Want to stay young? Drink urine, says Diesel

So, what's the story?

So, what’s the story?

Denim brand Diesel claims to have discovered the secrets of remaining forever young, and is espousing the virtues of cloning and drinking your own urine, among other things.

Photographed by Jean Pierre Khazem, under the direction of the company’s new Dutch AOR Kessels Kramer, the ‘Save Yourself’ campaign pokes fun at society’s obsession with the fountain of youth. ‘So many people are [worried about] their appearance,’ explains Marissa Guerrera, ad manager at the company’s Canadian headquarters in Montreal. ‘They’re going to spas where they can relax and stay wrinkle free. This [campaign] is a big joke.’

The ads feature models wearing barely detectable facemasks. The effect is eerie; they look like robotic characters in some bizarre sci-fi flick (think Bladerunner).

In one of them, a woman decked out in denim strikes an unnatural pose, and holds an antique wineglass filled with what is supposed to be urine (we’re assuming it’s really apple juice). Her name is Helen Pickering, and she was born in 1899. The copy reads, ‘I’ve been enjoying the fountain of youth for over a century. It’s full of vitamins, I can make it myself and there’s a never-ending supply. I may have bad breath but I look fantastic.’

In another ad named ‘Cloning,’ Louise Kemp-Welch, who was born in 1893, has copied herself four times and all versions are fabulously dressed in stylish Diesel clothes. ‘I thought my youth was over, but then I discovered cloning,’ she explains. ‘Now I can enjoy being young and attractive again and again. And if I discover a wrinkle, I’ll just clone another me!’

Other ways to ward off old age, according to Diesel? Don’t have sex, sleep 100 years straight and attach yourself to a computer.

Isn’t Diesel afraid that some poor schlep will actually take their advice?

Those who know what Diesel is all about will recognize the irony in these ads, believes Guerrera. ‘It’s tongue-in-cheek as usual,’ she says. ‘We don’t think people will take it literally, because they tend not to take our other campaigns literally.’ Plus, ‘Save Yourself’ is indirectly targeted at youth, who will both comprehend and commend its subversive nature, she adds. ‘We’ve never been a brand that has attacked the youth market with advertising that’s constantly in your face. This is an underground way, where they can look at it and say it’s funny and think it’s cool.’

Who is cool enough for diesel’s new barbie crew?

The 12-page double spread and 11-single page ads won’t show up in serious, stodgy magazines, like Homemaker’s, anytime soon. They’re geared at young, urban consumers who are likely to read edgier glossies and pick up on the satire. The print campaign will kick off in August when an ad appears in Fugues, a gay magazine published in Montreal, which will coincide with the city’s Gay Pride festivities. Then in September the anti-aging spoof will also emerge in Shift, Elle Quebec, Elle Canada, Fashion and Flare.

A national billboard effort is also planned for Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary. Since the images are set against a white backdrop, backlit billboards will really make them pop out, says Guerrera. The uncluttered nature of the ads mark a change for the jeans manufacturer, whose creative generally focuses on busy, colour-drenched scenes.

‘These images are extremely clean and you can see the garment very well,’ explains Guerrera. ‘So the irony is still there to bring it back to Diesel, but you also really see the product, which is important.’