The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: NYU Press
When you decide to write a book about contemporary branding, it inevitably ends up being a collaborative effort. As I argue throughout this book, everyone has some relationship with branding, and almost everyone has something to say about this relationship. I am grateful for the opportunity here to offer my thanks and appreciation to the many...
Introduction: Branding the Authentic
Welcome to the future of Los Angeles. It is a city made up entirely of brands, logos, and trademarked characters. Every visual landmark in the city has been stamped with a brand. Every resident is a branded or licensed character: Ronald MacDonald wreaks havoc on the city, the cops are the rounded, treaded lumps of the Michelin tire logo, crowds of...
1. Branding Consumer Citizens: Gender and the Emergence of Brand Culture
In October 2006, the promotion company Ogilvy & Mather created “Evolution,” the first in a series of viral videos for Dove soap. The ninety-five-second video advertisement depicts an ordinary woman going through elaborate technological processes to become a beautiful model: through time-lapse photography, we watch the woman...
2. Branding the Postfeminist Self: The Labor of Femininity
More than a decade ago, on April 14, 1996, a young college student named Jennifer Ringley began uploading a constant stream of pictures of herself on the Web. Filmed from her dorm room, a new photograph was taken every three minutes and automatically posted to a website. The result was a catalog of a young woman’s life, detailing her...
3. Branding Creativity: Creative Cities, Street Art, and “Making Your Name Sing”
In the spring of 2010, a film about street art debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was eagerly anticipated, as it starred and was directed by perhaps the most infamous street artist of the decade, Banksy. Exit through the Gift Shop, purportedly a documentary, tells the story of Thierry Guetta, a Frenchman living in Los Angeles in 1999, who...
4. Branding Politics: Shopping for Change?
In the fall of 2010, the nonprofit company Free2Work.org launched a new iPhone application. The phone app, Free2Work, grades companies based on their commitment to offering a living wage for workers and a democratic work environment. The press release for the new app reads...
5. Branding Religion: “I’m Like Totally Saved”
The Church of Latter-Day Saints launched a new ad campaign in August 2010. The ads, which were aired in nine cities around the US, featured young, energetic people surfing, skateboarding, and engaging in everyday—yet hip and cool—activities. In one ad, a young white woman spends almost the entire minute and a half of the video...
Conclusion: The Politics of Ambivalence
One of the reasons I became so interested in brand culture is because of a personal investment. A few years ago, my then eight-year-old daughter and her friend posted a silly video of themselves on YouTube. My initial shock and dismay at having an image of my daughter displayed on a global video site soon transmuted into another sort of...
About the Author
Sarah Banet-Weiser is Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is the author of The Most Beautiful Girl in the World: Beauty Pageants and National Identity (1999) and...
Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2012
OCLC Number: 811641702
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