In this ad that appeared in Russian magazines,
happy babies frolic on a bearskin rug
while sporting Armani diapers.
The original idea was hatched at a dinner where marketing executives, whose clients were a global diaper brand, discussed whether Armani or Gucci could be licensed to create a luxury brand of diapers. Images from the advertising campaign were first sent to online fashion sites. Then the ad went viral.
Some in the United States questioned whether the ad was real, but the ad’s creator said nobody in Russia was surprised, because in Russia:
"If you go to a kids’ store, you can easily find an Armani corner with $300 sneakers. If you go to a toy store, you can find a toy car for $20,000 or a baby carriage for $30,000."
The advertisement was created by artist Petro Wodkins. Here’s an excerpt from his interview in the magazine Paper:
Wodkins says he got the idea for his latest project while attending a dinner last year with a group of marketing executives whose client was a global diaper brand…
Whatever shred of believability the ad had was connected, on some level, to the pervasive stereotype of billionaire nouveau riche Russian oligarchs with indiscriminate spending habits; it’s likely that the spread of the image would not have been as successful — or as credible — if it had claimed to be selling Armani diapers in France, Germany or even the U.S. "The current image of Russia is that any shit can happen here," Wodkins says. There are "many reasons to believe that because there are people buying basketball clubs, expensive yachts, expensive art, security guards… It makes people worldwide believe that these crazy Russians are spoiled."
In post-communist Russia "it’s about showing off and buying whatever you can," Wodkins says of the consumer culture there. "I hope my work will get people to think about whether they really need all of this. I want the Russian image to change."
The ad, of course, was a fake. Here’s another of Mr. Wodkin’s works that I mentioned on Deceptology: The golden pissing Petro prank>>
Read more about his diaper prank: Is Armani Selling $30 Diapers to Russian Babies? Paper>>
– Petro Wodkins>>