Advertising The Litm(us)an Test

Diesel says: Be Stupid

Jeans brands love a manifesto. Diesel has a new one, which is a call to arms to, um… Be Stupid.

Summed up in the film above, the new manifesto basically sees ‘stupid’ pitted against ‘smart’, with smart in this context meaning stuffy, risk-averse, geeky, while ‘stupid’ means brave, daring, and creative. “To be stupid is to be brave, when you risk something, that’s stupid,” says the manifesto. “The stupid aren’t afraid to fail. Why? Because they’re stupid! We think that you are probably pretty stupid too.”

The manifesto includes reference to Renzo Rosso, the founder of Diesel, who built his manufacturing empire by initially selling jeans that looked secondhand. “Renzo Rosso is stupid,” says the Be Stupid manifesto. “Stupid is motoring around in your Ford transit and visiting shop owner after shop owner, trying to sell your brand new denim made to look worn. ‘It’s a sign of innovation. When you are already doing the things nobody even thinks about.’ That’s a very stupid quote, Mister Rosso. Respect.”

The campaign is backed up by a series of posters (a selection of which are shown here) shot by photographers Kristin Vicari, Melodie McDaniel and Chris Buck, each showing examples of people ‘acting stupid’. In addition to this, Diesel are trying to recruit ‘stupid people’ (though judging by the call for entries, which asks if you “are you doing something particuarly stupid right now…like starting a band, building a tree house or creating an art installation”, are in fact simply creative people) to be part of a forthcoming music video that will feature the new Diesel collection.

Created by Anomaly (who recently picked up the Sony account from Fallon), the campaign certainly takes a more bombastic approach than previous Diesel campaigns, which have been more noteworthy for their style than their taglines. But while it may be eyecatching, when we’re all fed a regular diet of genuine stupidity via the media and TV most days already, will the ‘Be Stupid’ tag just prove grating? Or is everyone in fact longing to out themselves as stupid to Diesel?

The full Be Stupid campaign can be viewed online here.

What dyu reckon? I like it. But then don’t really understand the link between being stupid and buying Diesel. Or maybe I shouldn’t take things so matter of fact. Would I be stupid for buying Diesel because of its astronomically premium pricing? Or are they wanting people to be stupid? Are they trying to make the notion of being stupid a positive thing? And how can people advocate buying Diesel products if its seen as being stupid? The messaging can be construed so many ways. Overall, I’m leaning closer towards fail but I might be horribly overthinking it all.

Then I think I started to get it a bit more after a friend had this to say.. Still odd though.

No jeans at all in that video ad, interesting. I kind of get what they are doing – they are supporting creativity and chance takers over the boring, well thought out approaches.  Its like an antidote to the current conservative thinking.  If you’re Diesel, you are an exciting, interesting chancer, rather than a predictable smartypants.

5 replies on “Diesel says: Be Stupid”

Well its got us all talking. Yes mostly about how its left us all feeling a bit cold. Diesel used to unnerve me, question me as a brand. Now it makes me feel like a twat. Not a good edgy shoreditch twat but an actual idiot for championing them.

I think its great that all the young ad students will love it, it'll get the ad agency a lot of attention but ultimately its made me thing DIESEL isn't a brand i'd like. They had such highs with SFW porn and the only the brave work.

Now its gone for high school humour. Next we'll see crudely drawn cocks with “only the stupid – DIESEL”

It's a good campaign, hats off to Anomaly and to the client for having the stones to go with it. I especially like 'Smart has brains, Stupid has balls'. However there is one pitfall – which in fairness they probably did consider. Only a stupid person would buy Diesel jeans. And I mean, really stupid. Not in the free-thinking way – as in 'more money than sense'.

However, upside is, said idiots will love the ad and will probably make a date to go jeans shopping at Diesel this very weekend! Crazy stupid!!

I think win. They are harking back to their original brand values and setting themselves apart from the pack. Similar thinking to this samsung advert; where ‘Impatience is a virtue’- its the people who are ‘impatient’ and ‘stupid’ that the consumer will want to identify with, as they are having the most fun.

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