Diesel finds success with a real knockoffs pop-up
If you can’t beat ‘em (them being counterfeiters), then co-opt them. That appears to be at least part of the thinking behind a pop-up shop opened by Diesel on Canal Street in New York’s Chinatown. With an attitude that said these products just fell off the back of a truck, Diesel employees disguised as peddlers hawked what appeared to be fraudulently branded merchandise.
Convincingly counterfeit Diesel products were emblazoned with a misspelling of the brand name (“Deisel”), wrapped in plastic bags and haphazardly tossed into boxes in the middle of the store floor. Signs written in neon marker hung around the store to top off the knock-off vibe.
When the brand revealed its counterfeit products to be real, shoppers flocked to Diesel’s pop-up shop to load up on authentic, one-of-a-kind Diesel merchandise. In fact, Diesel went so far as to suggest that customers resell its limited edition finds online for a slice of the profit.
There are more reasons for this stunt than initially meet the eye. The brand’s promotional video on YouTube — “Deisel – Go with the Fake” — suggests that the company’s false branding stunt was also a way of rewarding shoppers for their impeccable fashion sense in recognizing the quality of original Diesel merchandise, even sans the big brand label.
Others, however, have suggested that the real reason for the stunt was to help Diesel connect with a new generation of shoppers for whom traditional brand names don’t carry the same clout as they did for their predecessors.
Andy Bird, chief creative officer at Publicis — the ad agency behind the fake counterfeits — told Adweek, “There aren’t many brands that would take a calculated risk like this, but because they [Diesel] kind of know that they already have the cachet with the past history of advertising, they’ve always been a bit more adventurous and it fits perfectly with their outlook.”
The large “Sold Out” banner on the temporary “Deisel” merchandise section on the brand’s website testifies to the raging success of the initiative. More counterfeit “Deisel” products will be up for sale on Diesel’s website on February 15th, but the boosted brand image and heightened awareness of their “Go with the Flaw” campaign will last much longer than the limited-edition merchandise.
- Deisel – Go with the Fake – YouTube
- Why Diesel Opened A Deceptive NY Pop-Up Store Selling Knockoffs of Its Own Clothes – Adweek
- Diesel Beats Knock-Off Culture By Joining it With Fake ‘Deisel’ Pop-Up – Paper
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of Diesel’s decision to hawk authentic knock-off merchandise? Is this what it takes for a brand to achieve resonance with next generation shoppers?