Saturday, January 30, 2010

Diesel Jeans are Wicked Stupid

We’ve spent much time discussing advertising that is either rational/intellectual in its orientation, meaning that it contains useful information that is intended to help consumers make purchase decisions, or advertising that is emotional, meaning that it tugs on your heart strings in order to make a connection to the consumer with the idea that consumers are likely to purchase products and services to which they feel the closest and with which they identify themselves e.g. “I’m a PC or I’m a Mac.”

Now comes Diesel, best known for their jeans, with an ad campaign that beckons the consumer to be stupid. In fact, that’s the tag line: “Be Stupid.” The idea behind the campaign is summed up in a copy line from one of the ads: “Smart listens to the head. Stupid listens to the heart.” The implication, I think, is that listening to the head, isn’t much fun. Listening to the heart, however, can be. In other words, feeling is much easier than thinking. The campaign continuously plays on this theme by developing constructs for us: brains vs. balls; what is vs. what could be; plans vs. stories; and no vs. yes. Each of these suggests the same thing – decisions are better left to the emotions. Not a particularly original message, but one that upon review of the campaign you might find engaging.

If advertisers can dislodge us from our rational selves (if you even believe there is one?) they are better able to manipulate our emotions. Feelings are fickle, but rational thought is not. Nudging consumers into an emotional corner is, if fact, the goal of much advertising that seeks to contain and control the consumer.


Meghan said...

I agree that the point of advertising is to grasp the emotional side of the consumer. We learned that the emotional side is better to reach the the rational side. Advertisers want there product to become a "lovemark" to the consumer. However, in Diesel's case, this ad neither reaches my emotional or rational side. I find this ad to be stupid. Why would I want to buy a pair of jeans that I will feel stupid about after buying? Why would I want buyers remorse? That is the idea I got from this ad. I don't find it a good advertising strategy to tell consumers to be stupid. Furthermore, there is not even a picture of the jeans on the ad so someone who doesn't even know about these jeans could be very confused. They may be wondering, "who makes an ad like that for Diesel fuel?" Either way, this jean company needs to find a new slogan and a new ad if they expect consumers to start buying.

Keyan said...

I was going to do my blog post on this campaign when I saw it at I just honestly did not know where to start on such a topic. Two girls with their butt's poked through a smiley face and a tag line that says "were with stupid". I did not feel I had the capacity to try to dissect, and analyze this new campaign to see where the appeal is.

Bottom Line- I think this stuff will get moved quickly out of the Nordstrom's and Bloomingdales's... and straight to TJ Maxx, which isn't a huge loss for me since I go there a lot anyway.

Anonymous said...

I personally like this advertising campaign, because as you describe well in the blog sometimes advertisers attract consumers with sayings and phrases that bring back certain memories or in some instances create an emotion. When I initially read the advertisement for Diesel I immediately thought they were trying to target my age group as a consumer. To be “young and stupid” appeals to the adolescent consumer, and especially those who have certain mentality. A common conception about youth and adolescence is that it is a time of learning. Making mistakes is almost a necessary part of living and learning, growing and maturing. Diesel is using this concept to attract those who embrace this mentality. They want you to wear their products while growing and maturing, and essentially they are promoting immature behavior. Overall as advertising strategy, I think it will be successful for Diesel.

Jojoseph said...

I totally agree with the points Meghan made about the Diesel advertisement. I was thinking, what if I was a tourist who didn't know who or what Diesel was, how would I take this advertisement? I would probably bypass it thinking its a practical joke. Is that what advertisers are trying to do with their ads, make a practical joke out of themselves and the product? Yes, it is true every brand wants their brand to be a lovemark to a consumer, but I feel like people don't want to feel like their less of a person when wearing the brand. The last time I checked calling someone stupid was not a good pitch idea to get them to buy your product. I thought the idea of selling a product that people can feel connected to and relatable to was trying to be established. Diesel, you guys need to go back to the drawing board. I just read the title of the ad again "Diesel Jeans are wicked Stupid" and it makes me think of a slang term used in the show Rocket Power, which was used to say something was "hot" or "awesome." I know I don't use that term "wicked" because it wasn't apart of my culture.

mchenkels said...

In class we talked about how the advertising trend has been moving from rational to emotional in bringing in the customer and I think this is a perfect example. Diesel Jeans asks the consumer to “be stupid,” which catches their attention because why would a company tell someone to be stupid, especially if it connects with the product. When you look further look into the campaign you start to understand that they’re saying to just live your life how you want. Be creative, live on the edge, don’t dissect everything you do and decide what’s right and wrong. They use lines such as “Stupid might fail. Smart doesn’t even try.” I’m not completely sure what it has to do with choosing their jeans but it does catch the customers’ attention and cause awareness of the brand. Whether they actually buy the jeans or now think that diesel is a cheap brand and would be a "stupid" purchase is up to them.

Anonymous said...

I also agree with Meghan. Though the ad is definitely one to grab the attention, the way in which it grabs our attention is not really a positive one. "Be stupid" goes against everything we have learned, and chances are that if you ask someone what their opinion of the word "stupid" is, it's going to be a negative connotation. I almost feel that in a way, our intelligence is being underminded; that we obviously know better than to "be stupid." There are plenty of other ways to advertise going against the grain and doing something different, but this one is doomed to fail, despite its innovation.