“Radical Advertising” presents what goes against the grain. For a long time, campaigns with cheerful, attractive people who smiled at the touch of a button dominated. In the nineties, with the realities of HIV, environmental disasters as well as tensions in the Gulf region and the former Yugoslavia, consumers came to increasingly not accept this illusion of a perfect world. Shock advertising addressed this feeling. “The strategy was: advertising as attack. Campaigns that broke taboos. One wanted to generate disgust and horror,” recounts curator Werner Lippert.
Amnesty | Guerilla- advertising on the street – for Amnesty International© catalog
The exhibition explores this change in trend by taking a look at the advertising of fashion retailer Benetton: photographer Oliviero Toscani replaced the happy people in colorful knit sweaters with people dying of AIDS, a bloody soldier’s uniform and oil-smeared birds. “The most radical and best advertising is perhaps no advertising,” is how Lippert explains another innovative approach. Under the title “Reverse Psychology Marketing,” the curators present the advertising strategies with which fashion labels set new standards, including stores without a sign above the door and display windows without anything to display. This tactic is supposed to transform the customer from passive fashion victim into someone who actively looks for brands. The idea is: “Don’t run after the customer, but let the customer find you.” For the most part, “Radical Advertising” features critical works on advertising, including reflections by Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman and Daniele Buetti. But despite all efforts, in the immediate future our brain will not see a decrease in the 4,000 or so marketing messages per diem it is bombarded with. The curators are convinced that while the quantity will remain, the form will change.
Anti-advertising by American group „Adbusters“© Adbusters
First picture > Fashion designer Helmut Lang cooperated with artists as Louise Bourgeois, here an ad from 1998© Helmut Lang
till 26th August 2008,
NRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft Düsseldorf
Text > Annette Leyssner