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Only the brave

Diesel Clothing is one of the success stories of product development and marketing. Paul Dale meets the company’s creative director and looks for the truth behind the brand.


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Coca Cola and Ford may have been among the first international brands, and

Milton Glaser’s ‘I [heart] NY’ the first city brand, but it was Nike’s swoosh and

the ‘Just Do It’ strapline that really revolutionised fashion branding.

For more on branding and design read the excellent www.designobserver.com

unda} l7 September lello. 7pm. l‘insbur} Park.

London. St_\|e journalist and writer \eil Hoorman

hurns. mallets and gises awa} e\er_\ branded item he owns. It is a ke_\ moment in what he calls his 'journes towards a brand l‘ree lil‘ef Jacobson chairs. ('hristian |)ior shirts. |.ouis \'uitton than bags. llelmut lung is and a BIackBerr} all go tip in smoke or under the kosh as bewildered and amused onlookers stare through the thing autumn light.

:\s with most acts ol‘ emotional courage. Hoot'ttlatt has an ulterior motiVe beyond merel} highlighting the mendaciousness ol' the l'ls' retail business. which has conspired to create a nation that is now an alleged Hill) billion in personal debt. which ranks taccording to a recent poll) as old} the 34th happiest nation in the world taller lil Sithttdot').

Boorman has a hook deal with (’anongate this hook Burning o/‘Iln' Brunt/s is due l’or release in .'\utumn 2007i and he also maintains a well~\isitetl blog site thttp://bonlireol'thebrands.hlogspot.com/l. The business ol' battling the brands has.

ironically. become l'airl_\' big

~ it well intentioned F T business since the O publication or Nzttittli Klein’s anti—brand opus .Vn Logo in

2()()(). Boorman is only the

latest in a long and l‘airly honourable line oi culture ' jammers. artists. writers and journalists (guerrilla artists

Rodrigue/ de (ierada. Ron linglish. pamphleteer Mark Her} and all those who work l'or .it/lui.slt'i's maga/ine among them; who have made it their business to hack. slash and di\'est the empire ol' signs.

('ultural jamming has also long been co-opted h} those it means to undermine. Arguany no brand has done this more successfully than Diesel (‘lothing in its search. in the words of its owner Ren/o Rosso. 'to sell a product. to sell a st} Ie oi lil‘e.‘ Since Spring/Summer l‘)‘)2 l)iesel‘s campaigns have culturally jammed their was into multi award winning advertising history. Their initial poster campaigns. 'l‘or Successful Living Used iron}; prtwocation. sex. eccentricin and kitsch to promote their particular brand ol' 'premium denim'. Striking poster campaigns l‘eaturing scantil} dressed male and l‘emale models ironically inl‘ormed consumers 'llow To . . . Take A Shortcut in Life. l'nderstand Lite on liarth. Teach Your (‘hildren to Loxe and ('are'. while undermining their own message with Vistlili rel‘erence to la/iness. drugs. guns and obesity. The ads were l'unn}; inspiring and \ery dil'l‘erent from the norm.

Diesel's print and subsequent lilm campaigns gave rise to such talents as David La(‘hapelle and lillen Von l.'nwerth. This. in turn. allowed Diesel‘s creative team to entice some oi the most interesting up and coming l'ilmmakers.

-3-": 0' ' THE LIST 95