A group of 80 artists came together in Paris, France on Black Friday to call out heads of state and corporations that have been complicit in the destruction of the Earth’s environment. Operation “Brandalism” occurred as a result of the upcoming COP21 where negotiators from 195 countries come to together to reach a deal on reducing global carbon emissions and limiting global warming in a short two-week period. “Brandalism” sheds light on how many companies use advertising and branding to promote unsustainable consumerism. Today, the problem of companies and head of states turning their heads away from climate issues is widespread. The Paris “Brandalism” project, including over 600 unauthorized artworks, will hopefully make a statement in demanding action to stop climate change and stop fabricated advertising.
The group of artists said in a statement that, “Despite the state of emergency banning any gathering, following the attacks of 13 November in Paris, [the] “Brandalism” project, conducted with Parisian activists, has placed throughout the city hundreds of unauthorized artwork[s]. These posters emphasize the links between advertising, consumerism, dependence on fossil fuels and climate change.”
Companies, including but not limited to Air France, sponsor COP21 as a way to share their support and be a part of the solution for climate change. However, like many companies, Air France is actually part of the problem. Branding not only works to shed light on honest companies to bring out the best in their businesses, unfortunately branding is, time and time again, used to skew perceptions and promote lies.
Since inception in 2012, “Brandlism’s” mission is to revolt against corporate control of the visual realm. Today the organization has grown tenfold and now has teams in over 10 UK cities. The previous “Brandlism” project took place in 2014 where 40 artists reclaimed over 360 corporate advertising spaces with hand made original artworks.
Inauthentic branding may be becoming the norm in many industries; however, as we have seen back in 2008 during the mortgage crash, the results can be catastrophic. Creating an authentic brand is actually easier because companies are simply telling their story that has not been fabricated. Honest brands result in sustainable consumerism whereas brands like Air France and Volkswagen do not.