Capitalism absorbs criticism for its uniqueness: endless cycle of promotion

Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 11.38.48 AM

Artists and promotional intermediaries constantly borrow images, styles, and text from each other to promote their own messages. For instance graffiti artists use works of advertisers to critique on them, usually counter-attacking the capitalist and consumer driven society. Throughout this essay it is evident that graffiti artists engage in criticizing some aspect of society that needs a change. Most graffiti artist’s messages are powerful because of the medium they use, the location they paint, and the visual and/or text they incorporate in their work. Then promotional intermediaries adapt graffiti to their branding campaigns for capitalist purposes. Commercial advertisements are one of the products of capitalist economy. Their most obvious goal is the persuasion of a possible consumer into the purchase of one product or service over others of similar characteristics (Davis 2013 and Firth 1997). Hence, some branding campaigns like the Ikea, Starbucks, and Green Works heavily rely on a new medium such as graffiti to the advertising world because of its uniqueness. Then the graffiti artists’ style gets famous and the graffiti art pieces become more widely known to the public, then third party vendors take advantage of the popularity of the artists’ works and mass-produced it. Subsequently, graffiti artists continue to criticize the consumer culture. So this endless cycle of promotion keeps occurring. Advertising in promotional culture is usefully considered as a genre, as a form of cultural and social culture and social communication (MacRury 2009). However, based on the examples of Banksy and Moose in this essay, which reinforces the notion of an endless cycle of promotion, it is unquestionable that graffiti art is also a form of promotional genre.

The endless cycle of promotion is evident in Moose’s work. Moose initially started his ‘green graffiti’ style just on streets and walls as an artistic. Then corporate brands like Starbucks, Green Works, Good Housekeeping, MTV and many more companies commissioned him to do ‘green graffiti’ stencils and artwork for them. At the very beginning Moose started  ‘green graffiti’ to send a non-commercialized message about cleaning dirt in public space with images and text about the environment (air pollution) or about humanity. The more demand he got for this unique style of reverse graffiti, he become a promotional intermediary for him own work and licensed his work as GreenGraffiti ®. Now, any corporate brand cannot use reverse graffiti without paying Moose. However, the public is still free to mimic ‘green graffiti’ for non-commercial purposes. GreenGraffiti ® has its own Youtube channel featuring videos of how the graffiti is done while promoting GreenGraffiti ® for other corporations to use it. GreenGraffiti ® is now an outdoor advertising and communication organization that offers a variety of environmentally friendly outdoor advertising. On greengraffiti.com they promote partnerships as well. However, there are still graffiti artists who adapt ‘green graffiti’ to send messages for non-commercial purposes. Both advertising and street art absorbs cultural and ideological meaning that relies on cultural knowledge to promote their artwork or campaign. The two, advertising and street art rents culture and to share systems held in common by most people to promote their own work. Thus, this endless cycle of promotion perpetuates creativity and innovation in advertising and street art.

Tinu Silva

Advertisements