reporters, nor have people on the street given up their right to privacy by staring at a camera attached to the ass of a female Kiwi.

Levis and BBDO worldwide have very deep pockets (all puns intended), and I'm sure a good number of the people whose images are being broadcast on the web, for very commercial purposes as it turns out, will be picking them very soon. Ridiculous stunt, and if the agency thinks that millions of views make it a success, then they should consider the fact that the greater the number of views, the more costly the financial liabilities for their client and themselves.

Maybe the ass-cam was named after the creative who came up with this fiasco, rather than the rigging itself?

A nightmare in the making.

Anon said:

How does an unbranded video count as a "viral campaign", surely the product or brand should be mentioned somewhere, of it's an ad for the category not Levi's?

Unless there is more to come from Colenso BBDO?

N V said:

Same as the Wonderbra strategy ... "hello boys" etc.

But I have to say, this takes it to another level. A real life demonstration.

Simply awesome. Best thing I've seen this year by far.

Congrats you bastards mother fuckers!!

Butt Boy said:

I don't mean to kiss butt here but I really want to.

Anonymous said:

yeah. i'm sold. i wish I hadda been caught feasting my eyes.

nice one dudes.

Anonymous said:

8:32 is spot on.
Clients and agencies don't have the right to a] feature people as talent and their image for commercial gain without their consent and b] all but state as fact that people are watching [code for perving] women's butts when they may or may not be. These people have lives. What right does anyone have to use them in advertising without payment and misrepresent their actions when they do? Isn't there an advertising standards council in NZ?

Anonymous said:

I thought it was great, but then again I very much doubt the genuine nature of it.

There are too many LA cliches in there, and we have to remember that every single person that could POSSIBLY be recognised HAS to sign a talent release form.

That means someone on the day had to presumably approach every man in the spot, some of them with their wives and girlfriends, ask them if they don't mind being in a spot that'll go on the internet - for a paltry sum (or free) - a spot that shows them staring at a girl's arse.

Nah. Get yourself about thirty paid street talent and bob's your uncle.

And then there's the idea. Men like to look at girls' bums.

Yup. That's been the case for a few thousand years.

In fact, Levis or not, most men would stare at a nice bum regardless of what it was housed in.

So - funny viral video. Yes.

Up there with Old Spice? Nah.

Anonymous said:

BBDO and Levi's should tell us immediately if all the people featured were paid and signed a release form. If they were - fine, great idea, big kudos all round. But if they didn't I can see big trouble ahead. In the US they could sue for entrapment. Imagine if you were shown to be one of the Levi bum 'pervers' [whether that's what you were doing or not] and it caused you personal or professional distress, embarrassment. What if the video did the rounds of your office and you were labelled a 'perve', or a 'leso'? What if it was sent to your wife, or boyfriend, or client - and you were the butt of on-going ridicule? This is a serious issue. This is not footage that was in the public domain. It has been specifically shot for a client to promote their brand. It's a f#!*#!! commercial. So, should we be able to use anyone's image for commercial gain without paying for it? And should we be able to entrap someone and then place them in a position where they can be held up to public and private ridicule without their knowledge just because we think it's 'cool'? I say "no". What say you?

Anonymous said:

8.32 you bore the shit out of me

Anonymous said:

8.32, a bit jealous are we? Back to your harvey norman briefs laddie.

Anonymous said:

I love it and it made me smile, but its an ad for the category not Levis. Hopefully they'll back it up with something that ties it all together.

Anonymous said:


When you can show me you've made a video with millions of views, i'll take what you said seriously.

Until then - this idea is tighttttttttt. Love it.

Anonymous said:

If they're paid talent i say great. if not I'm with 8;32.

8:32 said:

6:14, 7:02, 7:31

When the truth comes out in a day or two or three that this was either a set up with paid extras, that the 'real people' were paid a fee after the fact for their release, or that Levis and BBDO are being sued for this absurdly adolescent idea that has backfired on their legal department in a major way, forcing them to remove it from the net and pay damages, then have the decency to return to the blog to admit that all three of you are shallow children ('this idea is "tight", man!!!!!!!!), or that the adult world and its realities bore you (and I'm personally finding it hard to imagine what might be engaging in your little masterbatory sphere of influence, but it is Australia, so), or that having the basic understanding of the industry brands one as doing Harvey Norman ads.

F$#king morons on this blog.

Anonymous said:

surely something to do with this?

Anonymous said:


So - one of the most viewed YouTube videos of all time, 'A dog tries to have sex with my wife' - 18 million hits ( has a fucking great idea eh?

