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  • Levi’s® South Africa

The Task:

Transform a generation with good ideas and slim job prospects into a generation of self-sustainable entrepreneurs and world-beaters.



Our Role:

Based on the brand success and social impact of the five year old Red For Life HIV prevention campaign, Levi’s® challenged Matchboxology to identify a new corporate social opportunity touchpoint for their next generation of South African consumers.

The MBX team embarked on a nationwide deep dive across university campuses and township street corners and heard young South Africans obsessed about entering an economy with few jobs and formidable global competition. They feared school hadn’t prepared them to become tomorrow’s productive citizens. They faced cultural barriers to creating startups. Entrepreneurial role models were absent from their schools and communities. Yet our ethnographers found them to be incredibly positive, creative, passionate and determined to control their own destiny.

High intensity Cape Town and Johannesburg brainstorm sessions with teams of Levi’s staff together with high profile young influencials converted deep dive insights into walls full of creative communications possibilities, unique app concepts, edutainment portals designs and experiential events to consider.

Pioneer Nation gives Levi’s a vehicle to inspire and emotionally/intellectually equip modern youth to follow in the entrepreneurial footsteps of legendary pioneers like Levi Strauss.

In 2014, we curated 40 young entrepreneurs (all under the age of 35) in a unique one-day Pioneer Nation Festival. Nearly 500 Levi’s fans networked together while absorbing the true backstories of perseverance, passion and pride from a complete diversity of South Africa’s young for-profit and social enterprise entrepreneurs.

2015’s Festival saw nearly 1000  participants immersed in a full day of young entrepreneur speakers across 3 stages with workshop from Facebook, Red Bull’s Amaphiko Social Entrepreneurs Academy, South Africa icon Shaka Sisulu and Fast Company Magazine. Video:


Pioneer Nation also launched its unique partnership with African Leadership Academy; extending their highly successful entrepreneurship curriculum and inspiring network of African entrepreneurs to Levi’s® consumers.

The long-term purpose of Pioneer Nation is to fill unique gaps that measurably contribute to greater economic self-sufficiency amongst Levi’s core audience of under 25-year-olds while building strong brand bonds and loyalty.


  • Project born from interviews with nearly 3000 young adults
  • 95% of year one festival participants would definitely/probably come back next year.
  • 78% rated the pilot Pioneer Nation Festival 8 or higher (on a scale of 10)
  • 35% of participants owned business already—47% had business idea ready to launch
  • 3500 online views of featured Young Pioneers films
  • The Festival generated ZAR 4 mil in earned media value for Levi’s®
  • Established a strong brand partnership with the African Leadership Academy
  • Photo Gallery: