By its very nature, the so-called “Occupy” movement (gathering? protest? sleep-over?) should be anti-advertising. I say this mainly because advertising is the preferred tool of the hated, demonically capitalistic overlords that so obviously force the rest of us to wallow in wanton consumerism. It is the heresy of advertising that has taught us that “the lowest price is the law” or that we all need to “just do it” while somehow remembering to “think different.” Bastards.
Anyway, the very fact that the Occupy group now figures they need to get some advertising does prove that they might actually be more than some incongruent cabal of serial complainers. There’s some organization in there somewhere. Clearly, a purpose they have is not currently being met which means, if they actually want to achieve something, a proper and defining message must be constructed.
This does indeed make sense as the last couple of months have not been that kind to Occupy. The whole thing seems very disjointed and confused. Regularly we are treated to anarchists protesting alongside statists, capitalists backstopping socialist concerns and even random homeless folk wandering amidst the chaos, hunting free food and a warmer place of their own to occupy, I mean sleep. Personally, I find the insanely raw irony of the whole endeavour quite intoxicating. Here we have what are smelly (at least by now anyway) members of the “99%” chanting slogans and beating drums for an ignominious end to the sort of corporatism necessary to provide the clothes they wear, the food they eat, the entertainment they enjoy and most hilariously of all, the actual park they first chose to occupy. Add in the usual collection of single-note, vapid celebs and suck-up companies so desperate for street cred that they’ll offer support even as they get spit on (I’m talking to you Men’s Wearhouse) and truly, this is a movement for the ages. When it comes to voyeuristic entertainment, Occupy America is it, at least until Kim Kardasian gets married again.
The ad for “Occupy” was put together (gratis) by a San Francisco ad firm wanting to show their support (again, irony) for Occupy’s big business assault. The group is now said to be in the process of raising enough funds to start airing the ad on primetime TV – which would funnel even more cash to the very corporate machines they seek to overthrow. Honestly, navigating the concentric circles of this kind of logic is like being forced to ride the teacups at Disneyland – permanently.
The ad itself is very simple. Well, not that simple. They did have to sift through much of the draff wanting to be on camera first. Eventually they did find a few folk that presented well. The spot starts off with a fresh faced young man sitting in the park. He makes a simple request. “I want to see more serious political conversations start to happen.” Okay, nice but is there really any chance either side in the political debate thinks they are not being serious already? Doubtful, but let’s move on. The next guy is a little hipper, less naive looking. “I want corporations out of the government and I want people back in.” Okay. A little more pointed but still sort of amorphous. Sounds good but ultimately means little. Next, a little age to remind us it’s not just the kids protesting. “I want peace instead of militarization.” Excellent point. And if those bloodthirsty pro-war sonsabitches don’t shut up and disappear we should punch ‘em right in the mouth. Next, a young girl: “I want the top wealthiest Americans to be taxed higher and for that money to go to education.” Damn straight – and when that money finally gets to education I want those highly paid professors and university big shots to get taxed higher too so the money can then go to health care and when health care gets the money I want those big pharma chiselers to give it to....well, why not just give it me in the first place? It’ll save time. Next, Man in Suit: “I want economic justice.” Batman with a calculator perhaps? Another. “I want to be able to speak my voice without jeopardizing my job” Don’t work in Hollywood. Next? ”I want a greater regulation of the banks and the markets” By the guys who are running it so brilliantly now? Another. “I want my kids to have a job and health care.” Move to Canada. Union guy: “I want true democracy for the 99% of us who don’t have it anymore.” I’m not exactly sure what “true democracy” is but I’m sure he could get his union to strike a committee and organize a search-party to hunt it down. Perhaps it’s hiding in North Korea?
Advertising can do an awful lot. It can sell billions of gallons of fizzy sugar water, make Leo Dicaprio seem sexy and even convince actual humans that a Snuggie is somehow more than a blanket with holes in it. Sadly, I don’t think Occupy America is headed in that direction. Already their volunteer chefs are protesting their working conditions while some Occupy branches are actually setting up a corporate structures to handle donations. And don’t forget Occupy Oakland which has now figured that the best tack for them is violence. At only two months of age this all-new wave revolution sure looks a lot like what the rest of us are doing a lot better already. I’m fairly sure that wasn’t exactly the original plan, but then again, I guess advertising really can’t fix everything, now can it?