Diesel uncovers fall jeans campaign

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Diesel is unveiling its latest irreverent ad campaign, which also serves as the swan song for Paradiset DDB, Stockholm, as the Italian jeans marketer prepares to name a new agency.

Diesel will choose between GGT Advertising and Lowe Howard-Spink, both London, for its $1.5 million jeans account next month.

Paradiset is the agency behind Diesel's Cannes Grand Prix-winning TV and cinema advertising. But the marketer is said to be looking for more product-oriented advertising from its new agency.


The last work from the Swedish agency can be seen in Diesel USA's fall campaign. The ads are built around a journey to North Korea, with ironic images of waiflike Western models against a backdrop of locals clad in military garb.

"Paradiset did a fabulous job. They created an image and a lifestyle," said Diana Loguzzo, marketing manager for Diesel USA. "We want to take it to the next stage, become more product-driven."

According to Advertising Age International, sales for Diesel were barely $4 million in 1985, the point at which Renzo Rosso, founder and director of the Molvena, Italy-based company, obtained sole ownership. In 1996, sales topped $325 million.

The print portion of the new campaign, running in September magazines including Detour, Allure, Out and Marie Claire, features six different images, all shot photojournalistic style in Pyongyang, North Korea by Peter Gehrke.

The photos feature various fictional "Brand O" products and are meant to suggest, according to the company, the insensitivity of large companies marketing products in poor countries without considering their audience.

In one print ad, for example, the "Brand O diet" is promoted by a rail-thin Western model in Diesel jeans; copy reads, "There's no limit to how thin you can get." Set in a country where a million people are dying of starvation, the ironic self-mocking ad sets the tone for the entire campaign.

There's also a 60-second spot, a mini-drama called "A Day in Pyongyang" that will run on MTV in Europe beginning Sept. 15 and on Time Warner cable in the New York market. The spot tells of a love story that culminates with the couple leaping from a bridge. No, it's not a suicide pact; the couple land safely in a truck and ride off into the sunset.

Copyright August 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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