Stupid Is As Stupid Does at Diesel


Sometimes a movie or an ad campaign makes it too easy for critics. For example, a terrible film titled The Bomb is just begging for the obvious pun. Such is the case with fashion label Diesel’s latest campaign “Be Stupid.” But that doesn’t mean stupid doesn’t work.

“Be Stupid.” That seems to be the entirety of Diesel’s brand marketing. Forget “Keep it Simple, Stupid.” Think: “Keep it Stupid. Simple!”[more]

Witness a video accompanying the campaign at Diesel’s microsite states, “Like Balloons. We are filled with hopes and dreams. But over time a single sentence creeps into our lives. Don’t be stupid. It’s the crusher of possibility. It’s the world’s greatest deflator. The world is full of smart people doing all kinds of smart things. That’s smart. Well, we’re with stupid. Stupid is the relentless pursuit of a regret free life. Smart may have Smart may have the brains but stupid has the balls. Smart recognizes things for how they are. Stupid sees things for how they could be. The fact is if we didn’t have stupid thoughts we’d have no interesting thoughts at all… It’s not smart to take risks. It’s stupid. Only stupid can be truly brilliant.”

It’s either aspiring to be the Chauncey the Gardener of brands, or Diesel has a whip-smart copy-writing team.

Diesel’s “be stupid” message of risk-taking in the pursuit of greatness seems disjointed from the “be stupid” messages of the campaign’s images. One ad features a man with his head stuck in a post office box (below). Hardly the “stupid” of genius.

Some of the campaign posters (which have won Cannes awards), have been banned over concerns of lewdness. These include a woman flashing her breasts at CCTV cameras and another photographing down her bikini bottoms with a lion. If you must, take a (mildly NSFW) peek here.

Diesel, perhaps following its own advice about being bold and stupid, defending the two ads as “a very strong and unexpected image of femininity.”

Yet, if young consumers are stupid and don’t pay any attention to the incongruity of the campaign visuals and the messaging, Diesel may have an attention-grabbing campaign going. It’s undeniable that many of the posters produce a chuckle.

But then this is just a critique, and as Diesel tells us, “Smart critiques. Stupid creates.”


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