Anonymous said:

Is this a good idea? Yes.
Are some ppl on this blog fucked? Yes.

Anonymous said:

So many ads try and fail to achieve what this has done, and that's to get some element of cool and fun into their brand, without coming off as 'try-hard' like so many multi-million dollar budget campaigns.

4 million views, award entries brag about 'tens of thousands of views'.

Anonymous said:

love your work Jae!

Anonymous said:

8.32. Agree with you on all counts. But there is no way Levi's wouldn't have insisted that Colenso get releases from all the "talent" in this viral. It kind of undermines the idea when it's a viral that's got people running around in the background getting releases signed, as does the fact that most people were likely starring at the camera that they had poking out of a hole in their skinny jeans. How does it go - pick up on a universal truth - men stare at girls butts - roll a campaign around it, pick up metal at the awards shows. They come up with these sorts of ideas on those inane hidden camera shows every day of the week. I would hope that Colenso has a strong finish to this campaign, something that wraps it all together in a way that is original and innovative.

Anonymous said:

I watched it last week and certainly didn't relate it with Levis.
I wonder how many of the other 4 million viewers will read the press release that will allow them to make the connection.

Anonymous said:

awesome work, love it.

i did think the production value was a little high when I saw it before i found out it was an ad.

8:32 you sound like Virginia Trioli. Stop f@#king moaning about the fine print. unless you are a producer and actually have to worry about it just take the idea for what it is. but then again you are entitled to your opinion and if you dont like it then thats up to you.

Anonymous said:


Anonymous said:

Levi's store at the end after the Jesus Character

Anonymous said:

Fuck people are haters. If you're getting caught up in the trivial details like 'Oh, they're looking at the camera like bulge in your jeans, not your ass!' you should never hope to be on a judging panel.

Grow up and appreciate a great idea.

- Nik

Anonymous said:

Come on - as if they'd be so stupid as to not get release forms from all the talent. Any time anything like this is made it's the number one priority, otherwise they can't use the footage, and it's wasted.

Anonymous said:

So this is like upskirting in reverse.

Radvertising said:

Love it. Great work. Although I do feel a few people would've been looking at the small hole and rectangle poking out the back of her beautiful butt. If there's another installment on the way to ensure all those millions of views start thinking more specifically about the Levi's brand, then seriously hats off. If not, it's still great.

Anonymous said:


Old Fashioned said:

Even if we disregard the irrelevant issue of talent clearance from critiques of this idea, could any of you coolsters who think this is good please explain how this benefits Levi's or is likely to sell a pair of Levi's jeans?

Anonymous said:

It's a commercial and it's great. Everyone in it was cast and was paid. Just like a normal TV commercial. It got millions of views and is cool. It's what we are all trying to do each time we put an ad up online. Great idea. Fun to watch. Why is everyone crying about talent release forms?

Anonymous said:

Great idea, executed perfectly.

8.32 no-one likes you, and I don't like you either.

Anonymous said:

Kudos. Hard to knock this idea - though some people still manage to.

Anonymous said:

How does it work? In the simplest, most basic way possible. It tells people- wear these jeans and your arse will look great. So great it will turn heads.
What isn't there to get 1:14?

Young, unfashionable said:

1:14... makes ladies bums look good.

Did you not see that?

8:32 said:


As no one, you'd be in the best position to know.

Have you read the blog comments? Can you read without assistance? I'd say a good half of the responses agree with my take completely, and they're the half that can create a full sentence, with a subject and a verb, probably the same half that can walk upright as well. You and your invertebrates stick to the one liners. They'll serve you well at ad school.

As far as being disliked by imbeciles, I'd say it's a badge of honour. Let this story play out for two more days, and you'll see it unravel.

Irrespective of the issue of how this 'viral' spot was created, the fact that a whole range of people, including the 4 million You Tubers think that this is a brilliant advertising idea really just proves PT Barnum correct when he said that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the (general public). We've seen the A, the Ts are next I suppose. How lowbrow can it all get? That's rhetorical of course.

Anonymous said:

Farking unreal. This will win everything.You eartiall

Anonymous said:

8.32 This is now on the Age online, and I'm guessing it will feature on every other online newspaper, and news show etc

So Levi's aren't claiming they had anything to do with it. And I'm sure you're sitting there all glib saying 'See! See! I told you so!

