Case Study | 15 MB of Fame with Diesel

Picture this: You really, really want to get a new pair of jeans, so you whip out your credit card  and go to Diesel.com... but instead of being directed to the the retailer's homepage, this is what you see:

http://heidies.com/demo2/splash.php
http://heidies.com/demo2/splash.php

You soon discover that two gorgeous and crazy girls, the Heidies, have hijacked Diesel.com on a quest to become famous and get their 15 MB of Fame! Not only have they hijacked the retailer's Web site, they also stole the new and unreleased Diesel Intimate collection, kidnapped a Diesel employee named Juan, and are going to hold him captive in an undisclosed hotel room until their demands are met. With six cameras in the hotel room and 24/7 live coverage viewers are able to watch the ridiculous, and sometimes scandalous, things that the Heidies do with Juan.

Diesel.com was not the only place to get this entertaining information. The Heidies used MySpace to spread the word about their hijacking and shared  videos on their YouTube channel and photographs on Flickr. They also encouraged viewers (18 and over) to vote on what the they should do to torture Juan next. The voicers' choice of wax was placed on YouTube. Five days later after the hijacking, Diesel agreed to the Heidies demands for a professional fashion photographer. 

If you haven't figured it out yet, this whole production was a viral marketing campaign, "15 MB of Fame with Diesel," developed by Diesel, in collaboration with Farfar, for the Diesel underwear collection launch in January 2007. In aninterview with an official spokesperson from Diesel, blogger Stefan Richter, got the behind-the-scenes details. I found the results of the campaign to be the most intriguing part of the interview. According to the Diesel spokesperson, the 24/7 coverage of the hostage situation reached an average of 100,000 visits by the third day, tripling the average daily traffic of the site. The Heidies also established real relationships with thousands of fans from this campaign, many of whom sent in fan-mail, and pleaded with Diesel to keep the site up. 

This campaign was so successful, that it won the prestigious Grand Prix in the cyber competition at the Cannes Advertising Festival in 2007. This was not the first time that Diesel had been recognized at the Cannes. Diesel won a Grand Prix in the print and poster competition in 2001 and a Grand Prix in the TV commercials competition in 1997.

How fabulously ridiculous was this campaign? What other brands would be willing to go to these extremes to advertise a new product or line?

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