Profile: Gareth Cooper

Feb 3, 2003  •  Post A Comment

A cynic, or a bitter media planner, might suggest that the reason so relatively little is written about Super Bowl advertising after the event is that too many clients and their agencies discover $2.1 million is too much to pay for 30 seconds in the spotlight.
Sure, there is a lot about which creative executions everyone loved, but for every Pepsi “Osbournes” there is a Myfico.com.
Who? Exactly.
So do the numbers really stack up?
Gareth Cooper has no doubt. As associate media director on Levi’s at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, he placed a slot just before half-time to launch Levi’s new range of Type 1 jeans. Although the Levi’s had been in the Bowl twice before, it is not an obvious Bowl advertiser.
Levi’s does not create the kind of advertising that wins Super Bowl popularity contests, such as USA Today’s morning-after poll. There are no celebrities, no fluffy animals, no crass humor. Instead there is sex appeal, usually of the broody, moody kind. So did it work?
“The Super Bowl is the only way to reach such numbers of our target audience of young people with one hit,” a happy Mr. Cooper said. “We got a 62 percent share of 12- to 24-year-olds. We were 13 percent up on what we were promised.” The Nielsen Media Research figures were 88 million total viewers for the game.
The slot before half-time was secured for another old-fashioned reason: to link with an online promotion
The Gold Rush, an online treasure hunt, was created to promote Levi’s 150th anniversary, Mr. Cooper said. It began in early January, and more than 1 million unique visitors have visited the site since then. The final clue was revealed as an Arcuate (Levi’s stitching design) in the eye of one of the buffalo in the spot. Because the spot aired before the half-time show, participants could go online and respond during the show and not miss any of the game.
The prize in the competition was the world’s most expensive pair of jeans: $150,000 Type 1s.
Mr. Cooper stressed it is the national rollout of the brand in stores this week that made the Super Bowl and the subsequent campaign (print launches in Sports Illustrated’s February swimwear issue) such a natural fit.
“We would not have been true to Levi’s to just appeal to the morning-after crowd,” Mr. Cooper said. “We knew the spot would get immediate traction. And it was a benefit to stand out. It’s been a smashing success for us.”