June 14, 2003
Unbrand America (with another brand)
Ok, I have really mixed feelings about Adbusters. On one hand I think they are dealing with some very important issues in Western culture and are quite vigorous and creative in the way they push their ideals. On the other hand I think they are often just plain wrong in the way they look at the world and its economics. They are infected by a very serious case of blame the messenger and also suffer from a serious case of delusional hypocriticalness. But often I find myself supporting their individual causes.
Brands and advertising are not the problem. The problem is the way certain corporations use brands and advertising. A subtlety that seems to be completely lost in world of Adbusters and Naomi Klein. The Brand is a tool. Advertising is a tool. Both are extremely useful. And both are used far more effectively by corporations then by their opponents. Blaming brands and advertising for the ills wrought by the likes of Enron, Monsanto and Dow Chemical is like blaming steel for the fact that Hitler and Bush use it to build weapons.
Branding and advertising are powerful tools. And in the right hands they can be used for very positive effects. And while they might not admit it, Adbusters just launched a potentially powerful branding campaign, ironically entitled Unbrand America.
The brandmark is a black dot, simple, bold and effective. The goal is get people to put it everywhere, blacking out corporate logos by the ceo-load. Good stuff. I support it completely and hope it takes off. Its about time we reclaim the power of branding and symbols from the publicly traded corporations that have been using them against us for the past century.
So go ahead and savor the irony by Unbranding America, with another brand of course.Posted by Abe at June 14, 2003 09:53 PM