Re-mixing advertising

Shapeways is all about designing unique
objects, personalizing the world around you. What we hope to do for a
lot of ‘things’ in the future people are doing now with mash-ups of music and web applications. In an age of ever present media and
advertising clouding our world people are also increasingly re-mixing
branding and marketing messages put out by companies. The most famous
of these groups is AdBusters. They have a hilarious
and at the same time thought provoking gallery here

It is interesting to note how similar
the work of AdBusters is to some of the Worth1000
Photoshop contests
. I loved the bad
ads one.

Graffiti Research Lab is also doing
some amusing and cutting edge stuff in this field, such as their
projection of the NSA logo on the Verizon building

This is food for thought for consumers
but poses interesting problems for brands. Unilever won a lot of
awards and attention with their Dove
real beauty campaign
. If you watch the movie it squarely blames
the beauty industry for a lot of self-image problems women have. It
promotes Dove as the brand that cares about women. The
campaign website
is all about making a difference and The
Dove Self-Esteem fund
. This, “was developed to help free the
next generation from self-limiting beauty stereotypes.”

The campaign is a fantastic one, way
ahead of the curve. But, in a connected world where everyone has a
lot of information as well as the tools to re-mix any message it also
sets them up for a fall. You see, Unilever also owns the deodorant
brand Axe. Those of you familiar with the Axe
will probably know that the way that Axe depicts women
might not exactly be in line with the lofty values outlined by Dove
and its’ Self-esteem fund. It was only a matter of time really until
someone juxtaposed Axe footage alongside Dove footage to chilling
.It seems that in connected world with few limits to information one person with a little leisure time can take on a corporate giant.

The whole Open-source, make, hack,
re-mix and mash-up movement, as disparate as it is, stands to redress
the balance in a lot of industries, advertising is just one of these.
If advertising is about getting your message out to as many eyeballs
as possible open source tells us that “given enough eyeballs all
bugs are shallow” the plane where those two intersect will be one
of the most interesting one’s to watch in the coming years. Will consumer empowerment crush corporate communications like a bug? Or will the eyeballs themselves become shallow?

Photo credit: marissaorton

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