Friday, 15 April 2011

The Diesel Brand and the Cult of Stupidity

The Diesel brand was born more than 20 years ago and is today an innovative international design company, manufacturing jeans and casual clothing as well as accessories. It is present in over 80 countries with 10,000 points of sale and almost 50 company-owned stores.  

From the very beginning, Diesel’s design team rejected the slavish trend-following typical of the fashion industry, turned their backs on the style-dictators and consumer forecasters of the fashion establishment and let their own tastes lead them. In short, the company viewed the world as a single, border-less macro-culture. Today Diesel is a global brand with a consolidated annual turnover of 575 billion Lire (US$ 330 millions), 85% of which is generated outside Italy.

From an agency standpoint, we can only imagine that working on a Diesel campaign would be a great deal of fun.  The Diesel brand seems to acknowledge the stupidity of brands at large (and life and general) becoming a parody and caricature of itself - a mirror to the absurdity of the human condition.  

The essence of all Diesel creative is fun, clever innovation with a touch of mischief - and despite being a global brand Diesel's 'Be Stupid' campaign has provided some breakthrough work in different markets around the world.  You may remember Diesel’s ‘Safe For Work Fruity Porn’ (below) or the recent ‘Diesel Island’ campaign.

The latest example is Diesel’s recent promotion of its footwear in Japan. Diesel wanted to offer consumers a chance to enjoy being stupid, while communicating a 'kick ass' theme to its young, fashion-conscious target audience. So what’s so different about Diesel shoes?  You guessed it. They are superior for 'kicking ass’.  So how do they evidence this simple insight while generating buzz and peaking interest across social networks?

If Diesel sneakers were made for kicking ass (a cultural faux-pas in Japan) then the most obvious choice was to give shoppers the opportunity to test the brand's claim.  A 'Kick Ass Hall' was built at the Nagisa Music Festival where Diesel turned the idea of ‘kicking ass’ into a game. In said game, participants competed to see how far they could kick a willing volunteer (dubbed 'the Asser') down a short track.  

The incentive? A pair of Diesel sneakers of course to the contestant who succeeded in kicking the Asser the farthest down the track.  We should note that the role of ‘Asser’ came with an attractive remuneration package of ¥50,000 per day and the ‘Asser’ recruitment exercise served to generate even more PR hype before the event.

  • The ‘Asser’ recruitment story was ranked the top new story for several days on Mixi news, the largest social network in Japan. 
  • PR coverage equivalent to more than ¥30,000,000, was generated during the course of the campaign, which included coverage in both online and print.
  • More than 3,300 tweets were received during the campaign phase.
  • Diesel received more than 4,960 applications from prospective ‘Assers’
  • All activities generated buzz and product interest all while reinforcing the brand attributes.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


THE BIG PICTURE?  Agencies are increasingly incorporating tech talent into the creative process and building tech expertise inside and outside client relationships in order to produce integrated campaigns that effectively use social media, apps, mobile and viral video.

The Desperados YouTube Experience – it’s ├╝ber Social, viral, interactive and extremely well executed across multiple properties – Site 

Morgan Spurlock’s TED Talk - naturally, Spurlock put the naming rights to this TED speech up for bid on eBay—and got a company to pay $7,100 - Video 

GM is taking the extra step to start a conversation and interact with fans with a personalized presence at SXSW - Faces of GM

Here’s a great example of branded utility - Belgium's Flair Magazine's Facebook App lets women tag a friend's outfit and ask where she got it – Video Overview 

Radio Shack discusses how their Foursquare fans typically spend three-and-a-half times more compared to what their non-Foursquare customers spend - ClickZ 

Hyundai Accent's 3D Projection Mapping integrates the car into the installation – Video 

Skittles' new "Touch the Rainbow" campaign features a variety of interactive videos on their YouTube channel, including the viral "Touch: Cat" video - brandchannel 

Xbox Kinect’s 'Design your own Souvenir' - of YOU! Using openFrameworks and openKinect, in combination with 3 Xbox Kinect’s, this installation delivered a 360 degree point cloud that could then be extruded in real time with a 3D printer – Video Overview 

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is engaging with fans directly on Foursquare, Twitter, and YouTube. Recently, they changed their flight schedule to accommodate a fan's tweet request and the result was a world record, in-flight dance party - Social Times 

RED BULL's STREET ART VIEW – Using Google Street View to showcase street art (i.e. graffiti) all over the globe. Tag your favorite spot, share it with friends and help build the world's largest art collection – Site 

"Best in Class" finalists for Bazaarvoice's 2011 Social Commerce Summit include RUBBERMAID, 3M, DOMINO'S, ESTEE LAUDER COMPANIES, HP, AND MACY'S -  Social Commerce Summit

Clients From Hell – An online collection of anonymously contributed client horror stories from designers – Site 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, share their uses for social media ranging from project updates to recruiting purposes - SmartBlogs 

The GOAB TV Experience - This app transforms your handset (tablet/mobile) into a socially and commercially-enabled TV remote. The app brings the possibility of user interaction within television to life with a look at how social integration may work in the future – Video 

HYPER ISLAND get creative about getting their students agency internships with an iApp and a website (launching tomorrow) at - App Overview 

State Farm has launched a new social networking page for Latinos on Facebook that features bilingual posts and partnerships with and Tu Musica - MediaPost 

'Seattle's Best' (Starbucks subsidiary) is hosting a live 24-hour show dubbed the "Declare Your Level Show" with famed comedy troupe Second City - Article 

Scholz & Volkmer (Berlin) are launching a new campaign for Adidas where they are staging a live “interactive” online competition for 5 days where FB fans will be able to control everything a German player does (who wants to become the 12th man of FC Bayern) – Website 

GameStop is launching a Facebook-based store called ShopStore that will allow fans to browse merchandise and make purchases directly from the Facebook application - CNET 

Clever Chromaroma turns London's transport infrastructure turned into a dynamic multiplayer gameplay experience – Video Overview 

Research in Motion is giving away a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to the fan with the best haiku submitted on Twitter - Twitter 

REI share how they are using location-based check-ins to build relationships and drive sales - Vimeo

Have Case Studies or other examples to share?  Join us on Facebook and post or e-mail us and we'd be happy to do so.