Members of Subvertisers International are united in their belief that commercial advertising is negatively affecting the world that we live in. World-wide, commercial advertising is invading our public spaces and co-opting our media in an effort to promote the endless consumption of goods, services and brands.
In doing so, these advertising messages are changing our cultural values and influencing our collective behaviour. They help to create a false image of multinational companies, which prevents them from being held truly accountable. The role of advertisers in financing the media industry raises issues of democracy, while the promotion of unsustainable economic growth endangers our planet. The result is a consumer society at odds with our vision of justice, peace and equality.
Our resistance intersects with other struggles for social, economic and climate justice, human rights, and environmental protection. Together, we can retake control of our collective narrative in order to offer a systemic critique, and envision new opportunities for democratic conversations in our media and shared public spaces. We want to place the people’s will and our everyday social needs over corporate profits and the commercial messages that are now so prominently displayed, both in our streets and beyond. We are ready to imagine the post-advertising society that is needed for this.
Our fight against advertising happens on four fronts:
1 – Advertising is omnipresent in our societies. We know that the repetition and framing of advertising messages is fundamentally altering how we treat each other and the world we live in. It is now proven that by appealing to certain values over others, advertising cultivates behaviours that are focused on the self while suppressing those that bond us to one another. We demand democratic control of all advertising activities, so that people have a say in the messages that we allow to affect our cultural values and behaviors.
2 – By funding our media institutions – including the tv news, radio, press and internet – advertising is fundamentally influencing the stories and ideas expressed through those institutions. In order for our democracies to function properly and without bias from commercial interests, we must support democratic media institutions that serve the interests of everyone equally.
3 – We understand that advertising and public relations are a form of corporate propaganda that is often used to hide the social, economic, and environmental injustices perpetrated by business interests. Whether through slight of hand or outright lies, the advertising industry enables multinational companies to distract us from the social problems they create. We need truth and transparency to hold them to account.
4 – Advertising ideology invites us to believe that natural resources are infinite, but the economic growth based on overproduction of goods and overconsumption of energy is impossible on a finite planet. We would rather need a sustainable vision that protects the ecosystem of our planet.