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Welcome To The Hip Super-Swingin’ Sexy World Of The Globally-Warmed Future

diesel-birds.jpg
Torontoist was recently alerted by one of our readers, Val A., about a new advertising campaign that a good many Torontonians are going to get to see on a daily basis.

This morning [at Union Station], I was late for work, rushing, didn’t really pay much attention… I caught glimpses of scantily clad people in the desert as I was walking up the stairs, a guy dousing a girl in lotion as I’m turning the corner… Mount Rushmore partially buried in sand, as I walk out in front of the hot dog cart? What? Couldn’t be bothered to
stop to take a closer look.
Then on the way home…
I realize it’s a Diesel clothing line ad. And the tag line, which jumps out from every single ad wrap and poster both above and on track level: “Global Warming Ready”. I will say no more. You really must see for yourself.
I swear, I threw up in my mouth a little.

Camera in hand, Torontoist went out to document said vomit-inducing adverts for the masses. And our intrepid reader wasn’t kidding – these really are ire-inducing.


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In Marketing Daily, Joelle Adler, president of Diesel Canada, describes the campaign thusly: ““What (the campaign) is asking is, are we ready for global warming?…and we’re saying that Diesel people are.” Now, Torontoist would have liked to see that campaign that Ms. Adler is talking about. That campaign sounded vaguely interesting, as opposed to the one they apparently decided to go with, which is dogshit.
diesel-seas.jpg These ads aren’t creating awareness of the dangers of global warming and climate change. They aren’t doing anything close to that. What they’re doing instead is glamourizing it. The globally-warmed Diesel world is a tropical paradise, wherein young attractive people – most of whom are white, nice nod to diversity there – will frolic on beaches and rub sunscreen on one another (presumably SPF 30+ sunscreen, what with the presumable destruction of the ozone layer and all) and enjoy pleasant, diverting water recreation activities in the funky flooded cities. Condoms will remain available for all and sundry; animals will not go extinct, but instead merely move to other fantastic and hip locales; a supply of designer potable water will remain convenient and conveniently tasty.
There may, if we are extremely lucky, be a concert by Panic! At The Disco.
Of course, a lousy fifteen minutes’ worth of frigging research makes it clear that in any world where even half of the bad stuff that global warming can feasibly cause happens, the young attractive mostly-white people will be rather fucked. And not in the hip young sexy way, either. We’re talking the type of fucked that is traditionally associated with creepy, lifelong bachelor Uncle Roy.
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For example, this young hipster speeding away from flooded London on a motorboat will need to wear a comfortable heavy parka and woolly mittens, what with the cessation of the Gulf Stream turning ol’ Blighty into one enormous Popsicle. (Also, by that time she’ll probably need to find some sort of alternative fuel for her motorboat. I’m not sure. Maybe she is a pirate.) And instead of bags full of rad fashions, she will probably be, you know, scavenging food. Obviously, however, this interferes with the rad, CQ-like image Diesel is trying to portray here. I mean, there really isn’t such a thing as a skin-tight parka that will make a pouty underfed model look good.
diesel-sands.jpgBut seriously: we can play at being David Suzuki all week, pointing out how the ads are total crap and not reflective of potential reality. They’re advertisements. We all know that real Big Macs don’t look as good as they do in the commercials, that the George Foreman Grill actually tends to produce dry, lifeless steaks more often than not, and that using a Swiffer is not really any great amount of wacky fun time.
But what Diesel is doing here is far more insidious. It’s not simply that they’re being all sexy to make their product look good; this goes beyond that. This is every annoying morning drive-time hack deejay on a relatively warm winter day saying “well, if this is global warming, sign me up!” times a million. This ad campaign isn’t going to inform anybody about the very real dangers of global climate change because there’s no actual information here; there’s less substance in this tripe than there was in Waterworld.
diesel-sign.jpg Worse, it actively muddies the pool of information available, and gives people who might otherwise be inclined to listen a bit of erroneous mental ammunition against reasonable arguments. The preconception of Sexy Globally Warmed World isn’t one that’s accurate, much less necessary.
It’s clear to everybody that a constant stream of apocalyptic messages can be wearying. One of my favorite things about An Inconvenient Truth was that Al Gore chose to emphasize that the crisis was not yet insolvable and that solutions to remedy the problem are at hand, should we choose to use them. But the Diesel campaign isn’t going to convince anybody that global warming is a problem, and more likely will convince a few stupid – but crucial – people that it isn’t. And that’s just inexcusable, especially in the pursuit of selling some shitty-ass Diesel jeans. (Yeah, you heard me. Diesel jeans suck ass.)

