Walt Whitman for Levi’s

whitman 001In a brilliant move, advertising firm Weiden+Kennedy enlisted the help of the most American of poets, Walt Whitman, to introduce a viral campaign for Levi’s Go Forth” campaign. It positions the denim retailer as the most American of clothing companies. Two videos shot for the campaign feature Whitman’s poetry.

Borrowing selections from his seminal work Leaves of Grass, the first spot showed on cinema screens this summer. “America” includes a wax cylinder recording of the poem read, many believe, by Whitman himself.

The second comes from a newly rereleased recording of Leaves of Grass from 1957, courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. The voice heard on the track “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” is that of actor Will Geer, then a member of The University Players. Geer went on to play Whitman in a 1966 Broadway production of Richard Baldridge’s We, Comrades Three based on the poet’s work.

LOLA Walt Whitman T Shirt*In other news: To show their appreciation of Whitman, NY-based LOLA offers a T-shirt with a loving tribute.

Read the full text of “America.”

Read the full text of “Pioneers! O Pioneers!”

Read more about the Go Forth campaign.


Walt Whitman, 1819-1892