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Diesel opened a pop-up shop on Canal Street in New York with clothes designed to look fake, though they were real. It was all an elaborate stunt. The label on the T-shirts, jeans and hats was misspelled to read "Deisel," and the shop definitely looked like a place you'd find fakes: The sign out front was affixed to the shop awning with duct tape. The gag, with help from Publicis North America and Publicis Italy, was a new twist in the brand's "Go with the flaw" campaign, encouraging people to embrace imperfection. It's funny, and shoppers definitely fell for it (watch the video above.) It's actually surprising that Diesel is willing to laugh about this. In a 2016 report, the OECD estimated that the global fakes business was worth $461 billion. And Diesel is not immune. (Hey Diesel, if you're reading, this writer knows a place in Shanghai where they sell excellent Diesel knockoffs. The label's even spelled right.)
Just say no
In another counterintuitive move by a brand, Godiva took out an ad in Japan to discourage chocolate gifting on Valentine's Day. This requires some background explanation. In Japan, women are expected to give chocolates to male co-workers on the holiday, a practice known as "obligation chocolate." Men reciprocate a month later. Quartz reports that Godiva "took out a full page advertisement in the Nikkei, Japan's main business paper, urging managers to tell their female employees that it's OK not to take part in the practice if they didn't want to." Godiva's Japan president wrote in that ad that "Valentine's Day is the day people convey their true feelings, not the day people coordinate relationships at work," according to a translation by The Japan Times. In other words, chocolate is for pleasure, and the whole concept of "obligation chocolate" is just wrong.
Sexual harassment allegations at Vice Media have led one client to distance itself from the company. Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli writes that
"Ally Financial is stepping back from Vice Media, the Brooklyn-based media outlet that was recently the subject of sexual misconduct allegations. While the digital bank is the first to say it is freezing the company out of potential new assignments, other brands say they are closely monitoring the situation."
Ally had worked with Vice on a project basis. Vice fired its chief digital officer, Mike Germano, who headed its Carrot Creative digital studio, after an internal investigation.
'A challenging market environment'
Dentsu Inc., the Japanese ad giant, says it barely had any organic growth in 2017. The company, No. 5 on Ad Age Datacenter's list of the biggest agency companies, reported 2017 organic gross profit growth of 0.1 percent, stripping out the impact of acquisitions, divestitures and exchange rates. It blamed the "challenging market environment" that agencies have complained of, with cutbacks in marketing spend by consumer goods companies. In Japan, the company also invested in improving its working conditions after an employee suicide forced it to reevaluate a grueling culture of overtime. Things got better for Dentsu at the end of 2017. In the final three months of the year, organic growth was 2.8 percent, thanks to business related to the Tokyo Motor Show. Next up: Omnicom Group earnings are coming on Thursday.
Cyberattack: The 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony was targeted by a cyberattack, Games officials told Reuters, without saying who carried it out. Reuters says the Games' systems, including internet and television services, were affected.
Bye: Snap's head of sales, Jeff Lucas, is leaving, Bloomberg News reports. Lucas, who joined from Viacom in 2016, helped build Snapchat's relationships with advertisers.
Aflac: Insurer Aflac is reviewing its creative account, Ad Age's Lindsay Stein reports. Whatever happens, the Aflac duck mascot will stay.
'Rare cutbacks': Amazon is laying off hundreds of corporate employees in a trimming of staff that "appears to fall predominantly on its established consumer retail business," The Seattle Times reports.
Nein: A German regional court ruled that Facebook's default privacy settings and use of personal data "are against German consumer law," The Guardian reports.
The Blaze: Ben Shapiro's conservative news site The Daily Wire is in talks to buy Glenn Beck's TheBlaze, The Daily Beast reports, adding that the billionaire fracking tycoons who own The Daily Wire hope to expand their influence in conservative media.
Watch: Stephen Colbert interviews John Oliver while their heads are stuck in the same cardboard box, a tactic designed to breed extreme intimacy (and hilarity.) As Ad Age's Simon Dumenco writes, you'll enjoy "watching two comedians repeatedly cracking themselves up as they endure the deeply uncomfortable set-up."