In today's always on, interconnected society, it's rare (even almost unheard of) for a brand to take a somewhat anti-social approach to marketing. But that's exactly what Diesel has done with a new campaign for the 20th anniversary re-launch of its YUK shoe.
Diesel tapped ad agency Shnel & Melnychuck & Forsman & Bodenfors (SMFB) to re-launch its best selling shoe ever with a digital campaign that takes a critical view of over sharing on social media. Shoes that track, time or post to users' social media walls need not apply here. Since YUK was originally launched in 1993, the Norwegian firm SMFB decided to present the shoe in its original form while capturing what it calls the "blissful, pre-Internet era."
"This campaign is all about taking a step back into pre-internet times and evaluate how we are using social media and technology. We are not saying its all bad, but that we might be getting carried away," noted Pål Hoyer-Andreassen, creative at SMFB. "People are sharing their half-mile run, taking pictures of everything and posting them. People are spamming each other, without thinking about it because it is so easy and available."
As the creative agency tried to identify unique attributes of the YUK shoe, it determined that the introduction of the Internet was the biggest change overall since then. "Since this shoe is made exactly like back in 1993, we defined it as The Pre-Internet Shoe."
SMFB worked with Diesel on the creative campaign for the YUK 20th anniversary edition shoe to make sure it conveyed Diesel's attitude and remained "in sync with the brand's tone of voice," he added. Diesel has a "history of commenting on society, so this is very much in tune with Diesel's communication tradition."
"The core of the idea is about how technology and online media is changing our behavior, so Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram was naturally a given part of the campaign... We wanted to use Facebook in an active way, not just for sharing something," Hoyer-Andreassen added. "Our goal is to get people's attention by commenting on modern day over sharing and tech dependency, with a Diesel attitude. We want people to be social, but not only virtually. Get people to utilize new technology, but not get sucked into it to a degree where they are looking at their phones all day and not appreciating life as it happens because they are too busy taking pictures of it to post online."
Still, ClickZ wonders: Isn't it ironic or perhaps contradictory for Diesel to leverage social media in a campaign that asks people to do more offline?
"The irony of using Facebook to tell people to stop sharing only strengthens the campaign and highlights our message," Hoyer-Andreassen noted. "We are not telling people to go offline forever and live in the woods, but merely take a little break from it to look at how they use social media. What better place to do that?"
In a series of YouTube videos created for the campaign, Diesel takes this message of "living in the now" to comedic levels. SMFB wanted to highlight the fact that "people expect technology in everything and play with the way people present themselves and what they do," Hoyer-Andreassen explained.
The short videos feature a character that gets lost without GPS tracking in his shoes, a group of parkour enthusiasts demanding data from their shoes and a karate master going through a routine of exercises before screaming at his shoes (YUK, of course): "Shoes, how many multi-kicks? Talk to me."
The final message left with viewers in each video is unmistakable: "The shoes don't care. The Pre-Internet Shoe. No-tracking, no-timing, no-wall posting, no-bullsh*t"
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Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at email@example.com.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT