Feb 19, 2007

Clothing brand emphasizes the upside of global warming

Diesel's spring ad campaign labels the company's clothes "Global Warming Ready."
n print ads promoting its spring/summer collection, the Italian-based clothing company depicts landscapes that have been transformed by environmental disaster. The proud buildings of Manhattan and the presidential faces of Mount Rushmore are half-submerged in water from melted glaciers. Paris is a steamy jungle. Life looks pretty awesome, though. Diesel's models are dressed fashionably if barely (to accommodate the weather) and they lounge amid this hip dystopia in glamorous unconcern, fanning themselves or applying suntan lotion to one another's tawny backs.


These ads are tongue in cheek, but that may not be apparent to anyone but Diesel customers, who've come to expect this sort of thing. In the past, Diesel has run ads advocating the smoking of 145 cigarettes a day (for that "sexy cough") and the drinking of urine to stay young. The company has also attempted to "sponsor" happiness. The irony is of the dark, European sort, best consumed in the company of Gauloises and knowing laughter.

That global warming is being spoofed by a retailer in the pages of Vogue and Esquire suggests that the issue is sufficiently widespread and accepted to have reached the irony tipping-point. It also speaks to the saturation of cause marketing, now part of the advertising ploys of everything from rubber gloves to skis to Hummel figurines. It was perhaps only a matter of time before a company like Diesel upended this with a perspective that is either humorous or insulting, depending on how you take it.

I'll take humorous, thank you very much.

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