Counterfeit culture is destructive to brands, but we used it to our advantage by channeling Diesel’s subversive DNA, and created the PR worthy knock-off brand, “DEISEL”. We secretly launched the brand as a knock-off store in NYC’s counterfeit district. Then, for New York Fashion Week, we let the secret out through celebrity influencers, multiple social media channels, major fashion publications and culture blogs, making this unfashionable store the most fashionable destination. Then DEISEL launched globally on Diesel.com, selling out within hours. It was an international PR success that brought Diesel back to the forefront of fashion.
The annual traffic of counterfeit goods in the fashion industry is worth $461 billion. So, we decided to come up with an idea that would help Diesel turn this business threat into a business opportunity. The objective would be to create an exciting and engaging PR experience that not only reached a savvy millennial audience, but also something that would give fresh energy to the Diesel brand and re-establish it as the icon 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 up 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 through global influencers, social media and fashion publications, 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 strategy
The strategy was to confront counterfeit culture head-on through an authentic knock-off brand experience that reached a savvy millennial audience, ultimately rejuvenating Diesel and reinstating it as the infamously brave and subversive fashion icon.
Describe the execution
First, we subverted Diesel’s classic logo with a slight misspelling to look like a real knock-off. We then rented a store in the heart of NYC’s counterfeit district. For authenticity, we designed it to look cluttered and we hired two actors to perform as suspicious shopkeepers. The store opened secretly for the first week. Those brave enough to shop there during this time bought real Diesel pieces, disguised as DEISEL, for knock-off prices. The second week was the big reveal during New York Fashion Week. Full price this time. First, we teased the idea through Instagram Stories and celebrity influencers, then we let the secret out through multiple social media channels, more influencers, major fashion publications and culture blogs, attracting thousands of people. The store sold out in one day one. Then we launched the brand globally on Diesel.com, which sold out within 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, Women’s Wear Daily, New York Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, Elle, Marie Claire, New York Post and Cosmopolitan. THE NEW YORK TIMES wrote, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, the logic runs: Make the fakes, pocket the cash.” VOGUE called it, “The ultimate brand strengthening exercise”.CAMPAIGN wrote, “Diesel has bulldozed its way back onto the fashion scene.”HYPEBEAST wrote, “Diesel leaned headfirst into the winds of counterfeit culture and launched its own knock-off collection.”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.”