The ad features a model on a dark horse coming out of a railroad
tunnel. Stopping her steed in the middle of the tracks as a train
rapidly approaches, she rides directly into the path of a train.
Miraculously, the model manages to fly over a multi-car train without
This is not the first time that a Levis ad has provoked controversy.
Four years ago, Levi produced Train that enticed young people
to create their own cutoffs on the tracks. Operation Lifesaver President
Gerri Hall said, "I don't want to believe that Levi Strauss
would intentionally produce an ad that would influence youth to
put themselves in harm's way. However, this is exactly what this
ad does. It trivialises the dangerous, illegal and all-too-often
tragic activity of playing on railroad tracks."
In a letter addressed to Levis, OL has cited US government figures
showing more than 5,000 pedestrians have been killed since 1990
while trespassing on railroad tracks and property. Modern trains
are quieter than in the past and they cannot stop quickly to swerve
to avoid someone on the tracks.
Four years ago, Levis bowed down to protests and developed an edited
version of the Trains ad. The US Federal Trade Commission
insisted that Levi's edit the portion that demonstrated how to make
shorts out of jeans. Their concern was that teens and pre-teens
would get on the tracks to mimic the ad.