Monday, March 08, 2004

War on Ads 

This is interesting.

I've some friends here in the states that are "culture jammers". It's basically the same thing as the French actions descibed in the article except the "vandalism" usually carries a creative message, often a bending of brand names and trademarks into social criticism. I like the American/Canadian approach better because it makes something creative, rather than just destroying ads.

Either way, though, I am glad that there are people actively challenging the assumption in Western society that advertising is a good thing. Private entities are choking out public space with a barrage of messages, and I find it disgusting. One of the main reasons I quit watching TV was because I was sick do death of being advertised at constantly. I won't even go to the movie theatres anymore for the same reason. I wait 'til whatever I want to see comes out on DVD so I can avoid the ads they pummel you with in theatres despite the fact that you already paid some ridiculous fee to sit in your seat.

If anyone wants fascinating (and very well researched and organized) read on the subject, may I suggest No Logo, by Naomi Klein. It's an incredible book on branding and advertising, their effects on globalization and how it is progressing, and the rise of anti-corporate activism worldwide. If you're more into magazines, or perhaps a bit more radical, check out Adbusters.

One think irks me about the movement, in the same way ANSWER irks me where the anti-war movement is concerned:

"Capitalism needs consumerism to survive," she said. "If we get rid of advertising, we get rid of consumerism and that will get rid of capitalism."

I agree with the short-term goal (get rid of overadvertising and give public space back to the public) but have some issues with the stated long-term goal (Communism? What?).

Extremes are not the answer. The problem is, we've got an extreme now, and it needs to be taken down more than a few notches...so until the tide turns, I'm on the side of the adbusters.


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