Culture and Society

Subvert This


I find the above image an exceptionally clever depiction of its purpose.

Fnord is the typographic representation of disinformation or irrelevant information intending to misdirect, with the implication of a worldwide conspiracy.

Let us not jump the gun though. There is no worldwide conspiracy. And if there was they would not make a Facebook event page and ask for rsvps.

This brings us to my new favourite word. A word that would be on a top 10 list of top list of top 10 words.


It is a word made up of two nice words. Subvert and advertising.

A well produced ‘subvert’ looks and feels exactly like the targeted ad. It is meant to promote the classic ‘double-take’. You look at it and suddenly you *realize*. That you have been fooled but so cleverly that you don’t feel fooled. You feel clever for having realized sooner. 
This is of course our not-so-familiar friend, cognitive dissonance, at work. Through the hype and glitz of our commercialized existence, comes the advert that we need and not the one we deserve. [or is it the other way around in the Batman movie?]

Now, subvertising might pop up on the mainstream radar under various names like guerrilla semiotics and night discourse and the ever popular, culture jamming.

If you have ever heard of Banksy, you have heard of culture jamming. As simple as that.

I have stopped watching T.V. It has nothing that interests me and I refuse to be force-fed something that I do not like. I am not a baby anymore. I can choose and I choose to switch off.
I do go into the outside world occasionally and I don’t like it much. And boy, those advertisements are everywhere. The billboards and posters and the flyers and the walls that pop up wherever I look. They are in city that I live, they are in the village where I work and they are on the roads that connect the two.

There is however, a small band of advertising vandals [or the rather clever name ‘brandals’] have been tackling the phenomenon with subvertising.

Like this.


i’m sick of it!

It is not just the attractive “kill them all,” that puts forward a subversive foot. Take a closer look. The ubiquitous “I’m lovin’ it” motto of McDonalds, has been replaced with “I’m sick of it.”

There’s more where that came from later.

First a look at our favourite social networking site which doesn’t give a toss about your privacy. If you are not being sold something, you are the one being sold. Or, in this case, it is your data.

Take a look at Openbook to know what I am talking about. [unfortunately the original site is down]

Poster Boy is a New York City based street artist. By using a razor, Poster Boy slices up advertisements in the subway system to create completely original works of art.

Here’s a look at Razor Boy/Poster Boy at work.

Let us know if you come across subvertising in the life that you lead.

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