Although the Levi’s brand is known for its sturdy yet fashionable denim, it can now be relied on for something else: fighting AIDS/HIV in South Africa. It’s estimated that South Africa could have 5.7 million orphans by 2015. So Levi’s is harnessing the power of social media to support South African-based Thanda.org and its determined leader, Angela Larkan, on its mission to fight poverty in rural Africa. Through the simple act of tweeting the “Go Forth” campagin, people can pledge their support for Angela and Thanda.org while encouraging their friends around the world to do the same. After the jump, find out more about the campaign in a Q&A with Julie Channing, from Levi’s.
The Go Forth Social Media Challenge underscores the theme that “Now Is Our Time.” So, at this point in time, what is the biggest hurdle in overcoming the AIDS/HIV pandemic in South Africa?
Levi’s is connecting with young people around the world with a new global creative platform based on the powerful insight that youth today want to make a difference in the world. We talked to consumers in 13 countries around the globe and resoundingly the themes of youthful optimism and hopefulness for a better tomorrow rang true in all countries. Eighty-two percent of today’s young people believe their generation has the power to change the world—this is a fundamental shift from previous generations. Today, optimism is power and our Go Forth campaign expresses this through the tagline “Now Is Our Time.”
What inspired this project to combat AIDS/HIV in South Africa?
As a company, we view AIDS not simply as a health problem, but a product of—and exacerbated by—pervasive violations of human rights. Because HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects the poor, least educated and most marginalized people, we have pioneered new approaches to eliminate the stigma of the disease and promote advocacy for those afflicted. Angela Larkan’s Thanda After School Program caught the attention of our hearts and inspired our company to help this modern-day pioneer shine a brighter spotlight on a worldwide pandemic.
How many lives will be directly impacted by this project?
Through the Levi’s brand’s support of Angela Larkan, the Thanda Primary Education program is able to feed and educate 145 children for another year.
What, in your opinion, is the most interesting dimension of this project?
This is a new chapter in the company’s 138-year history and the culmination of several years of rejuvenation for the brand. In recent years, the Levi’s brand has engaged with a new generation of Levi’s consumers, and the rapid growth of social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter has made it easier than ever for them to share their affinity for the brand with friends. The fact that the Go Forth message is inspiring consumers around the globe to take action and show support for pioneers like Angela Larkan through their social graph is a testament to their commitment to making the world a better place.
Why did you choose Facebook as a platform and how has it helped you spread the word?
The interconnected Facebook community allows Levi’s to drive global awareness and support of modern pioneers far beyond U.S. borders. Launching the Levi’s Legacy film and online challenge exclusively on Facebook enables Levi’s to motivate our 7.4 million fans to take action as our Go Forth rally cry and optimistic message “now is our time” is shared around the world. Through Levi’s Facebook page, people can make a significant impact by pledging their support for pioneers like Angela and share their intentions with friends around the world.
How will the campaign live on after November?
Go Forth is not merely a campaign; it’s inherent to who we are as a brand and what we stand for. As such, we will continue to celebrate and support the modern heroes of our time and ask our fans to join us in doing so along the way. We plan to evolve the platform as the conversation continues and look for ways to feature a variety of pioneers around the globe, as well as give our fans opportunities to spotlight those around them who are leading the charge in making the world to their liking.