Is the Diesel Brand Running on Fumes?

Well the Doc opened the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

I saw this full-page ad in Thursday’s New York Times:

Picture 1

You have the control?

What are you going to do with it?


What’s going on here, Doc?

– Low Octane

Dear Low Octane,

What’s going on is a reinvention of Diesel’s brand image with a social-media twist. As blogger Nik Thakkar writes on Karl Is My Uncle:

Diesel Reboot, or aptly tagged #DIESELREBOOT is being described as the inception stage in the full blown diesel-rebootreinvention of the Diesel brand. It’s essentially a digitally based community (on Tumblr) where [new artistic director Nicola] Formichetti is enlisting a new generation of brand ambassadors to submit imagery, inspiration, ideas and art to help create a new set of iconography for the brand. It feels fresh, for the brand at least, but the concept itself is basically a simple crowd-sourcing and idea generation campaign.

(It says something about the state of the media that a mainstream vehicle like the Times is used to promote a digitally based community.)

profile of Diesel mogul Renzo Rosso in Forbes magazine noted several months ago, “Rosso has spent the last decade snapping up majority stakes in small, prestigious fashion houses all across Europe: Paris-based Maison Martin Margiela, Amsterdam’s Viktor & Rolf and, this past December, Milanese label Marni.” But he lost out on a bid for Italian couture house Valentino “to an investment vehicle backed by Qatar’s royal family, who reportedly paid around $860 million.”

Money graf:

He’s aware that to compete with Qatari money, not to mention fashion’s two French kingpins–LVMH and PPR –he may have to consider a public offering to fuel further acquisitions. He’s just not sure if that’s what he wants. “The size of the group is quite nice,” he says, before pausing. “Never say never.”

So it’s very likely that the New York Times ad is not just a call for imagery, inspiration, ideas, and art. It’s also a shoutout to Wall Street.