America, the Scratchy and Submerged

Wow, maybe I’m just not getting it. Or maybe the world has just become a much darker and grimmer place than I want to admit.

But this elegiac new Levi’s “Go Forth” commercial is yet another patriotic ad execution (I wrote about New Balance last week) that leaves me feeling cold and dispirited rather than inspired.

The poem is Walt Whitman’s “America.” And that’s an old wax recording of the poet’s voice. Sounds promising, especially given the rousing “Go Forth” theme. But merged with these images, the only thing I want to do is “go forth” and get a drink. (Whitman would heartily disapprove.)

Is this commercial direction run amok? Or is it capturing a genuine spirit of the times? (And, if so, does it sell jeans?)

Take a look at this second ad in the series, based on Whitman’s “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” before you make up your mind. Doesn’t this work far better; or, then again, is it just me?