Let’s face it: I used to be a hardcore Diesel denim consumer. I truly discovered the brand in early 2000s, while I was doing a lot of skateboarding / urban culture stuff. And then the brand confused me a lot, through 2 important ads: the “Be Stupid” positioning (which suddenly made me feel as if I were a granny, or a conservative French fisherman), and then the Diesel Island. What used to be branded hedonism, a celebration of finding fun where it could rise, conciliating real life constraints and shaping your next future, has been totally destroyed; Diesel virtualized the hedonism, totally leaving our personal journey as a random non-interesting story compared to their “Diesel Island“. When a brand starts thinking as a dictatorship, it’s always a bad signal for the consumers, whatever Art Directors/Madmen awards say.
At this specific battledfield, Levi’s made a far more interesting move, introducing their #goforth manifesto. I was yesterday in a movie theatre, watching the ad, and yes, it’s believable, inspiring, and SO real-life.Copywriting is about to be poetry, and the text written by Erin Swanson is really addictive:
“When the road gets rough and the sky gets jumpy and the stars start falling on top of your head and the waves start breaking against your legs;
It’s the thread in your seams that’s tied to your dreams.
It’s the sole in your feet that keep the beat;
You’re gonna be great, you’re gonna be great, you’re gonna be great;
You’re gonna find the cure, you’re gonna be famous, you’re gonna be shameless.
Spittin’ seeds in the wind, tap dancing with your shoe laces pinned, to the back
of a bus at the end of the road, at the bottom of the ninth, with a crown on your head
You’re a queen, you’re a king, you’re the solo act in a sold out show at a six story stadium, and you’re proud, you’re a hero! You got a hero’s grip. Swingin’ by a
single stitch. You follow your heart, follow the leader, you’re the leader;
Are you joking, are you breaking, are you shaking? You’re the next living leader of the world. You’re a kid. Holding onto the thread. That holds it together.”
Even if in 2011, Levi’s launched a very inappropriate ad called “Legacy“, in the middle of Birmingham & Manchester riots, I guess it’s a pretty powerful signal to say: our consumers aren’t just hedonist; they feel concerned; and these concerns have concrete proofs in the streets. Whatever observers said, Levi’s did not say to go to war; they’ve just translated a certain romanticized ground for revolt.
So what’s next? Both Diesel and Levi’s understood that what really matters is the local connection with the real people. Diesel seems a bit confused, when you look at their fan pages: many hashtags, attempts to dive into various cultures. In the meantime, it’s a good news: Diesel does not seem to be happy to “be stupid”.
Levi’s is far better organized: very simple global motto; local adaptations and projects with local scenes.Positive attitude. Love it.
What do you think?