Thursday, August 21, 2014

Librarian's Corner: Unmarketable
by: Anne Elizabeth Moore
I first heard about Unmarketable on the feminist podcast: Popaganda, produced by Bitch Media. This is the first non-fiction book that I've written about for Librarian's Corner, and I couldn't think of a better book to start with.
Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity is about just that, marketing and how it manages to creep its way into not only our everyday lives, but our underground, DIY and punk communities, that we normally try to keep so carefully anti-consumerist.

The book takes the question of selling-out to a whole new level by showing us that people don't always realize that they've sold out to companies like Nike, LucasFilm, or even Big Pharma. Whole genuinely underground art movements have sprung up (seemingly 'organically') to promote Tylenol or the release of the last (up until then) Star Wars movie. I picked this book up because I was interested in how it was possible for artists to sell-out without even realizing that they were being bought.

Living in the culture that we live in, we are constantly being marketed to. Just driving to work I'm bombarded by ads, on billboards and on the radio (seriously, doesn't anyone play music on the radio anymore?). You can't turn on a TV at home without seeing endless hours of commercials, even YouTube has been over-run by ads. And don't even get me started on corporate sponsorships. "This sunset brought to you by... Taco Bell, live mas!" Ugh. But this is all of stuff that we're aware of, what Unmarketable touches on is some of the marketing we experience on a daily basis that we might not have noticed.

The book is full of stories of marketing in unusual places and in odd campaigns. My favorite (or rather, the one I found most interesting) was the story of how Sony (of PlayStation fame) used graffiti, and yes, you read that correctly, to market its newest gaming console to the public. They took over an underground art form in order to sell a product, and to be honest, that kind of makes my skin crawl.

Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone who wants to read more about artistic integrity, and this insidious ways that corporations will try to pay for it. Anyone who's interested in marketing, and the ways in which we are all vulnerable to it. Anyone who wonders how the puck movement, of all things, could be co-opted by Big Pharma. Do you fit any of these descriptions? Than pick up a copy of Unmarketable today! You can't afford NOT to! (See what I did there? Marketing.)

So that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed this month's Librarian's Corner. We'll meet here again on September 21st! Pick up a copy of Unmarketable if you'd like, and if you guys do read it, I would love to hear what you thought! Leave a comment here and share your thoughts about the book (or any book for that matter, I'm always looking for recommendations for what to read next!). Stay tuned for more of what I'm doing (there may be a cloths-making post coming in the near future).

Happy Reading!

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