Brand Owner: Diesel
Date: January 2007
Media Channels: Internet, ambient
Diesel wanted to promote the launch of its Intimate line with an interactive marketing campaign. The brand wanted to create online hype without resorting to paid media.
Diesel's website was already popular, with an average of 1 million users a month, so the clothing company came up with the idea to create a mock "Big Brother" scenario that would be hosted at Diesel.com.
Diesel recruited two models, named for the purpose of the campaign "Heidi 1" and "Heidi 2," aka the Heidies. The premise was that the girls had stolen the new Diesel Intimate collection, kidnapped a guy and then locked themselves in a hotel room for five days.
The three models were kept in a room for five days and filmed constantly. The whole stunt was streamed live at Diesel.com. Any visitors to the site were able to interact with the room, chat with the girls and influence what happened inside.
The Heidies set up their own MySpace account, uploaded pictures that they took online. The campaign featured little or no Diesel branding, instead there was simply the Heidies own logo and the hotel room. Producers would use the hotel phone to communicate with the girls, who would tell the viewers that room service was calling.
The five days ended with the arrival of the son of Diesel founder Renzo Rosso coming into the room to negotiate with the Heidies to release the hostage. The Heidies agreed to do so in exchange for being photographed for the next Diesel campaign.
The site proved so popular that the servers nearly went down. Traffic increased fivefold during the campaign with no offline support other than word of mouth.
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