Skip to main content

Levi’s New Campaign Stars College Athletes

Levi’s tapped local talent for its new campaign for the 541 Athletic Taper jean.

The Bay Area brand tapped San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle to showcase the versatility of the relaxed fit jean designed to give an athletic wearer mobility, comfort and style. The jean features more room in the seat and thigh and a slightly tapered leg that “doesn’t constrict or impede the movement of an athletically built guy.”

To highlight how the jean is both “made to move” and “made to chill,” the campaign centers on a day of activities spanning a BBQ and fishing to an “afternoon throwing the ball around.”

College players Michael Mayer, Cameron Latu, and Erick All star alongside Kittle. This marks the first time Levi’s is taking part in the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) space. Instituted last year, NIL allows college athletes to make money off their name, image, and likeness.

The campaign was shot at Nashville, Tenn.’s Tight End University, a skills camp set up by Kittle, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and former Seattle Seahawks tight end Greg Olson in 2021 to help NFL tight ends improve their game.

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle and college athletes star in Levi's new campaign for the 541 Athletic Taper jean.
Kittle with Michael Mayer, Cameron Latu, and Erick All Courtesy

Athletes’ stars are rising in denim as brands seeks ways to show how they cater to different body types.

Levi’s recently dropped a second collaboration with tennis superstar Naomi Osaka. The brand also featured a number of athletes in its 501 Originals campaign in 2021, which in addition to Osaka included NBA point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and English soccer star Marcus Rashford.

In January, Hudson kicked off its 20th anniversary celebrations with a partnership with NBA star Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat. Sene partnered with Peloton instructor Emma Lovewell last November to bring attention to the brand’s custom offerings and ease the sense of frustration felt among the fitness-focused group. Similarly, custom denim brand Neems tapped U.S. Olympian hammer thrower Dawn Ellerbe to help relaunch the label last year.

According to Mark Foxton, Levi’s head of global partnerships and collaborations, now is the time for brands to harness the power of athletes as brand ambassadors. “Athletes allow us to engage with a different customer, inclusive of not only sports fans but fashion as well,” he said. “Now more than ever, athletes are amplifying their individuality and self-expression through their fashion.”