PETER YORK ON ADS

No 99: DIESEL JEANS
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The Independent Culture
DO ad directors pop out to Southall on a regular basis to load up on Indian films? Does the idea of Bollywood appeal as essentially comic? Do they get to see real Indian ads? There was a choccy ad last year which was quite an elaborate take on traditional Indian film, with its magical fights and luscious heroines. Now Diesel Jeans, famous for its print-ad firsts in the hipper US magazines - the first slacker looks, the first with two sailors kissing, the first real Nineties US Bohemians - have gone on TV with a funny Indian background combining the ideas of the new entrepreneurial India - probably Bombay - and the Indian film industry.

Our main man's a fat young businessman, an Elvis lookalike, who hits the deck selling "jeans that can take a beating and yet be as stylish as very good fashion". He's working with an updated Peter Sellers vocabulary. They're working with an Indian film- colour vocabulary: startling gorgeous pinks, purples and yellows. He walks through scenes of Indian life, played deadpan for laughs - an office with sari'ed office ladies at desks; a pool-side scene with a chorus of lovely girls in yellow - demonstrating product qualities just like ... an Indian ad. He shows the jeans' non-split qualities in a golf situation, wiggles his big bottom and has it admired by another lovely compliant girl.

He demonstrates the wonder fabric - made of "Triklon and Cyclon" - by jumping in the pool, "then dry in five or six seconds". The ladies by the pool get going to a choral Bhangra beat. Everything he says is completely absurd, wonderfully enthusiastic and early-Sixties telly in its references. He leaves in a Fifties American car with two major thoughts: "no-problem jeans for no-problem people - and good for your love-life too".

The theme of Asian versions of archaic Western ad-mode as innately comic is deeply un-PC, but a very rich seam. The Diesel ad is beautifully art- directed, very funny and absolutely right for British sensibilities. I wonder what they make of it in Southall.

! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials.

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