Nice Package

CNN has caught on to the latest in a long line of culture jamming tactics. This one is called shopdropping, a term that refers the act of covertly placing merchandise on display in a store, or reverse shoplifting. For example, shopdroppers place canned goods that have been repackaged with more artistic labels (complete with barcodes) on a grocer’s shelf for purchase.
While the name is new, the concept has been in practice by activist “guerilla art” groups for some time. Since 1989, the Barbie Liberation Organization has been tackling what it sees as sexism among children’s toys; the group swapped the voice hardware of Barbies with those in GI Joe dolls and replaced the products on store shelves. Shoppers expecting to push a button on Barbie’s back and be greeted with the doll’s familiar bubbly voice instead heard a masculine voice bellowing, “Vengeance is mine!” while unsuspecting G.I. Joe owners were greeted with a chirpy feminine voice proclaiming, “I love shopping!”



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.