“People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.

You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.” (Banksy)

Here’s a little tribute to adbusting!

A billboard in Berlin which someone has adorned with photoshop-type editing windows, wheat pasted over the image of a woman’s face. More here.

A busted Fox news ad reads “we deceive. you believe.”

This amazing project, entitled American Able, addresses the sexist, ableist and heterosexist attitudes in American Apparel’s ubiquitous ads by spoofing them. These attitudes are a common problem in advertising and are most certainly not unique to the company, although their ads are widespread and easy to recognize. Some images from American Able made it onto Toronto Transit Commission station screens in 2010, and were published in a new edition of the book Our Bodies, Ourselves. Awesome. This image portrays a model who has a visible disability wearing a black dress and assertively straddling another model, who has an androgynous look, dressed in jeans and a grey sweater and who does not appear to be disabled.
Holly Norris: American Able &emdash;

Not exactly street art, but The Current’s Target Women segments are pretty badass (and hilarious)

Thanks to A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World for the quote. More Guelph street art coming soon.


Someone (well, probably lots of people) aren’t very happy with the city of guelph right now. (Can I just point out how badly planned the construction is? every major road around my neighbourhood, except one, has been closed off for the past couple weeks)

photo by one of my lovely coworkers.

I saw this yesterday while waiting for a bus. Someone has scrawled a $ over Santa’s toy sack, and drawn what seems to be a machine gun in his hand.

This comes at an interesting time – just after Buy Nothing Day (and for those in the States who subscribe, Black Friday). It’s clear that the person who did this adbusting doesn’t look fondly on consumerism, nor, perhaps, on the ad industry. (And I’d have to say I can’t disagree – especially with these Stone Road Mall ads that have popped up on bus shelters and entire sides of city buses. Earlier this fall, I saw one with a string bikini on it that read “only 10 more pounds to go! got a better reason to shop?” I can’t imagine that ad did anything positive for anyone’s self-esteem.)  At first I thought the gun was a bit much, but considering how seldom people think about where their stuff comes from and who gets harmed in the process, it isn’t all that extreme.

Anyway, I read this as a comment on our mindlessly buying into things like holiday shopping (pun intended.)  I could ask whether we need to blow our bank accounts on stuff no one we know really needs, but that is a tired question that we’ve all thought about before. Instead, I’ll leave you with some alternative ideas.

-The Non-Consumer Advocate’s advice on holiday gift giving

-Donating to, or lending a hand at, your favourite groups or charities in the name of your loved ones. A friend of mine recently sent out cards and in mine, I received a note stating that she had donated money to Farm Sanctuary (a favourite of us both) in my name. Righteous. Going local and supporting something like a youth shelter is also a great idea. Along the same lines, if you’re of the herbivorous inclination, asking friends or family to eat vegan for a month is also becoming a popular request.

– support local musicians by getting a group together and attending an event like Stay Out of the Mall VII. These shows act as a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society, and they’re also collecting non-perishable food items at the door (for a reduced entry fee) to donate to the Guelph Food Bank.

– Actually spend time with people you care about! It’s nice to surprise others with gifts (or in the case of the holidays, give gifts people are expecting to receive), but more valuable to enjoy each other’s company.  Get a friend to teach you how to knit or string your new second-hand guitar.  Plant an indoor herb garden with your little brother for the winter.  Or go outside and build a snow fort, then have snowball fights.  Creative ideas can be more fun than buying stuff for people!

Let us know how you feel about the blog, adbusting, or consumerism (or anything else!) in the comments. We want to know!

– Martina