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For Diesel, It's Hardly Labor

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NEW YORK Today's daily grind may not involve much manual labor, but that didn't stop creative staffers at Kessels- Kramer in the Netherlands from conjuring up grueling work scenarios for Diesel's fall print campaign.

Playing off the apparel maker's fall designs, which draw inspiration from laborers' and miners' clothing, 10 executions breaking in September magazines show models exerting themselves doing easy tasks. In one ad, a couple pulls vigorously at an electric cord; copy reads: "Today we work hard to plug in the video game." In another execution, a man bathed in sweat attempts to put his key in the lock of a door; copy reads: "Today we work hard to get home." The tagline remains "For successful living."

The idea arose from considering what menial tasks have replaced the laborious work of yesteryear, like starting a coal fire or milking a cow, according to agency creative partner and copywriter Tyler Whisnand. "People used to do physically hard labor to get through the day," Whisnand said. "With modern conveniences, that's all gone away. Now we struggle with luxurious work—programming mobile phone, checking e-mail."

As models accomplished tasks such as eating desert and going shopping, photographer Finley MacKay, who shot the ads in Paris, had them run or exercise so they would appear exhausted. When that wasn't enough, a stylist sprayed a solution of glycerine and water on them to resemble sweat, and had them flex their muscles and scream and yell. "It was pretty primal," Whisnand said.

Other creatives on the account include Erik Kessels, partner, creative director and art director, and Matthijs de Jongh, creative partner and strategy director.

Previous advertising by Diesel includes a TV and cinema spot that broke in March, showing a world where there is no gas and people had to push their cars.

The new print ads will run in September magazines ranging from Interview and Black Book to Teen Vogue. A Web component can be found at www.diesel.com.