Can you change your customers' attitudes?

I was at Bluewater last night and a huge Diesel advert in the window of Cecil Gee really caught my eye. A defiant looking, slightly scruffy guy strides towards you, accompanied with the slogan 'Governments Will Hate You' - with the tag line 'Be Stupid'.

I thought that this was a really interesting message - after all, Diesels's aim is to sell mens clothing, so why reference the government? Will that message help Cecil Gee sell more suits? In relatively politically charged times, it seems that there's not much love for the government right now. So in actual fact, Diesel might have hit on a new way to empathise with a despondant market and in doing so, encourage them to buy. This confident, declarative headline creates an attitude that consumers hit by budget cuts, tax credit cuts, higher income tax and potential job losses can identify with. It's defiant, emotive and hints very slightly on the anarchic. That said, the tag line 'Be Stupid' softens the message, making it silly and playful. Nonetheless, it sends out a strong message and the imperative tone tells us that they're not messing around - 'Be Stupid' isn't a suggestion, it's an order. Diesel have made a whole campaign out of this 'Be Stupid' message (I've posted a couple of my favourite, slightly more daft adverts below). The thing is, we all know that buying clothes won't actually change the government's attitude towards us. What we do know is that the way we dress tells the outside world a lot about us, and as a society we tend to use clothes to express ourselves. This type of advertising sends out a strong message and creates a state of mind we can identify with and want to be a part of - a brand that we want to buy in to, that encompasses our ideas and thoughts. It just goes to show that the right imagery and words can be really powerful - and will help you to sell.