Image from nologo.org
I don’t know why I didn’t read this book earlier…I have been a big anti-corporate proponent over the years. It is one of the reasons I became a teacher. And, Naomi Klein in her book No Logo has perfectly captured why big corporations bother me so much…they want it all. They want to be such a big part of everyone’s life through branding that they spend all of their money on advertising and building the brand that it just becomes sickening. Why can’t they be happy just creating a good, reliable, United Stated produced brand? Instead, they want to make things cheap, be an intregral part of everyone’s life, and be an important fixture in the global economy and culture. It is too much.
I’m not saying that we should abandon brands and products altogether, but people will go out and buy a good product. They don’t necessarily need the brand to take over their life. Since Klein talked about Starbucks a lot in her book, I’ll use them as an example. I like Starbucks coffee. I especially like the gingerbread lattes they serve around the holidays, and I will be purchasing a lot of them in the next couple months. They make a good product. I don’t need Starbucks, though, to help me decide what music to listen to, where to hang out on th weekends, what coffee accessories to buy, or anything else that helps them build their brand. Why can’t just making good coffee be enough?
It is almost like what happened on the season finale of Entourage this year. Ari was about to lose his Vince, his biggest client, because he had made some mistakes. All Vince wanted was an apology…that’s all. Instead, he conjured up this plan to make Vince a “brand”. And guess what…Vince leaves the meeting and fires Ari. I realize that is a television, but I wanted to make the connection.
I could go on and on about this book, but I wanted to grab one quote from the book that highlights something else that is important to mention:
In this context, telling video artists that they can’t use old car commercials, or musicians that they can’t sample or distort lyrics, is like banning the guitar or telling a painter he can’t use red. The underlying message is that culture is something that happens to you. You buy it at the Virgin Megastore or Toys ‘R’ Us and rent it at Blockbuster Video. It is not something in which you participate, or to which you have the right to respond. (Italics added by me.)
Culture should not be just consumed…it should be produced. We need to make sure that in this day and age where we are constantly asked to consume and buy culture that we hold on to the ability to produce culture. We need to hold on to that at every turn.