But what you don't understand is it doesn't matter if they don't claim responsibility. And it doesn't matter if it's not branded. PR will do all the heavy lifting. You think you're so fucking clever being such a knocker, but this will sell jeans all over the world. And there'll be no lawsuit. There's a good reason why their name's not attached.

4 million views now. Wanker.

Anonymous said:

it really doesn't matter how the viral was made, this is digital and old rules don't apply, it is a great idea and millions of people have seen it and not one of them is concerned about whether or not it is real or fake or whether the people in it are actors or had a talent release.

The real issue here is that Levis have missed a huge opportunity to sell their brand, they were so focused on being subtle and authentically viral that not once do you see the jeans, or the Levi's logo, now 4 million people have seen an awesome viral and have left with no brand recognition. The only people who will know it is Levis are advertisers and a few digital nerds who will follow the brand story.

Great Idea...missed opportunity!

Old Fashioned, and becoming increasingly exasperated said:

Yes, yes, I get the idea kiddies, I'm not senile, but Levi's branding is completely absent. What's not to get about that?

Anonymous said:

You're right, 2:45, this might just sell jeans, but not necessarily Levis, which is the point that both 3:18 and 3:11 are making, and one that the Levis client won't be overlooking I'm sure. Even in the digital age, market share is an important issue to the people paying the bills.

By the way, what's wrong with wanking? Do you have a problem touching yourself, 'cause you seem to have been doing a fair bit of that when you saw the video. How else to explain your enthusiasm for the cause, unless Colenso is paying your salary.

Anonymous said:

2:45. I'm not 8:32, but I think Levi's have already acknowledged it is for them.

Anonymous said:

The video ends out the front of the Levis store. Look at 1.53. Subtle but clear enough.

Anonymous said:

3:11. You assume people who raise concerns about the talent don't like the idea. I love it. And whilst all the old rules mightn't apply to digital, some old rules never change. One is that you pay people who appear in your advertising. Another is the people in your advertising must provide their written consent. So, let me repeat. Love the idea and if they've used paid talent it doesn't weaken the idea for me. But if the talent haven't been paid and haven't given their consent I'd be disappointed. What do you think? Or am I too old school for you?

Anonymous said:


Agreed, people need to know what jeans were responsible for this, but if you look at every PR release it will have Levis all over it. So I'm assuming those are the jeans that fly off the shelves. Yes some other brands may benefit too due to the lack of branding, but it's by not including branding that they've been able to shirk all the talent fees and lawsuits that everyone seems to be crapping their pants over.

The other way they could have done this would be to pay talent, lose the authenticity and brand it. Maybe that would have been their preferred option, but it was probably too hard to get off the ground.

Regardless of the execution - brilliant idea.

Anonymous said:


Once more for the dummies from your old fashioned friend said:

It's not a brilliant idea if viewers can't identify the brand. It's generic. As in when people say "Hey did you see that brilliant ad for... um...I don't remember the brand." The publicity for this is temporary. After that, it's just another unbranded novelty film.

HonestyisBestPolicy said:

Live on TV are these girls telling the truth?

The girls tweeted after this interview " Exciting things to come, Stay tuned for more"

Anonymous said:

I foresee this being one of those campaigns that gets slagged on the blog, only to win an phat assload of awards.

Anonymous said:

this is great! the connection to levis is that the curve ID systemhelps you choose the right jeans to best enhance your shape, heres the proof...
now get back to your cubicles...

Anonymous said:

Once the public, who seem to have been fascinated by this viral (and that begs the question of how much free time must all these viewers have on their hands), once they realise that they've been duped by this stunt, by this agency, and by association this jeans brand, how will they respond to Levis in the future, and how much damage will have been done to this oldest and most recognised brand of denim.

Seriously, these two girls with thick as chups Kiwi accents going on talk shows to claim how they just took the idea from some guy named 'Jay' at Colenso and on their own dime put it all together is beyond absurd Every time an agency pulls one of these stunts it gets a ton of attention for the brand (well maybe not this much, but), and every time it backfires on them when people realise that this was a set up, and that there is nothing genuine about the story, and by extension they end up feeling that there is nothing genuine about the product or the brand.

Maybe if this were some new as yet unheard of brand of women's jeans, but Levis?

Short-term strategy with long term damage, and it's hard to imagine that a few days from now, if not already, the client will be recoiling from the fiasco, and doing their best to deny that they even knew about the idea before it was put out into the world.

Anonymous said:

Yes, you're all too old school, and you'll never do anything this fresh and edgy because you'll be crying into your hanky about talent release forms!

