Sunday, 8 October 2017

Symbiotic postures of commercial advertising and street art: rhetoric for creativity

Journal of Advertising vol 39 2010

Before looking at the article, it is useful to consider the Situationist concept of Recuperation.

Debord in the Society of the Spectacle said that official culture is a ‘rigged game’
‘where conservative powers forbid subversive ideas to have direct access to the public discourse.’

‘ Such ideas get first trivialized and sterilized, and then they are safely incorporated back within mainstream society, where they can be exploited to add new flavors to old dominant ideas. This technique of the spectacle is sometimes called recuperation.

To survive, the spectacle must maintain social control and effectively handle all threats to the social order.

More broadly, it may refer to the appropriation or co-opting of any subversive works or ideas by mainstream media.

 It is the opposite of d├ętournement, in which conventional ideas and images are reorganized and recontextualized with radical intentions.’

(Quote about Recuperation from Wikipedia.)

This article is a good example of recuperation, as the authors state at the beginning
“…we analyze a set of rhetorical practices employed by street artists that not only reflect, but might also be used to shape, commercial advertising…’

Street art and graffitti can be about subverting consumer culture.

Dr D Sly

Fiat 1980s? 


Adbusters  Absolute AA 



The article suggests using the techniques of street art and graffitti to reinvigorate advertising and sell more successfully to their audience ‘appropriating street art’s authentic essence to revitalize their own commerical efficacy.’  

It was written by four professors of marketing at American and Italian universities for the Journal of Advertising published by the American Academy of Advertising in 2010.

It is aimed at professionals working in the advertising industry and is written in academic language,  based on a 3 year study with 20 artists across Italy and the USA in person and through ‘netnography’ (study of websites?) and on 60 ‘consumers’ – ie viewers of street art.

 It offers as analysis of the techniques of street art and suggest advertising can appropriate these techniques. It concludes ‘Street art can be considered as an emerging template for commercial advertising’.

They claim to use ‘visual data’ as examples in the article, unfortunately in the copy the pictures have reproduced poorly and are unclear, which is ironic considering it is about the power, persuasiveness and impact of visual images.  

I found this article depressing, but in the end concluded that advertising (capitalism) and graffitti (radicalism) will always coexist and feed off each other in a loop.

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