Diesel gears up for controversial advertising campaign

Jeans brand Diesel will unveil a controversial advertising campaign in March, which includes ads of the Virgin Mary in jeans, a serial killer cutting up human limbs and a spoof on soft porn.

The House of Fraser has already refused to run the ads in its in-store magazine, because it says they are “unsuitable”.

For the first time Diesel is moving away from branding advertising and instead using product-led executions.

Jethro Marshall, Diesel UK marketing manager, says: “For the past six years we have focused on identity, using original advertising. But it has got to the point where Diesel is better known for its ads than its products.”

D-Diesel, the brand’s cheaper and less trendy range, will take up 75 per cent of the press budget. The work is by Lowe Howard-Spink.

The rest of the press work, which is a spoof on mail order catalogues, will be aimed at both men and women. All the ads will appear in The Face, Elle, I-D Attitude and Sky.

There will also be a national outdoor campaign using six-sheet poster sites, London Underground and 30 megarears on buses outside London. These aim to present Diesel as a superior denim brand and will feature nuns and the Virgin Mary wearing Diesel jeans.

In March the company has bought all cross-track poster sites at Covent Garden Tube station, near its flagship store.

The broadcast executions, called “Business as Usual”, emphasise Diesel brand values and are a spoof on the soft-porn industry in the US. The executions, by Paradiset DDB, will appear on Channel 4 in Scotland and Ireland and in cinemas nationwide.

It is planned to place the cinema advertising around Jackie Bran, Quentin Tarantino’s new film, and Velvet Goldmine, Ewan McGregor’s latest film. However, the ad is awaiting certification because it is “quite racy”, according to Marshall.

Marshall adds: “We don’t aim for controversy. We are warm and humanistic about issues. We do not employ shock tactics.”

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