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The ads encourage Diesel consumers to liberate themselves from the safety nets that society weaves around them
The Italian jeans brand, Diesel, has arrived in India. And its current core advertising ideology across the world is ‘Be Stupid’. That’s the message Diesel wants to pass on to the young gen, its key target audience in India, as well.
Here’s the concept behind the stupid idea: In order to create its own unique, irreverent brand identity, Diesel ads encourage youngsters to indulge in juvenile, often vulgar behaviour. That’s because they consider ‘Smart’ to be safe, dull and boring. One Diesel ad features a girl flashing at a security camera, and you can clearly see her nipples. Another one shows a woman taking a photo of her vagina in front of a lion. And so on.
Does it work? Yes, and how! Most controversial ads do. But it also works on a subliminal level; Diesel encourages its consumers to liberate themselves from the safety nets that society weaves around them. No doubt, a very appealing thought. However, the issue is, did this idea have to be expressed with pictures of teenagers behaving obnoxiously in public places? Could ‘Be Stupid’ not have been depicted with people breaking rules to make a difference around them? For example, something like what Mahatma Gandhi did? To chuck the Brits out using means that in today’s world would be considered very stupid? Aah, but that route won’t get the ads to get noticed and be talked about, would it? But a dumb bimbette flashing her breasts to a CCTV does. And Diesel knows that only too well.
In that context, I think Diesel in on the right track, whatever the level of offence to nice uncles and aunties. They get a much bigger bang for every buck they spend, all because of some shockingly outlandish advertising. And this creates a unique identity for the brand. Makes it hip, makes it cool and most importantly, makes ‘stupid’ into a style statement.
But now comes the bummer. There’s a fear the campaign won’t work in India. With our moral police on the prowl to sniff out the most harmless mischiefs, such raunchy stuff stands no chance of survival. Already, Diesel’s initial ads in India are very tame, which therefore means ‘Be Stupid’ entirely loses its potency.
I think it’s a mistake. Some court cases and some shattered shop-window panes would have got Diesel free coverage all over the media. ‘Chastised’, Diesel could then have diluted the campaign, by which time, of course, the nation and its granny would have known of the brand. Sadly, Diesel failed to practice what they preach. They have gone smart in India, when they ought to have been stupid.