By  on January 11, 2002

NEW YORK -- With tongue firmly in cheek, Diesel has taken on a new target: corporate America.

In its $30 million spring-summer advertising campaign, the Italian brand pokes fun at large multinational corporations, such as McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Walt Disney and Nike, that try to dictate their consumers' emotions, such as drink that soft drink and you will be happy, or wear those sneakers and you can 'just do it.'

Although Diesel doesn't believe a company can tell people how to feel, it decided to have fun trying. With that in mind, it has become "the proud sponsor of all the best emotions in the world," said Maurizio Marchiori, vice president of marketing of Diesel USA, a division of Diesel SpA, the $530 million diversified apparel firm.

The company created Happy Valley, where excitement, joy, passion, pleasure, fun and freedom are available to experience and buy from Diesel. It also developed a new mascot named Donald Diesel, who guides people through Happy Valley wearing a permanent beaming plastic smile.

In one ad, for example, two girls and a boy are running through a field, along with Donald. The copy reads, "Fun is now sponsored by Diesel." There's a box in the corner that reads "Fun is a feeling that friends bring. What's your idea of fun? Is it the summer sun laughing in the sky? Or is it getting into a bar fight with a clown. Let your fun out to play today."

Another ad shows mascot Donald throwing water on a guy and girl, with the tag line "Pleasure is now sponsored by Diesel." The copy in the corner reads, "Pleasure is making friends wet with your joy juice. Ask neighbors to join you in a bath of goat's milk. Or give everyone a cake made of your heart, and laugh as they choke on your love."

Different executions offer freedom, innocence, romance, satisfaction and adventure -- all sponsored by Diesel.

"We wanted to create an artificial environment," explained Bridget Russo, a spokeswoman for Diesel. "We wanted to play off the Coke emotions. We're co-opting the emotions and exaggerating them to prove a point."

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