Why Occupy Wall Street? Why Not Madison Avenue?

So why not occupy Madison Avenue? – Matthew Creamer of Advertising Age interviews Kalle Lasn:

I asked Kalle Lasn, founder of Adbusters, the organization that sparked the current wave of protestations back in July, whether he’d given any thought to bringing the street action to Advertising Week, then in its final full day. His response said it all: “When is that?”

Back in July, Mr. Lasn’s Adbusters got things going with a poster in its magazine that called for pretty much what’s been going on in Lower Manhattan the past few weeks: a continuous peaceful demonstration.

Unsurprisingly, the choice to focus on Wall Street has a lot to do with the symbolic resonance of the place name and the sheer excesses and lack of accountability of the financial industry that’s been on display over the past several years. Mr. Lasn did, however, hold out the possibility for advertising-focused protest, just not right now.

“It’s too early to do that,” he said, in a phone interview from Vancouver, where Adbusters is based. “The movement is pure and idealistic. Down the road, once the messiness is over and the movement fragments, there’ll be myriad projects and ideas. That is the moment when the ad industry can redeem itself.”

“It seems to me the advertising industry is divided into two parts,” Mr. Lasn said. “There’s the selling of products, and there’s the selling of ideas. The world will need these brilliant creative minds to sell great ideas like the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act or the banning of high-frequency trading.”

Because we were speaking the day after Steve Jobs died, I asked Mr. Lasn about his reaction. Though there’s no reason to think of the very wealthy Apple cofounder as particularly beneficent, Mr. Jobs, with his Zen cool and array of fantastic products, often got a free ride from people who are otherwise very critical of brands.

“I didn’t burst out crying, but I had that pit-of-the-stomach feeling when news reaches you emotionally,” Mr. Lasn said. “I wondered why I was having this. I don’t care that much for Apple or Steve Jobs. Then it occurred to me: There aren’t too many heroes or people you can look up to.”

Read the whole article here.


One thought on “Why Occupy Wall Street? Why Not Madison Avenue?

  1. Pingback: Y&R Inspiration

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