Adbusters


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Mission Statement


“We are a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age. Our aim is to topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we will live in the 21st century.
Adbusters is at essence an ecological magazine, examining the relationship between people and the environment, both the material environment and the mental environment.”
- Adbusters Mission Statement (The Media Foundation)

History



Adbusters was founded by Bill Schmalz and Kalle Lasn and has become a great influence in reducing the control of advertising and consumerism. It is a political/activist magazine published in Vancouver, British Columbia (Yay Canadians!) by a group called Media Foundation. It has been devoted to several different social causes and political movements. The majority of the time, it has been an anti-capitalist or anti-consumerism theme based. Being a non-profit organization, The Adbusters Media Foundation is supported by its readers and has 120,000 circulation magazines with Buy Nothing Day as its main promoter. It is also known worldwide and has been associated with Adbusters Norge (Norway), Culture Jammers (Japan), Adbusters Sverige (Sweden) and L'association Résistance à l'Aggression Publicitaire (France).


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Issues



Their take on war ties in to their stance on overconsumption and commercialism. Entire issues have been created to focus on the invasion of Iraq in 2003. They have also done “culture jams” on genetically modified food (something they are strongly opposed to). They have criticized/jammed McDonalds for the types of food they serve and its impacts on society. Many other ads have included Calvin Klein, Absolute Vodka, Marlboro, Joe Camel etc…

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Adbusters could be one of the, if not the most influential publication in the culture jamming movement. Their campaigns are well-known for this and the magazine will feature images of social or political motivated advertising (such as billboards) or vandalism of such ads by readers who have submitted them. This form of culture jamming was created to demonstrate the negative effects overconsumption has on society. It targets the government and big corporations and is a form of non-violent protest though they aim to be as public as possible. It’s clever, funny, serious, global reaching, and powerfully influential constantly pulling people into their causes and bringing activists together. The truth is that these groups should be supported to bring awareness to the fact that major corporations lack certain codes of ethics in how they run things. In particular, American corporations as they are brought up in the one of the most capitalist country in the world and they tend to be run within primarily capitalist ideals. The well being of the shareholders seem to always come before the well being of the customers, suppliers, etc..

Adbusters aims to show the 'other' side of important issues being raises in our society, such as the war in Iraq, political view and government perspectives, and everyday advertisements that are trying to sell us an image rather than a product. Their goal is to stop advertisers from presenting us with a corrupt bias message on our society, government and even on ourselves; and to make aware of social norms that are created by advertising. Advertisers tell you what you want to hear, for example ads that state if you buy this pill you will lose weight imminently, whereas adbusters will tell you the truth, that if you buy that pill you are risking your health. Adbusting is a way to inform the public. Information is getting sold to us by the masses through advertisements, and because it has become such a repetitive act and seen as culturally 'normal', people have accepted those ideas - even if they are tainted and bias.




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“We will change the way information flows, the way institutions wield powers, the way the food, fashion, car and culture industries set their agendas. Above all, we will change the way we interact with the mass media and we will reclaim the way in which meaning is produced in society.”
- Adbusters Magazine


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