So, Diesel have released a new ad campaign. It’s tagline? BE STUPID. Capitalised and emboldened, it not only encourages but implores people to take risks, to explore beyond the sensible and the safe. Why? But for the sake of creativity of course.
The posters portray ‘stupid’ scenarios; a man with an the trunk of an elephant tucked between his legs, a woman flashing her breasts at a CCTV camera and a group of four people all crammed onto a mini go-kart, to name a few. All this with more bold capitals – captions such as ‘SMART SAYS NO, STUPID SAYS YES’ and ‘SMART HAS THE PLANS, STUPID HAS THE STORIES’. The campaign has been widely criticised, and with good reason. No smart and hardworking person wants to be told that their stupid counterparts are actually much smarter than them. Also, call it stating the obvious but the term stupid doesn’t exactly have positive connotations, does it?
Six weeks ago, I handed in my notice at a job that I’ve had for over a decade. No, really. At the time I didn’t have a ‘plan B’, but convinced myself that the lack of a plan would bring out my more proactive side. I thought of it as incredibly brave, but friends of mine thought otherwise. They called me stupid. And so I relate to this campaign.
Personally, I think it is very clever. Y’see, it’s all about the irony. How ironic it is that people that are perceived as conventionally smart are in fact not so at all, because they are unwilling to take risks. It’s about encouraging people to stand out, to champion change and to be creative thinkers. Surely there is nothing wrong in that?
In my opinion and my experience, out of most seemingly stupid ideas and actions something amazing results. Like the time when I agreed to run the marathon and then did next to no training (stupid, very stupid). In the end, I completed the 26.2 mile course in 25 degree heat and raised £27,000 for my chosen charity. I’m sure a smart person would not have even tried.
As the campaign tells us, stupid is trial, and mostly error. But without mistakes, how do we learn? So go on, strike a match. Because success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion, you have to light yourself on fire.
Sounds stupid, doesn’t it?