Shakespeare's Bottom pinched by Levi admen
Its stylish adverts have helped to launch -or relaunch - the careers of countless actors and musicians over the past two decades. From Marvin Gaye to The Clash, Nick Kamen to a struggling young actor called Brad Pitt, many have enjoyed the benefit of the so-called "Levi's effect".
Now the jeans manufacturer is to give William Shakespeare's career a boost after turning to the Bard for its latest television campaign.
Amanda Sudano is Titania in the new Levi's advertisement
In a marked departure from its usual formula of using pop music soundtracks to create a cool, rebellious image, Levi's new advert is an excerpt from Shakespeare's romantic comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream, complete with original Shakespearean dialogue.
The commercial, to be launched on Valentine's Day, is based on Act III Scene 1 of the play and stars Amanda Sudano, daughter of the Seventies disco diva Donna Summer, as Titania. It shows a romantic encounter between Bottom and Titania, queen of the fairies, set in contemporary Los Angeles.
Although the language is complex and archaic, Levi's says it is not worried that it will go over the heads of young jeans buyers.
"I think we underestimate young people today. Our research shows that they understand it immediately," said Kenny Wilson, brand president for Levi's Europe.
He said that Levi's chose A Midsummer Night's Dream as the basis for its new advertisement to be different and stand out: "It demonstrates independence and freedom of thought. Young people appreciate the fact that it's not the same as anything else on television."
Levi's is hoping the £21 million campaign will help reverse a seven-year decline which has seen its sales plummet by 42 per cent.
Industry experts say the company has been hit by a series of unpredictable changes in taste.
"For a period in the late Nineties denim became unfashionable," said Louise Foster, of the fashion trade magazine Draper's Record. "501s - Levi's flagship brand - in particular suffered from the so-called `Jeremy Clarkson effect', the association with men in middle youth.
"But when demand for denim returned Levi's found itself caught between cheap jeans and cooler, more expensive designer brands such as Diesel."
In the ad, Bottom exits a factory walking past a gang of older men wearing unfashionably high-waisted jeans. One of the men says, "Bottom, thou art changed, what do I see on thee?", as he grabs Bottom's loose fit 501s.
The focus switches to Titania, a waitress sweeping up in a cafe, who says: "What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?" She is mysteriously drawn out on to the street towards Bottom, exclaiming, "Mine eye is enthralled to thy shape". The ad ends with Titiana whispering to Bottom: "I love thee."