History behind a Favorite Ad

I first saw my favorite ad on mute, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Perhaps you know the one: America, from Levi’s Go Forth Campaign. Visual poetry plucking at your soul strings vs your pocketbook–not your typical digest of capitalism.

Over at Brains On Fire, they shared some historical context that further builds this campaign’s rich pallet:

[…] if you dig, the details are what make the story interesting.

The spots feature poetry written by American poet and writer Walt Whitman (1819-1892). The poetry is inspirational and symbolic, but the intriguing thing about it is the time at which it was being written: Whitman officially published his first round of poems in the mid-1850s, including the popular poem, “Pioneers! O Pioneers!”.

At about the same time, a man named Loeb Strauss had recently moved from New York to California and was working to build a ‘dry goods’ business. We know of him by his nickname, Levi.

And here, over 150 years later, two men, doing completely different things on opposite sides of the country, are brought together in a way that they never would have imagined. Fascinating. History’s twists never cease to amaze me.

So to the folks who took Walt Whitman’s poetry and set it in motion: well done. Even though I like my meat medium rare, I like my commissioned art done well.