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  • Levi Strauss South Africa & LS&CO Global

The Task:

Increase the local and global impact of the company’s HIV/AIDS social responsibility programme.



Our Role:

We began by identifying ignorance as the biggest barrier to delivering an improved and measurable outcome.

Matchboxology instigated a deep dive with top scientists, public health officials, NGOs and leading academics to understand the South African HIV epidemic.

Armed with truth, Matchboxology proposed a shift from foundation based care and treatment philanthropy to contributing the company’s most valuable asset (the brand & consumer clout) to HIV prevention.

Levi’s Red For Life completely redesigned the relationship between brand and cause by establishing HIV prevention behaviours as the measurable Corporate Social Responsibility outcome.

Matchboxology amplified the brand’s impact by initiated collaborations with highly influential celebrities and musicians and public private partnerships with Population Services International, Johns Hopkins Health Education South Africa & international donors PEPFAR/USAID.

The Red For Life programme (no relation to Bono’s RED initiative) created celebrity adverts, animated short films, branded condoms, documentaries, digital ethnography and cool to stimulate meaningful HIV prevention dialogue with young adults.

Co-branded mobile Levi’s HIV Counseling & Testing “villages” were deployed nationwide—to date over 400,000 Levi’s fans have accessed HIV tests through this initiative.

Over 1 million Levi’s “Brandoms” have been distributed free of charge at campuses, clubs and concerts.

Levi’s “Rage for the Revolution” Concerts brought together supportive musicians, TV/radio stations and fans in celebration of HIV prevention revolution. These giant concerts pioneered “rewarded” behaviour by making HIV testing the only way to access tickets.


Over 1 million Levi’s Brandoms® distributed during 4 year programme

450,000 individuals Counseled & Tested for HIV in Levi’s/New Start mobile villages

Measurable Brand Health contribution: >30% spontaneous campaign awareness amongst Levi’s target consumer. 78% rating as “cool for brand”

3rd highest rating in 2006 for a TV documentary (SABC1: Unzipped” 2006)

>10,000 festival participants in National Rage For The Revolution concerts (price of admission=Personal HIV test)

47 high profile music artists trained in celebrity RFL HIV prevention workshops

Gold Loerie 2010 (Inaugural Ubuntu Award Winner for best socially responsible brand campaign)

Global Business Coalition on HIV & AIDS: Gold Winner: 2009

Sold out World AIDS Day RFL custom collaboration clothing ranges 2006--2009

Featured in presentations as Best Practice Public Private Partnership: PBS Documentary, SA Clinicians Society, USAID/PEPFAR regional and global conferences, SA AIDS conference, International AIDS Conference

What the client saw:

  • 10:1 Amplification of Brand Marketing Spend to Audience Reach
  • Measurable Growth in Brand Health and Employee Pride
  • World First Public Private Co-Branded HIV & AIDS Prevention Campaign
  • South African Advertising Festival Gold Loerie for Outstanding Social Contribution by a Brand
  • Innovation in Product Design

What Matchboxology saw:

  • The ideal opportunity to demonstrate the marketing impact of Corporate Social Opportunity philosophy and actions
  • Mutually beneficial brand/cause with measurable returns for both
  • New levels of marketing spend amplification
  • The need for evidence-based strategic and creative innovation


Photo Gallery: