Obey Capitalism

This ad for Saks Fifth Avenue is bound to give the more idealistic Shepard Fairey fans reason to pause. Pimping the new Prez is one thing, but Saks is on another level. It’s unadulterated consumerism.
Eric Wilson of The New York Times, asked Fairey if his work could be “misunderstood as some sinister form of retail indoctrination.”

“Some people might think it could be making fun of what’s going on right now,” Mr. Fairey said. “But I think most people are sophisticated enough to realize it’s a way of grabbing attention. It’s commerce. I don’t think there is really any political statement embedded in this.”

Okay, but there is a political statement in an underground artist taking on this type of commission. I don’t have a problem with it, but I have unusual views about art and commerce.
[via Adrants]

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Sounds like we may be of one mind on the art/commerce side of things (you’re always getting into trouble, right?).
    I like it. I love that whole propaganda-style iconography. Obama had it too. It’s capitalism as a movement.

  2. Jim Bob Jones says:

    Arm yourself to fight the Bourgeoisie. Buy bags built for the Proletariat. Perfect size for your gas mask, weapons, fatigues, and castro cap! Internal pockets for replacement filters, and magazines.
    ¡Viva la ironía capitalista

  3. I’m sure anyone into shopping as a way of life (i.e. their customers) won’t mind these at all. She should be careful with that bony elbow, though. Might put someone’s eye out.

  4. Perhaps I’m missing it, but I really see no political statement. Sure, the graphic style might suggest an underlying thought, but the ad as whole doesn’t say much. ‘Arm Yourself – With A Slouchy Bag’?
    Frankly, I think it’s a poor/confused rip-off of Harvey Nichols’ strategy.