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03 FEBRUARY 2009

Truth In Advertising: Breaking The Spell Of Consumerism

Most Americans haven't heard of the Media Foundation or its magazine Adbusters: Journal of the Mental Environment, but each day, more and more people get hit by one of its "mindbombs." That's what Kalle Lasn – editor of Adbusters and cofounder of the Media Foundation – calls the organization's "subvertisements": advertisements aimed at subverting consumer culture.

Nearly everyone is familiar with Joe Camel, the cartoon camel used by RJ Reynolds for ten years to sell cigarettes – especially to children, critics said. In response, Lasn's Media Foundation gave us Joe Chemo, a bald camel lying in a hospital bed with IVs in both arms. Another cigarette–ad parody showed a Marlboro Man look–alike smoking a limp cigarette over the caption "Smoking Causes Impotence."

Still other counterads have taken on alcohol (a battered child seen through a vodka bottle, with the caption "Wipe That Smirkoff"), food monopolies, the fashion industry, and consumer culture in general.
...
Central to all of Lasn's work is the fight against corporate control, not only of politics, but also of our hearts and minds. He has written, "I see Americans and Canadians as having lost spontaneity, verve, individuality and having become consumer drones. We are like rats in a box, and the box is the shopping mall. It's funny but also very sad. You have to wonder sometimes, 'Are we really still free?'
(Derrick Jensen, The Sun Magazine)

[YouTube clip titled 'The Beauty Industry is the Beast']

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TAGS

Adbustersadvertisingadvertising images • anorexia • anti-fashion • beauty constructionbeauty industrybody • bulimia nervosa • consumerismcritical commentaryculture jamming • Joe Camel • Joe Chemo • Kalle Lasn • Marlboro (cigarette) • Media Foundation • mindbomb • obsession • RJ Reynolds • smoking causes impotencesubvertisements

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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