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Frenchies Go Gaga for Stupid Ads


It’s smart to be stupid.

At least that’s the case for Anomaly, creator of Diesel's "be stupid" ad campaign and winner of the Grand Prix for outdoor advertising at this year's Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in France. The other outdoor Grand Prix—this is the first year there have been two—was awarded to Del Campo/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi for its "Teletransporter" campaign for Andes beer.

"Be stupid" is, if anything, straightforward. The ads for the Italian jeans company, which encourage people to choose stupidity over brains, rely on questionable logic and strong san-serif lettering to hammer home their message.

And if bright and sexual photographs aren’t enough to grab consumers' attention, the slogans themselves—written in all caps (lowercase here for the sake of the reader)—are sure to catch the eye: "Smart may have the brains, but stupid has the balls," "Smart critiques, stupid creates," and "Smart had one good idea and that was stupid," among others.

diesel1"There are two kinds of people in the world," Mike Byrne, executive creator director and partner at Anomaly, tells, "people that listen to their head and people that listen to their heart." The campaign roots for the latter.

The success of Anomaly’s work for Diesel comes from successful collaboration between the two companies, says Jason DeLand, partner at Anomaly. "It's a great example of what you can do when a client and agency are in total lockstep."

That, he says, and the ads are "ballsy." Perhaps it’s that forwardness—both visual and linguistic—that earned the ads a top award at the 57th incarnation of the ad fest, showing just how far the whole be-dumb-and-have-fun lifestyle can take you. "Be stupid" may be stupid, but the campaign's meta success convinced the right people that it's smart advertising. Or, like, the judges are stupid.