Like balloons, we’re filled with hopes and dreams. But over time a single sentence creeps into our lives. Don’t be stupid. It’s the crusher of possibility. It’s the world’s greatest deflator. The world is full of smart people doing all kinds of smart things… That’s smart. Well, we’re with stupid. Stupid is the relentless pursuit of a regret free life. Smart may have the brains, but stupid has the balls. The smart might recognize things for how they are, but the stupid see things for how they could be. Smart critiques. Stupid creates. The fact is if we didn’t have stupid thoughts, we’d have no interesting thoughts at all. Smart may have the plans, but stupid has the stories. Smart may have the authority, but stupid has one heck of a hangover. It’s not smart to take risks; it’s stupid. To be stupid is to be brave. The stupid aren’t afraid to fail. The stupid know there are worse things than failure–like not even trying. Smart had one good idea, and that idea was stupid. You can’t outsmart stupid, so don’t even try. Remember only stupid can be truly brilliant.
So “BE STUPID!” – The DIESEL STUPID PHILOSOPHY
Pitch Meeting with Diesel Execs and Anomaly Ad Agency
Setting: the top floor of a high-rise office building
DIESEL: Just to reiterate, we’re looking for something edgy here for our new global ad campaign. We sell jeans– jeans with attitude, and the world needs to know. Show us what you’ve got.
AD MAN: Ok, so let me tell you what we came up with. Let’s just start off with what I think is a crackerjack idea. What do you think of this: “Be an a-hole. Diesel.”
DIESEL: “Be an a-hole?”
AD MAN: Yes.
DIESEL: That’s it?
AD MAN: That’s it. “Be an a-hole.”
DIESEL: Hmmm. Maybe. What else do you got?
AD MAN: “Drop out of school.” Diesel.
DIESEL: Ok. What’s next?
AD MAN: “Don’t eat breakfast.” Diesel.
DIESEL: I kind of like breakfast.
AD MAN: “Pee your pants.” Diesel.
DIESEL: Ehhhh, it’s a little too visceral.
AD MAN: “Burn a book.” Diesel.
DIESEL: Interesting. GETTING WARMER, but no.
AD MAN: “Voting is lame. Diesel is not lame. Diesel. Not as lame as voting. Loser.”
DIESEL: Too long.
AD MAN: “Drink Diesel.”
DIESEL: Like gasoline?
AD MAN: Sure.
DIESEL: Or like our company?
AD MAN: Either way.
DIESEL: Could be hazardous. LAWSUIT POTENTIAL.
AD MAN: “Spill Diesel.”
DIESEL: Ok, now I’m just not tracking. Are you talking about jeans or fuel?
AD MAN: “Pour Diesel in your eyes.”
DIESEL: You do know that we sell jeans, right?
AD MAN: “Just do it.”
AD MAN: “Just do it.”
DIESEL: Are you telling me to “just do something,” or is that your slogan?
AD MAN: Which would you prefer?
DIESEL: I can’t tell if you’re being sardonic or if you’ve just run out of ideas.
AD MAN: “Be nothing.”
DIESEL: Ok, I think you’ve just run out of ideas.
(The DIESEL EXECS starts to exit the room.)
AD MAN: Wait! I do have one last idea. Last night, when I was procrastinating for this job because I was busy being spontaneous all over the place, I came up with something I think you might like. It was 2am, and I had just broken into a day care because I was really craving some Nilla Wafers. I got home, pounded a fifth of Schnapps, vomited over my fire escape, and wrote this.
(He hands a crumpled up napkin with the “Be Stupid Philosophy” written in crayon to the DIESEL executive.)
DIESEL: “Be stupid”?
AD MAN: “Be Stupid.” It’s not just a horrible slogan, it’s a philosophy.
DIESEL: Hmmm. Keep going.
AD MAN: Be stupid! All your life you’ve been told, “Don’t touch a hot stove!” Well maybe you should touch a hot stove! Just to see what its like! All your life you’ve been told, “Don’t drink water out of swamps!” Well, maybe that water tastes great and I just want to find out for myself! To be stupid is to be brave. The stupid aren’t afraid to fail. The stupid know there are worse things than failure, like not even trying, or death, or not being able to afford really expensive jeans, or losing your allowance when you’re 28, or having a warrant out for your arrest for breaking into a day care for a couple of stale cookies and some gummy bears that you found glued to a piece of construction paper. Be stupid. That’s my pitch to you. If you don’t like it, fine! That’s smart. But we want you to be stupid. “BE STUPID!”
DIESEL: I can’t tell if you’re being ironic or if you’re actually telling me to be stupid.
AD MAN: Neither can I!
DIESEL: So do you even know what you’re actually trying to say?
AD MAN: Does a bear cut down trees with a hammer?
AD MAN: Exactly!
DIESEL: I think I like it. It’s so stupid it’s confusing, which makes me want to know more, which would be the exact opposite of being stupid, which brings me back to being confused.
AD MAN: Yeah, ideally we’d like for people to just “Be stupid” and not look into it any further.
DIESEL: Why is that?
AD MAN: Well, you do sell $200 jeans right?
DIESEL: Touche. So, what does this look like? What sort of images are we talking about here?
AD MAN: I’m thinking we get a bunch of models doing stupid things.
DIESEL: Oh, ok. (Pause.) So, just to be clear, we are or aren’t being ironic here?
AD MAN: Yes. We get a bunch of models doing stupid things with dangerous animals. We could have a guy taunting a pack of wolves. We could have a girl in a bikini about to feed an angry lion or something. You know, stuff like that.
DIESEL: Oh, so you mean people actually “being stupid.” Like, you’re really telling people to “be stupid.”
AD MAN: Sure.
DIESEL: Not an ounce of sarcasm?
AD MAN: I honestly can’t even remember what that actually is.
AD MAN: No, thank you. I just ate.
DIESEL: Let’s get back to the project.
AD MAN: Right.
DIESEL: Despite an alarming sense of confusion, emptiness, distrust, and utter darkness, I’ve got a good feeling about this. You’re no Don Draper, but I like where your head is at. Or where it’s not at, or, you know, where it is. Anyway, I just have one last question.
AD MAN: Shoot.
DIESEL: What if people respond negatively to being told to “Be stupid?” What if people are smart enough to realize that we have no clue what we’re actually saying, and as a result become entirely disgusted by our product? Since we plan on putting these ads in teen magazines, what if we get some parents that are concerned about their kids “being stupid” from our ads that tell them to “be stupid”? What if spontaneity isn’t always the best choice? What if our culture is actually fed up with recklessness and sensationalism? What if people are more interested in a virtuous way of life where advertising enhances the product, the customer, and the culture? What if this whole thing backfires? What if we’re on the wrong side of a big joke?
(The AD MAN stares at the DIESEL executive. Silence.)
AD MAN: To be honest with you, I didn’t hear a word of what you just said.