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Diesel encourages fans to wear their hate with anti-bullying campaign

Nicky Minaj for Diesel "Ha(u)te Couture"
Nicky Minaj for Diesel “Ha(u)te Couture”

Diesel’s new campaign aims to take a bold stance against bullying with a message of empowerment, encouraging its fans to wear the hate that has been directed towards them.

Using a sarcastic tone which is the brand’s signature style, the campaign, titled “Ha(ute) Couture”, features a central message that says: “The more hate you wear the less you care.” The spirit of the concept is that the more someone exposes hate, the less power it has.  

“The main thing is not to hide. Hate comments are based on the fact that people are hiding themselves,” said Bruno Bertelli, global chief creative officer at Publicis Worldwide and chief executive of Publicis Italy, to Campaign. “If you keep [hate] inside, it grows and hurts and becomes bigger and bigger.”

The campaign features a cast of outspoken celebrities, such as rappers Nicky Minaj and Gucci Mane and actors Bella Thorne and Tommy Dorfman, wearing garments that feature some of the verbal abuse that has been directed at them. To celebrate the campaign, Minaj (whose slur is the “Bad Guy”) is also launching a capsule collection with the Italian brand.

From October 6, customers in-store will also have a chance to customize products with hateful comments which they have received themselves.

Speaking to WWD earlier this summer, Diesel founder Renzo Rosso said: “Diesel’s Haute Couture will be a bold message toward haters worldwide, and an invitation for everyone to step up, face and own the negative messages we receive every day.”

A portion of sale proceeds will go to the anti-bullying charity Only The Brave foundation, which is part of Diesel’s parent company, OTB Group.

Diesel’s brand identity has always incorporated pushing the boundaries of conformity, with playfulness and satire lying at the heart of its marketing strategy. Most recently, it collaborated with a cult Berlin kebab shop on an exclusive collection, while for SS18, it launched a Deisel store selling ‘fake’ goods in NYC’s Chinatown neighborhood.

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Diesel pop-up sells limited edition “fakes” as part of SS18 campaign

Deisel pop up from Diesel
The “Deisel” pop-up from Diesel

Diesel is looking to reinforce its authentic roots with a “fake” pop-up store during New York Fashion Week. As part of its latest campaign celebrating imperfection, the brand opened “Deisel” in NYC’s Chinatown – a neighbourhood known for touting knockoffs – selling seemingly fake goods.

The stunt was eventually revealed on social media, as Diesel shared a video depicting footage of the store. Inside, the pop-up space was set up to look improvised and blend in with its Canal Street neighbors, while shop assistants tried to convince confused passersby that the goods were real.

Once the secret was out, Diesel fans began to form long queues outside the store, trying to get their hands on the limited edition goods, which were also available for purchase in Europe online.

Speaking to reporters, Renzo Rosso, founder of Diesel and president of its parent company OTB Group, said the aim of the campaign is to play on the irony and sense of humor he believes the brand has always relied on, which has been lost over the past few years.

“Diesel is back,” he said. ”Diesel is modern. Diesel is a unique brand. Diesel is still alive with the real irony and with the real DNA that it used to have before.”

Andy Bird, chief creative officer at Diesel’s recently appointed agency Publicis, told Adweek: “I think a brand like Diesel has the balls and the right to talk like this. There aren’t many brands that would take a calculated risk like this, but because they kind of know that they already have the cachet with the past history of advertising, they’ve always been a bit more adventurous and it fits perfectly with their outlook.”

Moving forward, the brand believes social media and campaign stunts are becoming a major focus for engagement. According to Rosso, the next soon-to-be-released stunt will see an individual jump from atop St Marcus tower in Venice, Italy.

In our recent episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast, Stefano Rosso, Diesel’s CEO of North America, talked in-depth about the brand’s approach to challenging conformity.