Comments

  • el jefe

    Seriously, this is all Torontoist can find to get upset about? Forget about the possibility of irony (probably there isn’t any intended by these ads, but I wouldn’t completely rule it out), does you really think TTC commuters are such a vapid bunch they’re we’re going to see an ad for over-priced jeans and decide that global warming is no big deal? Seriously? I ride the rocket on at least a weekly basis, and while there do seem to be a fair number of crass consumers in the fare paying public, to be fair I’ve never noticed an undue number of lobotomy scars.
    And, well, looks like the ad campaign did at least one of its jobs. It got you all to notice, and then tell other people about it…. So maybe it was all a secret master plan to get those of us in the hipster city blog reading community incensed about the environment, or the transit equivalent of those radio ads with people whose voices are so annoying that you can’t help but remember the product they’re schilling. But one wonders who is the bigger fool – the fool, or the fool(s – I’ll include myself in their number) who spend an afternoon of their time getting all vitriolic on weblogs about other peoples foolishness?

  • Dahlia

    Okay, el jefe, and everyone else, there’s just one thing:
    Sometimes too much is too much. Even for ironic hipsters like the Torontoist readership.
    Environmental catastrophic deterioration is just NOT funny, or witty, or cool. It’s possibly the most hugely serious issue there is.

  • H.I. Viral

    That your hipster tipster used the line “I threw up in my mouth a little” should pretty much be a giveaway that she’s working for the ad agency.

  • Bob

    Brilliant! I can guarantee you that whoever thought this one up is receiving high-fives at this moment. Not only does their well-timed campaign get Torontoist-types into a lather, spouting off about Diesel this and Diesel that, but they actually inspired you to GO OUT AND PHOTO-DOCUMENT THE WHOLE THING, so now everyone viewing your blog gets to see the whole campaign without getting off their rear ends!
    It’s just offensive enough to cause token controversy amongst media outlets needing to fill space (and don’t pretend blogs don’t have space to fill), but not offensive enough to backfire badly. Instead, the friction of its fatuous claims rubbing earnest, angry commentators the wrong way reinforces Diesel’s wanky little “bad boy” brand.
    Anyway, nicely played, Torontoist. Feigned outrage = real money!

  • rek

    I think it’s a rather smart and well-executed campaign. It definitely exaggerates the effects (or hypothetical effects if you prefer) of global warming and climate change (sandy deserts in Finland would take some kind of pole shift, and beaches in North Dakota would require the continent breaking up and sinking), but I think the point (other than selling jeans to people who don’t need more jeans) is to show the stark contrast in a clever and somewhat subtle way. The focus in each ad is on the people, until the background sinks in and you’re hit by the hidden (though inaccurate) metamessage behind it all. I don’t think any of them glorify global warming.

  • Anonymous Asshole

    I think the ad is true to reality. Those women are obviously starving.

  • Dave

    Well, while their tongue is firmly in their cheek, you and Val clearly have bugs up your asses. Lighten up – they’re just ads. And entertaining ones at that.
    Diesel has done some amazing work over the years.

  • Erin

    Except that if you actually go to the Diesel website, it has information about global warming, and how you can get involved in stopping it.

  • http://www.christindal.ca/ Chris Tindal

    The key thing that el jefe and others are missing here (but that Christopher Bird already outlined) is that many people in Diesel’s demographic already think that this is what a global warming future looks like. We’ve all started hearing people say dismissively that “global warming will be good for Canada,” completely missing the point that global warming doesn’t mean everything will be warmer, it means that the complex climate systems that have been keeping us alive are becoming unstable and are going to change in all sorts of unpredictable ways that could be fatal to hundreds of millions of people. (Actually, that’s one of the best case scenarios.)
    They’re also missing the point that climate change is not one isolated problem — it’s one of many interrelated environmental crisis, including life-style driven over-consumption, which Diesel is also contributing to.
    This may be effective advertising. It may be interesting creative. Heck, it may even be funny. But that don’t make it responsible.

  • http://www.guesswork.ca Patrick M

    Get a grip, folks. These ads doesn’t make climate change look fun at all – take away the models and throw an ominous soundtrack on top of the pics, and you’ve got “The Day After Tomorrow”. While Diesel ads aren’t typically aimed at the Mensa crowd, even a jeans-wearing bulemic club-hopper can see that populating post-apocalyptic landscapes with hot young models is irony, not prophecy.
    Worst case scenario, people ignore the ads. Best case, a few more people start thinking about global warming on their way to work. There’s plenty of alarmist rhetoric out there already, and plenty of people tuning it out. Embedding the concept of global warming into the popular culture will raise awareness with people who are never going to read the IPCC report from cover to cover.
    PJ O’Rourke once wrote something to the effect that he’d never seen a serious situation improved by insisting that everyone be serious about it all the time. I think that’s sound advice in this case.

  • miro

    Offensive to women? Sure. Particularly offensive to environmentalists? Not this one.

