the Organisation to Act:
A Business in Denial
Levi Strauss Europe
From the day Nick Kamen walked into a laundrette in
1985 through to the mid 90s, Levi Strauss & Co enjoyed unprecedented growth
year after year, stimulated by the Original Jeans ad campaign, one of the best
ad campaigns every tracked by Millward Brown.
Throughout this period the sole focus was on how to
make 501 jeans look fresh and exciting every six months in the next ad campaign.
Increasingly, the Levis brand became synonymous with the 501 jeans for
(initially) good and for (increasingly) worse, as the steam began to go out of
both the product and the brand.
As a company, Levi Strauss settled comfortably into a
work style where double digit growth on an annual basis became accepted as a
natural state of affairs. Beating the sales plan was normal. Consumer
insight was the exclusive domain of a handful of designers, and product
innovation was essentially expressed through new ways of communicating 501 jeans
which represented in excess of 60% of all sales in bottoms. Increasingly, we
allowed our focus to wander away from consumers and the market place to internal
supply chain issues and how to better reward ourselves for the great work we
were achieving remember the one year extra salary all Levi Strauss employees
were to receive some time around now? Well.. needless to say, that never