Diesel Gets Deep With ‘Be Stupid’

There’s been plenty of kvetching about Diesel’s latest ‘Be Stupid’ ad campaign. I just saw the “Smart Listens to the Head/Stupid Listens to the Heart/Be Stupid” version on the street. Initially, I gave it an eyeroll.

I take it back. I think there might actually be a message here beyond the obvious you’d-have-to-be-stupid-to-buy-$250-jeans joke.

Diesel’s using ‘Smart’ as a metaphor for what’s expected, certain, rational. Smart might be safe, but we live in a world that’s increasingly not. We’re caught in a shitstorm of uncertainty; a place where forces out of our control – economic instability, terrorist threats, environmental repercussions – mean we’re not quite sure what to expect anymore.

If going to X college no longer nets us Y job and Z lifestyle – if what’s to come is indifferent to what we’ve been conditioned to want – what’s our next move? How do we go on?

Most of us live in two tenses: We plan for the future, or we long for the past. Why do we ignore the present?

Because it’s where things change; where what’s done gets undone; where what was to be no longer is.

The present leaves us marooned on an island amoral to our individual wants and needs, one where nothing exists before or after right now. The only way to deal with it is to just be what you are, the most honest version of yourself.

This probably sounds like a pseudo-intellectual crock of shit. Stupid, if you will.

Diesel’s latest ad campaign isn’t telling us to dumb ourselves down.

It’s telling us to live in the now. It’s telling me not to go to law school and be a lawyer and save my money so I can eventually do what I really want to do, which is be a writer; it’s telling me to write now, even if it puts me on the poverty line.

We’ve all got our own versions of Diesel’s Smart/Stupid story. Maybe the silver-lining of the current climate is the freedom to pursue the alternative, the ideal, what’s not expected of us, what we really want.

I’m on board. Be Stupid.

Comments

  1. Dada says

    Love your site!!! Even though I understand what they are trying to convey, I can’t get on board with the idea that it’s cooler to only use one side of your brain…it works for them though, only someone stupid would pay 200+ for jeans

  2. Melanie says

    You are SMART in your definition of the present:
    “Go back folks, it’s GOOD!
    You are SMART and SHINE as you further define our “marooned nature” (big Buddhist Monk nod : )
    You are STUPID with BALLS as you ask us to be the most honest version of ourselves…
    … with your help we will GET THERE!!!

  3. M says

    Smart has the brains
    Stupid has the balls

    huh?
    Zombies get the brains
    Darwin gets the stupids.

    Darwin wins. except when zombies are involved.

  4. James says

    “Most of us live in two tenses: We plan for the future, or we long for the past. Why do we ignore the present?”

    So you’re telling me that living in the present is a stupid thing to do? If this is the underlying message of Diesel’s Be Stupid campaign, I’d have to assume so.

    I get your point – chase your dreams. Figure out what you really want out of life and run with it. Now is that stupid? I don’t think so.

    And I know this is all a metaphor, but don’t forget that what Diesel wants is to sell jeans, not cheap philosophy. And as far as cheap philosophy goes, this one has some seriously damaged concept associations.

    But hey, maybe it rocks their target audience. If that’s the case, kudos for the creative minds behind this. I wonder if they are stupid or smart. I guess I’m just over-analyzing. Which puts me on the smart side I guess. So no Diesel Jeans for me. I don’t want to walk around with a brand that identifies me as stupid.

    • says

      james, it’s obvs stupid to pay $200 for diesel jeans, but you gotta give them props for a kickass ad campaign. if you don’t stop hating on my pseudo-deep analysis, i’ll have no choice but to ban your gender from this blog. :P

  5. Sunny says

    I loved the campaign because it had great sense of humor and I love your interpretation about it!!!!

    I d/l-ed the booklet and it really entertains me when I’m having a bad day.

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