The ad embraced by Adbusters

The current issue of Adbusters (May/June '05) will surprise some readers. For their own reasons the editors have smiled upon our little company and have run - for free - an ad of ours that they had seen earlier in another publication.

Why this dramatic exception to their core anti-advertising mission and no ads policy? When we asked they told us they like what we do and how we do it. Simple as that. (For the record, Adbusters categorically still does not accept paid advertising.) I think this is an interesting twist on what is happening more broadly on the front where Adbusters, and other such activists work.

The ad, titled "Power to the Farmers" (which our little 6 person marketing dep't created in-house), is nothing groundbreaking and runs with no explanation from Adbusters. It’s just there, amidst a couple of unrelated articles, like you'd find in any magazine. But to your typical Adbusters reader, I'm guessing it's going to leap out. At least we hope so.

This is actually not the first time we've gotten a boost from an unlikely place. Others, from the Miami Herald to a college textbook on rhetoric to 2 books on the coffee industry, have all run our ads as editorial content. I guess we’re doing something right.

Rodney North
Equal Exchange - a worker cooperative dedicated to Fair Trade

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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suddenwaffle's picture

Funny, we in advertising used to read ad busters all the time. Because although we ARE advertising, those of us on the creative end also know that we're just doing it because we get constant approval for our clever ideas and we can make a living doing it. We all wish there was a way to use our skills to help better humanity as well as our pocketbooks and egos and so we have this skewed, secret kinship with the anti-globalization guys. Some of try to do a few PSA's here and there, but honestly, we're no more responsible than Bankers and Newscasters.

That's how the real, adult world works. If you want to change it, the only way is from the inside. Become CEO of a giant holding company--and if you still have the fire inside--then sure buddy, go ahead, call up your TV exec friends and run your agenda. Let's see if you're ready to risk your yacht and your retirement egg.

Now, Adbusters had a good platform to say something good, something that could maybe open people's eyes and help change the way people think. They could've given some constructive suggestions for how to help the advertising industry change and be more proactive in good causes. But they blew it.
Instead, they've turned too many people off. They're too fringe. Too angry. They rant about this and that and globalism and the corporate monster. They don't have a unified message that invites everyone in. Half the time, their articles walk a thin line between befuddled pir-in-the-sky fantasy and outright adolescent calls for anarchy. You know what they need? An ad agency to get to the point.

James Trickery's picture

Ironic but true.

kurtberengeiger's picture

Uhhh... Where's the story? I mean, is anyone really surprised that Adbusters supports a free-trade project with a free, no-comment running of this ad?

Dabitch's picture

Not really, no. RodneyNorth was just really chuffed about it I guess.

So what are you guys up to in Germany? I bet you have a story or two dontcha? :)

kurtberengeiger's picture

I keep trying to sell all my stories to our non-existent CD.
But I promise to get back to you if something more interesting happens in this neck of the woods...

suddenwaffle's picture

Sometimes I re-read my own posts aand realize I sound slightly insane myself. I guess that can be a good thing though.

Dabitch's picture

insane is all good.