In Adlandia, We Know Not Where Public Space Ends And Private Space Begins

Although many brand managers and their lawyers will vehemently disagree, everything is a remix, a.k.a. mashup. They may also disagree that advertising is mostly pollution. But let’s listen to Banksy on the topic:

Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours.

It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use.

You can do whatever you like with it.

Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.
You owe the companies nothing.

Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy.

They owe you.

They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you.

They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.

This, my friends, is the environment we are working in. We all want our messages to get through, and we work hard for days/weeks/months at a time to see that they do. But no one cares. Actually, it’s worse than that. People do care that advertising is ugly, rude and in the way. The most active among us, artists like Banksy, are right to express outrage. There are too many commercials, and too few good ones.

In a world with too many commercials, and too few good ones, we go under the radar. We offer content, or a useful app. We also limit supply like Apple and Nike. Or make Kenny Powers the Mother F-ing CEO of our company. Because not breaking through the clutter is not an option, now as before.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.