In a series that interviews real people called "What's real," this campaign for Levi includes an awkward, semi-nerdy kid named Dustin, who stands facing the camera and talks.
He says about his dad, "We were talking about my neighbors, because my neighbors hated me and stuff. They didn't like the music I listened to, because I used to listen to my music really loud and dance around in my room. We were talking about how they hated me and stuff. He was like, 'That's just the type of people they are' -- they're like HIM. 'They don't like homosexuals, they think you're a drug user.' I said, 'Dad, they don't know that I'm gay.' He said, "What did you say?!' And I said, 'I mean, they don't know that I do drugs!' And then I'm like, 'I mean...!' "
While Dustin may not be a model representation, his inclusion in the campaign is rare for gay youth.
Another in print, features a black woman holding a sign that says "Don't tell my girlfriend I'm gay."
"We wanted to give youth a voice," a Levi spokesman said. "They were saying some profound and humorous things."
It's a perfect fit for a brand like Levi which, despite its headquarters location in San Francisco and gay-positive employee policies, began a significant gay marketing effort somewhat belatedly.
The denim manufacturer expanded its gay marketing efforts in November 1998, about the same time as the TV ad. Levi created its first gay-specific advertising behind the Dockers brand as an insert to OUT
magazine. It featured profiles of ten openly gay heroes, featuring people like James Dale, whose case against the New Jersey Boy Scouts went to the US Supreme Court.