  • katherinem

    If anyone has seen Diesel’s previous ad campaigns, you’ll know they’re not strangers to using irony and controversial issues to get attention. One campaign about 6 years ago called “Save Yourself” featured creepy wax-like models and offered solutions for attaining “eternal youth” such as Breath Less, Don’t Laugh, Clone Yourself, and Drink Urine, explaining how all of these would help you to look younger(a google search will probably come up with some of the images). These global warming ads seem to use the same formula: Serious and controversial issue + Over-the-top exaggeration = Lots of media attention and more sales of overpriced designer jeans.
    Either way, the ads are well executed and you can’t really believe that they are going to contribute any more to global warming than other ads, so what’s the big deal? As people living in this consumer-driven world, we should know not to take advertising seriously.

  • katherinem

    If anyone has seen Diesel’s previous ad campaigns, you’ll know they’re not strangers to using irony and controversial issues to get attention. One campaign about 6 years ago called “Save Yourself” featured creepy wax-like models and offered solutions for attaining “eternal youth” such as Breath Less, Don’t Laugh, Clone Yourself, and Drink Urine, explaining how all of these would help you to look younger(a google search will probably come up with some of the images). These global warming ads seem to use the same formula: Serious and controversial issue + Over-the-top exaggeration = Lots of media attention and more sales of overpriced designer jeans.
    Either way, the ads are well executed and you can’t really believe that they are going to contribute any more to global warming than other ads, so what’s the big deal? As people living in this consumer-driven world, we should know not to take advertising seriously.

  • Shazbot

    take away the models and throw an ominous soundtrack on top of the pics, and you’ve got “The Day After Tomorrow”.
    Patrick, you’re kind of making the author’s point for him with this comment without realizing it. “The Day After Tomorrow” was a windfall for global warming skeptics because it was a total worst-case scenario with Hollywoodized elements; they repeatedly used it to mock and belittle environmentalists. That’s the definition of help the environmental movement doesn’t need.
    Particularly offensive to environmentalists? Not this one.
    See those macaws in the first picture? The red ones are Scarlet macaws – a highly threatened species – and the blue ones look very much like Lear macaws, which are extremely endangered. Never mind that using macaws (South American birds) in a European setting is idiotic; using macaws to sell jeans is just irresponsible. Fuck Diesel.

  • rek

    “Global warming could be good for x” isn’t a new idea, it’s been tossed around for about as long as there’s been concern for global warming.
    Is Diesel promoting or glorifying global warming with the images in this campaign? Hardly. Could they have done more to make the future climate look more disturbingly out of whack? Probably not without being faulted for exploiting enviro-refugees or trying to make fields of dead animals look cool.
    It’s a campaign for a jeans company, not an infodump for Greenpeace.

  • BodyArtPro

    Made you look twice and made you talk about it!
    I guess the campaign worked.
    will it make you buy diesel… probably not but you’ve now put the brand in the heads of many more people today then it would have if it had been a boring ad.
    now time to get the damn taste of diesel out of my mouth already…

  • Andy

    Yes, we’ve become further aware of the brand but we’re hardly automatons.
    It really peeves me how people got on the OP for bringing these ads to light. Simply discussing an advertising campaign doesn’t benefit it. If anything now that i’ve read this article i’m even less likely to buy any of their products than I was originally. What do you propose? Not discussing things that we find reprehensible. Who really wins in that situation?
    Advertising isn’t some mystical salve that permeates your skin causing you to by Diesel jeans. The more aware people are of ignorant and vile ad campaigns the capable they are of making the decision not to purchase their products.
    P.s. These ads need a bit of culture jamming.

  • delphine

    I think these ads are horrible and cheap!!! Also I am so bored and OVER the notion of “shock” in advertising.
    Delphine

  • Johnnie

    Diesal jeans use to go for twenty bucks at Eatons in the 90′s, they upped their price point and popularity with these style of adds. United Colours of Benton did similar social conscious ads. Anyone remember the Nike protest ad campiagn? Where they reappropraited demonstrations against their Sweat Shops?
    How often do people actually look behind the models and see the picture as a whole? Apparrently girls are completely self conscious; would they be staring at those ads and wanting to learn more about Global Warming or thinking about how they don’t look like that model.
    Ads aren’t art. they not there to make you think, but to sell you a product. It’s the science of perssuasion. Just because they put info on their site about Global Warming doesn’t mean they care. It associates them with an impartant cause. Gives them a better light.
    How transparent is Deisel with it’s practices. If we ask for infor about their productions practises will they give it to us? Allow NGO’s to go into their Factories and see their procedures.
    It’s just the science of perssuasion. Most people don’t actually care about important issues.

  • Sandy

    I don’t think that these ads are good at all .Like seriously look at the impression that it is trying to give to people….global warming is supposed to be something good! Oh please , I don’t think these people know the true meaning of global warming their selves

  • iggy

    these ads make me want to buy diesel clothing