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Culture Jamming: Fighting Fire With Fire

3182 words - 13 pages

INTRODUCTIONIn a world where everything is for sale, money is the undisputed ruler of many people's lives. In my Management Principles class, one of the final points my professor left with me is that corporations exist to make money. Around us we can see that lifelong employees can be "downsized" in the flash of a monetary profit. Thanks to Henry Ford and the assembly line, the machine rules and the worker is an object from which profit is to be wrung, where people are alienated from themselves, their co-workers and from hope. Money, poverty, and abuse go hand in hand and are quite common these days. Today, the only measure of value is how much profit something yields. According to the ...view middle of the document...

Advertising today look for stronger hooks, and it finds them in association and self-identification. The concept is especially simple: find or define a person's concept of self that is pleasing. Mold that conception such that the use of a product or service is essential to that conception. Imprint the idea that in order to be yourself, you need to purchase such-and-such a brand.Nike for example, understands this concept. After losing their market share to Reebok. Nike's new advertising campaign focused more on image and less on shoes. Their spokespeople don't sell the shoes, they sell the attitude. Nike sells the athletic ideals of determination, individuality, self-sacrifice, and winning. Nike ads almost never pitch a product nor mention the company's name. They create a mood, an attitude, and the associate that product with that mood. Call it image transfer. A cool ad equals a cool product equals a cool person for owning it.We are under ever-increasing pressure to submit, conform, and obey. Like the much-seen Globe commercials, advertisements ask, "Are you one of us?" You are nothing unless you are holding the latest Nokia cell phone in your hand, donning your Girbaud jeans with the elastic band of your Calvin Klein underwear sticking out, while sipping a diet Coke. We are told that this is the way to be cool, successful, and popular; this is the way to be somebody. A majority of the population has fallen for this ideology. However, not everyone has.Shadowy deception networks are working. Mostly they work under cover of darkness but occasionally in broad daylight. Their tools generally comprise of paper, glue, paint and computers. Their trade is illegal but they are seldom taken to court. Their aim is to mock, sabotage, parody, and ultimately destroy the world of advertisers and multinationals. They are the Culture Jammers and are coming soon to a town near you.DEFINITION OF CULTURE JAMMINGThe term "jamming" is CB radio slang for the practice of interrupting police signals. Culture Jamming is then defined as the different practices in contemporary media aimed to "jam" the signals ofthe media monopoly. This term was popularised by Mark Dery and could involve anything from media hacking, information warfare, terror-art, guerrilla semiotics, billboard altering, pirate TV and radio broadcasters, media hoaxers, and other vernacular media wrenchers who intrude on the intruders, investing ads, newscasts, and other media artifacts with subversive meanings. It is a movement that articulates a critique of corporate and media power, powers that keep the consumer culture going. Cultural Jammers want to practice social marketing: "to use public airwaves, not just to sell products and corporate images, but to sell ideas, stir public debate, and empower people to set their own agendas."The most popular form of culture jamming is subvertising. A subvertisement (a.k.a. subvert) mimics the look and feel of the targeted ad, making the viewers do a double-take....

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