Unmarketable

Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity

A writer and activist investigates corporate America’s inroads into—and alliances with—the cultural underground

“An authentic work about the collisions of corporate culture and counterculture that everyone who cares about any culture should read.” —Bitch

For years the do-it-yourself (DIY)/punk underground has worked against the logic of mass production and creative uniformity, disseminating radical ideas and directly making and trading goods and services. But what happens when the underground becomes just another market? What happens when the very tools that the artists and activists have used to build word of mouth are co-opted by corporate America? What happens to cultural resistance when it becomes just another marketing platform?

Unmarketable examines the corrosive effects of corporate infiltration of the underground. Activist and author Anne Elizabeth Moore takes a critical look at the savvy advertising agencies, corporate marketing teams, and branding experts who use DIY techniques to reach a youth market—and at members of the underground who have helped forward corporate agendas through their own artistic, and occasionally activist, projects.

Covering everything from Adbusters to Tylenol’s indie-star-studded Ouch! campaign, Unmarketable is a lively, funny, and much-needed look at what’s happening to the underground and what it means for activism, commerce, and integrity in a world dominated by corporations.

Praise

“Engaging to read, yet don’t lose sight of [Moore’s] plea for integrity. Worth noting.”
Booklist
“Following in the grand tradition of Thomas Frank, Anne Elizabeth Moore has written a devastating account of the commercial penetration of alternative culture and its appalling implications. This book should be a must-read for everyone; it is a wake-up call for how freedom and integrity are considered commodities by those with no agenda except to make profits . . . and rule the world. ”
—Robert W. McChesney
“An intelligent, funny, and frequently dispiriting study of the ways in which the mainstream has repeatedly pillaged the underground, repackaging what they find before setting it afloat in the sea of mass consumption.”
Bitch
“Sharp and valuable muckraking.”
Time Out New York
“An informative, forceful, and humorous book.”
—Harvey Pekar
“If you thought regular advertising was manipulative, you should see its seedy underbelly. Anne Elizabeth Moore’s investigation is unflinching and revelatory.”
—Michelle Tea
“Conversational, intellectually curious, and charmingly ragged, Unmarketable is an anticorporate manifesto with a difference: It exudes raw coolness.”
Mother Jones
“One of the most profound insights Moore makes is that when activists use the same branding, marketing and even legal strategies as corporations, they in essence play on corporate terms.”
Los Angeles Times