Brandalise or build

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There’s a gale of destruction blowing, but I’m not sure that the answer, my friend, is blowin’ in this wind.

Brandalism – the anti-advertising movement which rose to prominence in the Paris Climate Change talks – is in the news again. And this time the Brandals are recruiting creatives to join the fight and #switchsides – but switch to what? A resistance movement with better copy? ‘Subvertising’ our way to dismantling capitalism?

Branding is about removing choice – but not by burning down all the choices currently available and standing on the scorched earth. Instead, it’s through empowering people to know and feel the choice that’s right for them. It’s about illuminating your alternative like a beacon, and allowing people to navigate by your brand.

Brandalism is just heckling, albeit with well-chosen words and pictures. And heckling is (sometimes) briefly funny, and then just annoying. Anyone can disrupt the tyranny of Michael McIntyre by sitting at the back and shouting ‘wanker’ – but better to take the stage and be Frankie Boyle, or Stewart Lee, right?

We’re builders, not destroyers. As innovators and creatives, if we believe there is a gap – a widening distance between the values projected by the leading brands and the motives of the market – we see this as opportunity.This is the creative destruction that Joseph Schumpeter talked about. “industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.”

Don’t like the dominance of big breweries? Create Brewdog. Don’t like the big banks. Build mondo.

Even the ultimate destroyer, John Lydon, saw that anger is an energy, and turned his energies to building a brand alternative to the hegemony of leading butter brands.

BlogColin Cather