This year, Levi’s began a collaboration with the Borough of Braddock that has brought in some much needed infrastructure help and countless dollars worth of free positive public relations including millions of dollars in ads featuring the Borough and a film telling its story. The last Independent Film Channel airing of the film “Ready to Work: Portraits of Braddock” comes tonight at 6:30. After that it will move to the Sundance Channel for airings October 1st and 14th, and November 5th. The film has been well received and so have the ads. The billboards can be seen not only in the Pittsburgh area but also in major markets across the country. TV ads are also being aired and can be found online. Each of the ads feature Levi’s clothing and actual Borough residents. Among those residents appearing in the ads and featured in the film is Jeb Feldman. Feldman is the proprietor of UnSmoke, an art collective in Braddock that engages people to help bring local residents together to revitalize urban infrastructure. “It more about the revitalization of Braddock than it is about art.” Says Feldman. He says Braddock’s future lies in the hands of the real work its citizens and friends can put into rebuilding the town. Feldman was at first skeptical about Levi’s plans but he says when Braddock Mayor John Fetterman put his support behind the idea, he new it was a good offer. Fetterman has worked to make sure Levi’s has placed the Borough in a positive light. Feldman says the partnership has been “great” and he says the response to the ads has been wonderful.
The company says, “The citizens of Braddock are people who have decided to get their hands (and their jeans) dirty and take control of their destinies. Though these new pioneers still face obstacles, they are ‘going to work’; whether the world is offering them jobs or not, they are making it happen for themselves.” Along with the ads and the film, Levi’s has made investments in Braddock’s library, urban farm project and community center.