University of Saskatchewan


St. Peter : You say that you were an advertising man while on earth?
Applicant : Yes
St. Peter :  This elevator, please
Applicant : How soon does it go up?
St. Peter :   It doesn’t go up, it goes down
- Anonymous - Marketing v. 21 #4 (August 23 1924) p. 127

IraqnophobiaResearch for this exhibition uncovered many examples of works evocative of the contemporary activist practice of subverts or fauxvertising.  Subverts are spoofs or parodies of well-known advertisements or advertising campaigns, that are produced to sabotage the ad’s intended effect and/or to offer a comment or alternative interpretation of the ad’s meaning. Some faux ads replace or alter images, logos and slogans of corporate ads. Among the simplest and most familiar are modifications or ‘corrections’ applied to billboards and bus shelter signs.

Subverts are one of the activities associated with the practice of 'culture jamming'.  Culture jamming or ad busting is a response of disapproval to proliferation of advertising messages, and to the persuasive techniques they utililize. In addition to revealing manipulative techniques, ad busters may target the excesses or falsity of claims, or the employment of racial and gender stereotypes.

Peasant Economy Will Improve with LiteracySubvertisers essentially piggyback themselves on the backs of the expensively produced messages of their targets. Since it requires little financial expenditure ad busting has proven a useful tool to individuals and groups seeking to resist and challenge well-financed interests.

David Geary, Saskatoon-based illustrator, artist and activist, has long been fascinated by the history and practice of political propaganda and commercial advertising. One of his ongoing projects has been the production of a series of faux posters, based on political advertising produced in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s. Geary updates their messages and settings to the decidedly tongue-in-cheek Socialist Utopia of Saskatchewan, to critique contemporary issues relating to regional identity, commercial globalization, urban development, and environmental protection.

In essence, the motivation of the attacks on advertising is hostility toward capitalism and egoism.
- Jerry Kirpatrick, “A Philosophical Defense of Advertising”.
Journal of Advertising
, V15(2), 1986, p45.
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