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.
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.
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.
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.
But 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.
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.)