Diesel following rivals?

 Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1290749/Diesel-posters-showing-women-flashing-banned-promoting-anti-social-behaviour.html

Advertisements often stretch the social and ethical boundaries of creativity. While advertisers generally pride themselves on designing ads that are meant to positively influence their target audience, they sometimes do so by not keeping in mind the negative social consequences that their ads might result in. Diesel, the well-renowned Italian fashion-giant, launched an ad campaign titled “Smart May Have The Brains, But Stupid Has The Balls. Be Stupid, Diesel.”, a few years ago. The poster featured above was one in a series of many such ads that were released during the campaign. The ad was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for being indecent and promoting anti-social behavior. [1]

We find the ad to be offensive to the youth and especially young women. A lot of parents would also feel uncomfortable seeing youngsters indulging themselves that way. The ad has been presented in an indecent manner and carries an overtly sexual theme. Diesel might have tried to imitate some of its rivals such as Benetton and French Connection, that have used the art of shock advertising in many of their previous campaigns. The ad also stereotypes women by showing the young woman in the ad as a sexually provocative figure. We will discuss each of these aspects in more detail: [1]


The  theme of the campaign, “Smart May Have The Brains, But Stupid Has The Balls. Be Stupid, Diesel.”, seems to celebrate wild and inappropriate behavior. It almost encourages youngsters to be stupid and participate in activities that might get them into serious trouble. The young woman in the poster is shown to have climbed up a ladder in order to flash her breasts at a surveillance camera. The image and theme is synonymous with young teen-aged men and women who get drunk, and behave inappropriately. Most of them tend to not have memory from the previous night when they wake up the next morning. The ad captures such situations and encourages inappropriate behavior. [1]


The ad definitely uses sexual appeal to catch the attention of consumers. The campaign’s aim might also have been to generate publicity for the brand by using techniques that would grab them some eyeballs. The image of a woman flashing her body parts at a security camera is not something that any consumer would generally associate as being normal or sane. It is highly possible that Diesel was only doing what many other apparel houses such as Benetton and French Connection have been doing since years. However, that doesn’t justify the merits of their campaign. [1] [2]


The ad stereotypes and portrays women inappropriately. The woman in the picture is shown as a sexually provocative figure. Ads like these have been held responsible for inducing violence and crime against women by portraying them as sex objects. The theme of the ad makes a reference to being stupid and dumb, and shows the woman indulging in behavior that only strengthens the argument. The ad stereotypes women as being dumb, wild and irresponsible. [2]

How advertisers may justify the use of this ad 

Diesel might say that it tried to portray women as being confident and uninhibited while expressing themselves. The ad also addresses the fact that consumers nowadays are being constantly monitored by surveillance cameras. In addition to all that, advertisers might argue that most lingerie and swim wear ads get away by showing nudity in a much more provocative manner than what has been shown in this ad. [1]

Effective or not? 

We feel like the ad was definitely not effective. While it might have managed to gain the attention of many teenagers, most of them would be the first to admit that they wouldn’t intentionally want to indulge in activities that would leave them feeling ashamed the morning after a party. “Being stupid” and “having the balls” are two completely different arguments. “Having the balls” could mean possessing the guts to take strong decisions in order to do the right thing. It definitely does not mean climbing up a ladder in order to flash your body parts at a security camera. Now that is just being stupid.

– Manish Priyank Busi


[1] Poulter, S. (2010). Mail Online News. Retrieved from Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1290749/Diesel-posters-showing-women-flashing-banned-promoting-anti-social-behaviour.html

[2] Belch, G. E., & Belch, M. A. (2009). Advertising and Promotion – An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective, 9th edition. New York City: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.


5 thoughts on “Diesel following rivals?

  1. I would also guess that this could be more in poor taste and offensive as opposed to shock advertising…in fact, I could see many women taking great offense to this ad, or even parents who do not wish for their children to “act stupid”.

    Great post!

  2. There are many young boys and girls doing this every day. They even post videos on the internet. The Diesel identity regard themselves as “Only the Brave”. So, is that Diesel is encouraging kind of things? Bad taste, and Stupit, indeed.

    YAN LI

  3. Talking about lingerie wears get away by showing nudity, I just saw two ads that portrays women wearing lingerie in daily life: one was partially dressed and then throw away her partially dressed shirts, and the other one just wearing lingerie and having fun in a park (maybe her own backyard, i wish). I thought this might leave people a message that they can wear lingerie to public places and they should be proud???? (I am sorry I just say the two ads online, and can’t find it anywhere.)


  4. I believe we have plenty of stupidity to go around without advertisers encouraging it. I guess it could have been worse, it could have been an ad for a beer company. Seems like much of the stupid behavior I read about online is the direct result of alcohol consumption.

  5. Young people are impulse and dislike being control. Sometimes they just need a way to express their dissatisfy of the whole world. However, the problem is, sometimes the stupid thing they did hurt others and themselves. This ad encourage youths to do stupid. Young people may like this creative idea, but parents may feel afraid and worried about this manner.

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