The annual traffic of counterfeit goods in the fashion industry is worth $461 billion, and knock-off brands use subtle design or spelling changes to mimic the real deal. So, to turn this counterfeit business threat into a business opportunity, we decided to create an iconic visual style for Diesel’s own knock-off brand, DEISEL. The objective would be to design branding that would look like an actual knock-off brand and assist in creating a genuine knock-off brand experience. We wanted to design it in such a way that resonated with a savvy millennial audience and give fresh energy to the Diesel brand, re-establishing it as the leader of brave and subversive fashion.
Describe the creative idea
As a response to counterfeit culture in the fashion industry, we created Diesel's own knock-off brand, “DEISEL”. To launch it, we opened its own authentic knock-off store in New York City's counterfeit district. At the store, unsuspecting shoppers were able to get real Diesel pieces, disguised as DEISEL, for knock-off prices. Then, during New York Fashion Week, we let the secret out, bringing fashion week to the most unfashionable place in NYC. We then launched DEISEL online for the whole world to get their own limited-edition DEISEL pieces while they lasted.
Describe the execution
Staying true to Diesel’s disruptive nature, our design team subverted Diesel’s actual logo by switching the I and the E, and then adding an extra L in “For Successfull Living”. We even subtly changed the font in order to look like a true knock-off brand. We then rented a store in the heart of NYC’s counterfeit district. For authenticity, we designed it to look cluttered and tacky in order to look like a true knock-off store and organically blend with the neighborhood. Unassuming shoppers then bought real Diesel pieces, believably disguised as DEISEL, for knock-off prices. During New York Fashion Week, we let the secret out through social media, attracting thousands of fans and fashionistas. Full price this time. The store sold out on day one, turning our fashion knock-off into a fashion icon worldwide. Then we launched the brand globally on Diesel.com, which sold out in several hours.
List the results
Within a single week, the DEISEL experience generated 400 million global media impressions and 55 million social impressions. The buzz got so big, that within several days, people even started making fakes of our fakes and selling them online. The DEISEL store sold out in 24 hours, and when the collection went on Diesel.com, it sold out within several hours, 3 times in a row. The campaign was covered in hundreds of major publications all over the world including The New York Times, Daily Mail, Vogue, Huffington Post, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, Elle, Marie Claire, Women’s Wear Daily, New York Post and Cosmopolitan.VOGUE called the idea “The ultimate brand strengthening exercise.”WOMEN’S WEAR DAILY wrote, “Operating in the same style as its Canal St. neighbors, the store’s interiors and selling experience played out authentically.