Diet soda is one of the few substances scientifically known to be ingested by fashion models. So, it's not completely off the wall that Jean Paul Gaultier has been named creative director for Diet Coke in Europe. (He replaces Karl Lagerfeld in the role.) What is off the wall is the new ad campaign Gaultier is doing for the brand.
The French haute couture designer, 59, stars in a series of videos—three so far—in which he saves ditsy marionettes caught in the throes of fashion emergencies. Gaultier plays a photojournalist, therapist, and a detective in the clips, and gives makeovers to the "Diet Coke girls" in the process. (This is in addition to his designing limited-edition bottles and cans, retail concepts and other communications materials for the brand.)
In classic fashion-advertising style, the videos are flaky, beautiful, incoherent and vaguely menacing—with Gaultier manhandling these literal stick figures until they moaningly protest, before being won over by his genius. "Do you intend to press charges?" Gaultier says at the end of each spot—but each girl insists breezily that, no, she hasn't been violated at all. (This after one of them has been pulled across a floor, yelling, "Please, I beg you! You can hurt me, but don't ruin my style!")
Diet Coke plays the role of Gaultier's magic formula in the spot—he takes a sip and suddenly knows exactly what to do with his girls.
The same is true, apparently, of his Diet Coke bottles—the designs will be unveiled soon. "The brand asked me to explore its fun personality and to style the bottle," he says. "I want to show people the codes and signatures I love. The bottles have the shape of a woman's body, so it was great fun to 'dress' them. The Diet Coke motif is so beautiful, I had to design around this. The finishing touch was to apply my logo to the bottle, like applying a fragile stamp—making it something special you want to touch."
And maybe even take a drink.
Client: Diet Coke
Creative director: Jean Paul Gaultier