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Memo Pad: More Diesel Fuel... Film Forum... Split Decision...

Diesel is in a spending mood, increasing its already substantial advertising budget from 5 percent of sales to 7 percent for 2008.

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MORE DIESEL FUEL: Diesel is in a spending mood, increasing its already substantial advertising budget from 5 percent of sales to 7 percent for 2008. But the always unconventional label won't be spending it all with the fashion establishment. The company is planning guerilla marketing initiatives around the world and is increasingly targeting multimedia and digital communication, as well as an outdoor presence via a stepped-up billboard campaign.

Creatively, for spring, Diesel is using its ads to showcase product across its different collections for the first time, while tweaking the frenzy of modern, high-speed life. Diesel tapped British celebrity photographer Laurie Bartley, who portrays a series of models whizzing through a museum taking photos, or out on the streets of Los Angeles, running while putting on lipstick at the same time. "We want to point at the absurdity of these situations, which prevent us from savoring them," said a Diesel spokeswoman. The photos will include pieces from the new Diesel Black Gold line, in addition to the other collections, but the logo appearing on the ads will remain the brand's white and red banner.
— Luisa Zargani

FILM FORUM: The Gucci brand might be more at home on the Milanese runways than Iraqi war fields, but its recent association with the Tribeca Film Institute will certainly bring it closer to the latter. The Italian fashion house has entered a partnership with Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal's film initiative, creating the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund. For 2008 alone, the new fund has pledged a total of $80,000 to three documentaries. (The selection panel is in formation). At a dinner celebrating the partnership on Tuesday night at Chanterelle, Gucci president Daniella Vitale said: "Gucci and Tribeca might seem like unlikely partners, but as a company, art-based projects are very important to us."

In the crowd were docu bigwigs Albert Maysles, Barbara Kopple, Rory Kennedy, HBO's Sheila Nevins, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, as well as Bob and Lee Woodruff, Ed Burns and Christy Turlington and Visionaire's Cecilia Dean. After a dinner of turbot and roast beef, they were treated to more than the usual dessert: a conversation between ABC News' Dan Harris and filmmaker Alex Gibney about his Oscar-nominated "Taxi to the Dark Side" — an examination of American policy on torture through the story of an Afghani taxi driver who was beaten to death in U.S. custody in 2002.
Meanwhile, Visionaire co-founder and makeup artist James Kaliardos was gearing up for his performance on Sunday at Lower East Side club The Box. He's singing as part of singer Adam Dugas' campy Christmas spectacular, "Chaos & Candy 6: Chicken in the Snow."
— Elisa Lipsky-Karasz

SPLIT DECISION: Portfolio's latest exit is former New York Observer media writer Gabriel Sherman, who is joining The New Republic to be a special correspondent. "He wanted to cover the presidential campaign," said a spokeswoman for the magazine. He'll stay on the Portfolio masthead as a contributing editor.
— Irin Carmon

SOLD AMERICAN: Several creative directors in the U.S. have complained that the fall ad campaigns this season were dull and lacked creativity, compared with those seen in Europe. But that's not stopping brands such as French Connection and Marithé & François Girbaud, which have tapped U.S.-based creative agencies for the first time for their spring campaigns. Marithé & François Girbaud's U.S. licensing partner, I.C. Isaacs & Co., has hired creative agency Menage a Trois in New York to lead marketing and creative direction. Industry sources estimate that the company is shelling out between $3 million to $4 million to relaunch the brand, which includes the debut of two denim collections and an ad campaign for Le Jean de Marithé & François Girbaud that is being shot in Paris. The campaign will appear in the March/April issues of Nylon, BlackBook, Paper and Complex, said a spokeswoman.
— Amy Wicks