6 June 2010

Stupidity sells?

For long now I’ve had difficulty finding art in fashion. Fashion has become advertising. Since the eighties it was sex that was selling, but we have apparently entered entirely new era or marketing. In sex saturated society it is now stupidity that sells. No kidding, welcome to the stupidest campaign I’ve ever seen.

A month ago while walking around town with my (not so stupid) boyfriend we ran across the Diesel billboard that said “Be Stupid!”, the moment I saw it I knew I have an article. Oh God, they are starting to breed. Never underestimate stupidity of people in large groups.
I never thought highly of Diesel or their products, but this was the final blow they gave themselves. I just don’t feel stupid enough to ever buy Diesel. Not that I find Diesel to sell fashion, they are making jeans, there is only so much you can design when it comes to jeans. You need to aim at stupidity to renew your brand every now and then when in fact you’re producing confection.

If the attempt of campaign was to equalize stupidity with boldness it failed miserably. Stupid does something new, brave, outrageous, groundbreaking. Only not really. In their adds girls are taking photos of their vaginas (so old – Britney did it, Paris Hilton did it, Lindsey Lohan did it), flashing their boobs, riding bike on a steering wheel, carrying paper bag over your head… Indeed stupid. “Smart may have the brains, but stupid has the balls”. It really does take brainless head to do things that people on their adds are doing, but it don’t take no balls. It takes balls to act smart. Most people already ARE stupid. They don’t need additional encouragement! Everyone can flash their boobs, get drunk or whatever it is those brave new things the stupid are doing.

The campaign I would find new and refreshing would be one that would invite people to actually be smart. But that is difficult. In 21st century and the society that we live in, it actually takes balls to be smart. To believe in something and stick to it no matter what. Being stupid is in fact the easy way around life.
Whoever did this campaign for Diesel in fact shares my opinion on the young people today, 98% of them are just plain stupid. They were not aiming at encouraging people to be bold or creative, they were aiming at those who already are stupid to identify themselves as Diesel people. Stupid campaign is a smart move indeed, since the stupid population is just vast. I predict huge increase in sales profit this year for Diesel. If they had a dollar for every stupid person on this planet, oh my!
Sad truth is that they nowadays make you feel bad for being smart. For long now, smart is not cool. Stupid is. Smart is boring, stupid is fun. Though at least smart doesn’t get you STD.

I like it how a friend of mine compared this campaign to a stupid girl he was once dating. At first she seemed cute and he confused her stupidity for carefree optimism. Only to later realize that she indeed is completely empty shell, shallow, and her optimism was based simply on ignorance. It gets boring very quickly, he told me, and embarrassing.

Stupid campaign reminded me of Zoolander, ultimate mocking of the fashion world. Only difference was that Zoolander was actually done with a surprisingly intelligent approach. At Diesel they didn’t even try. It’s in a way advertising imitating life. When you take a closer look at their adds you’ll realize you’ve met those people, most of them. If you have no talents, if you’re too lazy to work and contribute, just flash your boobs, get drunk and wear Diesel jeans.
Being stupid in fact is not daring, being stupid is being mainstream. The campaign therefore failed at being different and daring, it’s mediocre at best.

In a culture that is oversaturated with youth obsession, superficiality and irresponsible living this campaign isn’t bringing anything new, it is merely stupid.


  1. I am glad to read such an article about this shocking and redundant campaign that is everyday advertised in the tube, on newspapers etc. etc.
    Gosh! what the hell is happening to mankind??
    Well the campaign itself isn't nothing special by itself, but if we put that into a wider "pot" then, in my opinion, we can see that the message we should get is the following:"No need to make an effort to get better in life that most likely is going to be frustrated and/or aim high, just relax and be yourself (stupid), we're (our brand?maybe a 3rd party) gonna love you anyway and you'll have the whole strenght of our brand on your side."

    I am sorry to say that i think this campaign is anticipating the future and tracing its guidelines:being stupid makes you happier, less critic towards events surrounding you and therefore much more controllable by anyone.AND IT'S COOL!
    It would really be the time for a new (cultural, political, economical) avantguard to come and that could be an element of discontinuity, but the trend and all the "mainstream-making actors" are pushing hard towards control and stupidity, the opposite direction.
    Did anyone say Apple?
    Regards, Stef

  2. Thank you Stef, I agree, the whole message seems to be "no need to get better or improve, just be stupid, diesel is here to support that" and unfortunately the rest of the world as well...
    it would be time for new approach, the smart one... who's gonna start it?

  3. In that movie, Zoolander (love it), even being stupid is enough to make a BIG and noticeable difference and make the world better, as matter of facts resources are always available to reach any purpose and obstacles are easy to step through even for the good but stupid Derek.

    In the real life, and in the short to middle period, who has the power decides what to do for himself and other millions of people. Power is represented most by position, money, wealth.

    Ideally, in order for the normal citizen to be the one that makes the difference, he should be smart enough to gain all of these three fundamental things without the help of corporations, without being killed just for being an independent wealthy man and not get corrupted by his condition.
    If such a man exist then he should candidate and win elections, then present his program and day by day fight for his ideas withouth being corrupted/killed/resign.

    Then we have one. We need many of them in any country of the world.

    Is it likely to happen soon? not of course if someone is interesting in stealing OUR best weapon:our brain