Is culture jamming a trademark? A commodity that is more in the domain of an Adbusters and Naomi Klein and Michael Moore and perhaps even Noam Chomsky as popular tastemakers? I doubt Naomi Klein is going to be seen in K-Mart and responding to the P.A. system’s “attention K-Mart shoppers”. Its a question of distinction. of taste. of consumption that reinforces the pyramid. What ultimately is the distinction between an Adbusters ad, Klein books, and say, American Apparel ads?…
We are really talking here about an anti-consumerism industry based on the critique of mass society, the general malaise; but it is all predicated on the existence of consumerism and mass consumption to ensure its existence. In fact, as Thomas Frank has asserted, they do not serve to undermine consumerism in the least, in fact, they reinforce it. Whether this is by design, by conscious marketing strategy, or through a simple absence of intellectual horsepower is not clear.What is, is that new consumer profiles are created based on a certain form of dissent towards mass society but stopping shy of the issues of miltarism, racism and consumption at the heart of a problem contemplated by the Thoreau’s and Whitman’s, and Rousseau’s and even Arthur Miller in Death of a Salesman.
Unlike Adbusters, there are true critiques, such as by Grace Lee Boggs, which actually refrain from actually designing, making , marketing and hawking a product. Adbusters is one of many complex business models that are successful at marketing trademarked material.Like Rolling Stone, or Vanity Fair they have accomplished this task while marketing “non-marketing” type products through a veneer of critique, but employing the same basis of standardization and differentiation through distinction their critical targets use.
Adbusters only miss out on sales revenue one day a year, which is called “Buy Nothing Day.” However, they more than make up for this day of atonement, this down time, through product sales the other 364, 24/7 the same as other well known brands. Its simply a market based on its own form of distinction, an “anti-taste” and a certain snobbism since the marketing is geared for a particular segment which is essentially a white bourgeois youth protest market equally manipulated by others in the culture jamming industry; including the legitimacy and integrity of certain artists like a Ron English to piggyback and pretext a whole range of commercial considerations:
—This demographic is also profitably mined by such brand as American Spirit Cigarettes, The Daily Show, Tom & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Burning Man, “Organic” of “Green” anything. Prominently among the (not necessarily self defined) “culture-jamming” crowd, we would place Shepard Fairey and our dear friend Ron English in this category. Shepard and Ron richly deserve to make a living off their brilliant work. They are actual artists as opposed to mere marketers like the BLF and Adbusters. They have also paid their “street dues” through numerous arrests and beatings by the cops. We don’t begrudge them their financial success. We applaud it. Adbusters, however, seems intent on completely cornering the market on “Culture Jamming” products and we view their ultimate goals with more than a little suspicion. Sorry to seem so cynical, but after all we’re in advertising!—Read More:http://www.bombingscience.com/index.php/blog/viewThread/1433
Walter Benjamin wrote that the reproduction of an image in a new context completely changes the nature of that image and that that copies are qualitatively different from originals. Andy Warhol found the right formula in a relatively simple tactic of recontextualizing the imagery and language of advertising and consumer culture.Much the same way as Bob Dylan would repackage elements of Americana. Waht we have with Adbusters and Naomi Klein is a flirtation with the symbology of manufactured desire, using all the inventory of tropes it relies upon, re-formulates them with new packaging when it’s pulled out of the original context its creators engineered for it; Rousseau, Stuart Mill etc.
Kalle Lasn: We call ourselves cultural creatives and cultural jammers. One of the things we do is that we have created an anti-logo, we call it the blackspot. We have started manufacturing the Blackspot sneakers. The whole marketing philosophy is to steal the momentum of a mega brand, like with the Blackspot shoes, to unswoosh the momentum of the NIKE swoosh. We call this kind of a marketing technique “kick-ass-marketing”. We say “Let’s go there and change the sneaker industry. Let´s expose Nike for the real bad mega-corporation that it really is”. It is a powerful new technique which in the next few years will be used by people to also change the fast food industry. We have created a new kind of business dynamic which is still entrepreneurial. It still believes in market places, it still believes in capitalism. But it is taking market share and energy away from the mega-corporations and creating a more grassroots kind of capitalism. Read More:http://brainwash.webguerillas.de/uncategorized/guerilla-buzz-virales-marketing-adbusters/
What we need to see is that consumption is not about conformity, it’s about distinction. People consume in order to set themselves apart from others. To show that they are cooler (Nike shoes), better connected (the latest nightclub), better informed (single-malt Scotch), morally superior (Guatemalan handcrafts), or just plain richer (bmws)….
…The problem is that all of these comparative preferences generate competitive consumption. “Keeping up with the Joneses,” in today’s world, does not always mean buying a tract home in the suburbs. It means buying a loft downtown, eating at the right restaurants, listening to obscure bands, having a pile of Mountain Equipment Co-op gear and vacationing in Thailand. It doesn’t matter how much people spend on these things, what matters is the competitive structure of the consumption. Once too many people get on the bandwagon, it forces the early adopters to get off, in order to preserve their distinction. This is what generates the cycles of obsolescence and waste that we condemn as “consumerism.” Read More:http://this.org/magazine/2002/11/01/the-rebel-sell/