Anonymous said:

I'm jealous. It's a perfect fit for the brand. After everything we've seen in recent years, there are still a lot of agencies and individuals who simply won't back themselves with this sort of thing. For the varied and seemingly endless list of gutless excuses (aka, risk-management) for backing out, see above.

Anonymous said:

Nah, the public will just smile. There's no deception, just a humorous presentation of an undeniable human truth, which is what good advertising is all about.

And when people discuss it (which they will), it'll slowly spread that Levis were behind it, with the result being an ass-ociation between Levis and looking hot in jeans.

The only outrage will be from frustrated "creatives", as we see here.

Well done Colenso - bet Nick Garret is grinning from ear to ear.

Anonymous said:

OK 9:43. So I can use your image anyway I like, whenever I like, without your consent, or paying you?

[If BBDO did pay and get talent releases - apologies all round. I still love the idea - but that's not what this part of the discussion is about].

Anonymous said:

Remember the witchery debacle people? People don't like to be 'duped'.

Anonymous said:

@February 22, 2011 8:58 AM

Jesus Christ mate, stick to looking at AWARD-school templated ideas if this upsets you that much.

At the end of the day, it's the jeans the girls are wearing that are getting the stares, and brand association with this will mean that Levi's = an arse that looks so good people will stare at it = women want an arse like that = sales. It's that simple.

Anonymous said:

Witchery was completely different. It involved multiple levels of on-going deception and people were angry because they'd been asked to help in a 'quest for love' that turned out to be a fake.

Levis aren't asking for any involvement by the general public, other than watching an amusing piece of film based on a great human truth.

Anonymous said:

I'm waiting for the parody edits to start pouring in, and it won't be long now, then let's see how happy Levis is about Colenso's 'brilliant idea'.

10:13 is dead right when he cites the 'Witchery Debacle'. You remember the 'man in the jacket' video posted by Claire that turned out to be a stunt to sell the new Witchery mens line by Naked. Cost them heaps, wasn't a win for Witchery or Naked nor certainly the CD responsible, and this was for a brand that needed the recognition as a new player, not Levi Strauss.

Imagine the POV shots of what these people were actually looking at being added to the footage from the 'ass-cam', big fat misshapen bums in Levis, huge cameras clumsily mounted on to the back of big fat Levis, all manner of disgusting objects stuffed into the back of Levis, just the laundry list of obscene setups to cut back to the faces in the footage staring so intently, and none of these alternatives will be the great fitting women's jeans that Levis is introducing, but all of them will be branded Levis.

The joke is going to turn rather rapidly from being on the people ogling and showing us an "undeniable human truth", as 10:03 puts it, to being on Levis, the new Hitler from Downfall of the world wide web, like David Letterman's Worldwide Pants.

It'll be a tsunami I reckon, and the tide of shit will be heading directly at that lovely office on College Hill in Ponsonby. Better head for high ground boys.

Many of the commenters on the blog obviously favour the notion that advertising is all about the 'don't care what you say about me so long as you spell my name correctly, any attention is good attention' strategy, and that fits well with the instant media digital world of bites and snacking and Gen Y attention spans that are as long as a Twitter message, but major brands are in business for the long term, and despite all the additional means of engaging an audience that are out there via new technologies, consumers still want to buy quality, and that demands more intelligent and creative strategies for advertising than short term stunts that are all look at me and very little substance.

Just sayin'.

Anonymous said:

9:43 AM - Gen Y twat with no idea.

Good luck said:

If the girls interview on NZ morning show is correct, its a law suit waiting to happen.
“A person, firm or corporation that uses for advertising purposes, or for the purposes of trade, the name, portrait, video or picture of any living person without having first obtained the written consent of such person, or if a minor of his or her parent or guardian, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
— New York Civil Rights Law Section 50.

Anonymous said:

Wow you all sound jealous - it must be good.

Anonymous said:

It's my opinion that only an extremely highly-strung people say, "Just sayin"

Anonymous said:

@ 2:50

It's our opinion that only an extremely illiterate person writes, "only an extremely high-strung people say".

For the future, if you're going to critique someone's choice of language, colloquial or otherwise, you might want to actually match up the the number and tense of your subjects and verbs, as it's generally required that one have a grasp of the language themselves before offering their opinions on the use of that language by others.

English is a prerequisite for this blog.

Just sayin'.

Anonymous said:

This will win lots of awards. Just like it did last time.

Anonymous said:

Here is an article in today's Age relating to this...

'Secret sell: brands exploit viral videos'

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