Big business marketing, as I explain in The Consumer Trap book, is neither more nor less than the adaption of the classic methods of class-struggle-from-above to the purpose of manipulating the off-the-job experiences and behaviors of so-called “consumers.”
As such, the main tactics are threats, false promises, mindfucks (information shifts), and lies/propaganda.
This explains why so many of the world’s most important political shibboleths are essentially aggressive marketing campaigns.
“When President Obama said we were going to get out within 16 months, some people heard, ‘get out,’ and everyone’s gone. But that is not going to happen,” the [un-named, Obama-approved military] officer said.
Chris Floyd, whose invaluable work keeps getting better and better as the world staggers toward the capitalist cliff, has a rather apt observation:
No indeed, that is “not going to happen.” One of the most remarkable aspects of Obama’s “war lite” plan is its brazen and absolute disregard for the agreement signed between the United States and the supposedly sovereign Iraqi government guaranteeing the complete withdrawal of all American troops by the end of 2011. Of course, this “agreement” was always considered a farce by everyone – except for the American corporate media, which kept reporting on the “tough negotiations,” as if the pact would have any actual meaning in the real world. The agreement was vitiated by escape clauses allowing the Iraqi government to “request” a continued American military presence after the 2011 deadline; and considering that any Iraqi government in place in 2011 will be helplessly dependent on American guns and money to maintain its power, such a “request” has always been a dead certainty. So I suppose we must at least admire the Obama Administration’s candor in dropping all pretense that U.S. forces are going to leave Iraq at any time in the foreseeable future.
But the hypocrisy – the literally murderous hypocrisy – of claiming that this plan “leaves Iraq to its people and responsibly ends this war,” as Obama asserted in his State of the Union speech, is sickening. It does no such thing, and he knows it.
Adbusters is impressive in many ways. It has made some waves, and its founder and CEO Kalle Lasn has some smart things to say, such as calling advertising “brain damage” and “one of the most powerful cultural forces in the world.”
Many of Adbusters’ “spoof ads” have also been indisputably brilliant.
And, as reported in this week’s Advertising Age magazine, Adbusters has also pulled some clever pranks that underscore the purpose and workings of the commercial media. Whenever Adbusters tries to buy airtime on corporate TV for its “anti-consumption” ads, for example, it draws and then publicizes telling (if entirely predictable) replies such as this:
“Suck it up, it’s the real world,” an ABC executive is recorded angrily and loudly rejecting the pig spot a few years ago. “There’s no law that says we have to sell you time.” (Advertising Age, November 27, 2007)
Finally, subscriptions to Adbusters have also now surpassed 100,000, a very substantial feat for a non-capitalist publishing effort.
Does all this mean that Adbusters is making progress toward its stated goal, which is “to topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we will live in the 21st century”?
Alas, it definitely does not, and here are the major reasons why not: