Diesel is selling shirts saying brand is ‘dead’ as part of star-studded campaign to tackle online bullying

Fashion brand Diesel’s latest ad campaign has opted to tackle online bullying, drafting in a host of famous faces including Nicki Minaj and Bella Thorne to wear clothing brandishing the hateful comments they’ve received on social media.

The campaign – Hate Couture – tells people that ‘the more hate you wear, the less you care’.

“It's more than a film - it's about trying to inspire people to not take online hate seriously,” said Bruno Bertelli, global chief creative officer for Publicis Worldwide and chief executive of Publicis Italy.

It’s the latest campaign to come from the agency since it won the account last year. Bertelli explained that a large part of the brief has been to restore Diesel’s reputation as an “edgy” brand and its repose has been the creation of several pieces of work, running for a limited period, which put the brand at the centre of a topic of conversation.

'Go with the Flaw', for example, was tied to the increased attention on the topic of body image.

“We need to be there when we have something relevant to say. Often-on is a better word than always-on,” said a senior marketer within the company of the approach.

The latest film stars a group of polarizing global personalities including Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane, Bella Thorne, Bria Vinaite, Tommy Dorfman, Miles Heizer, Yovanna Ventura, Barbie Ferreira, Yoo Ah-In and Jonathan Bellini, who have been drafted in to deliver the message.

The brand asked them to choose some of the worst comments they have ever received, and it then designed items for each of them. In the film actress Bella Thorne, for example, can be seen dancing in a red window wearing a dress emblazoned with the word ‘Slut’.

Taking the concept off-screen, Diesel has created a collection of jackets, shirts, and dresses which will have words like “slut”, “faggot” and “fuck you” on them. These will be sold to the public.

A total of 150 other social media influencers have also created their own items featuring the worst comments they’ve received and will create content for their own channels wearing the clothes. Later next month, customers will be able to do the same in-store.

The brand is also highlighting the negative comments it receives, such as ‘Diesel is Dead’, ‘Diesel is uncool’, and ‘It’s overpriced shit' by plastering them over the windows and walls of its nearly-50 stores worldwide. It's a bold move, and in Milan, police officers turned up to a store under the impression it had been vandalized.

“It's part of the Diesel DNA not to take ourselves too seriously. We want to be part of it,” the spokesman explained.

Diesel has partnered with a number of anti-bullying and cyberbullying programs in different countries around the world for the campaign and will be donating the profits from the collection.

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