"The first thing we acknowledged was that we are not a skateboarding brand. It's the #1 principle we lead with when someone asks about Levi's and skateboarding," says Levi's Erik Wolsky, who will be speaking about the brand's skateboard park program at the Cause Marketing Summit on Wednesday, April 29 in NYC.
Levi's skateboarding marketing program started out in Bangalore, India, to address the problem of no free, public skate parks. The brand funded the skaters' vision, and created materials to promote the work they were doing in their community. They've since taken the program to La Paz, Bolivia, Johannesburg, South Africa, West Oakland, CA, and more coming up this year. "The key is not what Levi's is doing in the communities, it's us supporting and amplifying what these people or organizations are doing in the community," says Wolsky.
Branding is minimal with 'Levi's Presents...' at the start of their promotional videos, but you won't see a bunch of gratuitous butt shots to get Levi's branding in there, or excessive logos posted at the parks.
Are they selling more jeans? "It's hard to track," says Wolsky, who adds, "Do people feel better about the brand itself, I think so. It's about those considered purchases when you walk into a sea of denim on a department store floor. Which brand makes you feel the best about purchasing their product?"