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Diesel Japan’s new ad urges to break down walls for a united future

Diesel launched a short film ‘The Walls’, a part of its global campaign “Make Love Not Walls”, in partnership with Geometry Global Japan. In this new spot, the agency adopted a Japanese interpretation to visualise ‘walls’ that need to be torn down.

The film starts with a bird’s view over Tokyo at night. The Tokyo Tower in the centre completes the city’s look – glamorous, refined and urbane. And three ‘Love Soldiers’ appear, aimed at breaking down mental and physical walls.

Three scenes symbolising walls are set up – all very familiar to Japanese audience but also resonate with many other parts of the world. It opens with a shot of a businessman arriving hurriedly to a standing soba noodle shop. He is clearly in a rush continuously checking his phone, while his phone constantly going off with sound of new messages arriving. A girl singing a love song in a solo karaoke booth. Midway through the song she stops singing with a lonely look on her face. Two boys walking down the street together, one of the boys is attempting to put his arm around the other with the other boy pulling away looking uncomfortable.

Then suddenly energetic and rhythmic music kicks in. Through a mixture of close-up and mid-shots, from behind only to build intrigue, the three Love Soldiers walk with purpose down a Tokyo street. They split off in different directions with almost military precision.

Still seen only from behind, each Love Soldier stops in front the locations of the characters from the opening shots. The film follows the Love Soldiers into the locations. In each location a subtle action by each Love Soldier leads to a character noticing a new character or their current partner. In a hallway, a Love Soldier opens a door to one karaoke booth then opens another directly opposite. The girl singing the love song looks across and meets the eyes of a boy singing alone in the other booth. On the street as the uncomfortable boy turns to walk away from the other we see a Love Soldier bringing their hands together. In the restaurant the Love Soldier unscrews the lid of the pepper canister. When the businessman tries to use it, pepper spills everywhere and on to a woman next to him. His phone goes off again but instead of checking it he spends time cleaning up the mess with help from the woman next to him. In each instance the characters do not notice the Love Soldiers’ actions.

Adding impact to the voice over message, each Love Soldier is seen in mid-close-up, looking directly into camera with a knowing look, a raised eyebrow, a smirk.

What then follows is a montage of close-up vignettes of suggestive imagery composed with a variety of Japanese themed objects e.g. kendama balls hitting each other, a tengu mask, matsutake mushroom, etc. The montage builds in pace to a frenzied crescendo.

On a bright rooftop, all the characters are together as a group, some of them with their arms around each, others hugging. There is a positive and upbeat atmosphere to the scene. They are facing the camera as they come together as a group. The Love Tank sits central in the frame behind them, whilst on either side, one Love Soldier holds up flags made of the Diesel campaign pattern. The background is very bright, signifying the dawn of a new era.

The concept and story of ‘The Walls’ originated from Japan.

Hitoshi Kato, Senior Vice President Marketing & Communication of DIESEL JAPAN CO.,LTD, said, “The first thing we considered when planning to localise this global campaign was the importance of making it relevant and suitable for the Japanese market. The stronger the message is, the more need there is for communications to be based on a real understanding of the local market, of the situation it is in at that particular point in time. Unless the work is created/adapted and deployed based on this understanding, there will not be many people who understand or empathisze with it. What was challenging was how to localize the work while still keeping the tone and manner of the global campaign, and this was something we discussed at considerable length with the Geometry team. There were significant changes made from the original direction during the project, and the time frame was limited. However, I believe the team produced high-quality work. Also, the Geometry team who worked on this project have a very good understanding of our aims, preferences and ways of thinking, so it was very easy for us to collaborate and work with this team. True, it was tough – hard work – but we had fun working together.”

Commenting on this film, Masato Mitsudera, ECD of Geometry Global Japan, said “We aim to show that Diesel is on the frontline of creating a society we want to live in, where anyone can love anyone. The message that this video delivers is to break down the invisible walls that divide people. We hope it creates dialogue about the diversity of love, and make people feel more positive about it.”

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