A small group of American medical experts and other activists took on the coal industry with the launch, yesterday, of the fake charitable initiative and website coal cares. With the offer of special branded inhalers to take the stigma out of childhood asthma and helpful debunking of the myths of alternative energy supply, it’s a potentially controversial way to generate media interest by lampooning the culture that it challenges.
This has been followed up with press releases quoting statistics from the American Lung Association showing that polution kills 13,000 people each year in the US and making explicit links to cancer prevelance.
Developed through the YesLab, the forum for developing media grabbing activist projects, and in tandem with the Yes Men, who have had high profile successes with similar stunts challenging big corporations such as Dow Chemical, Exxon and Halliburton, it would be interesting to know what the pick-up rate across US media has been. But meanwhile, I’ll leave you with an interesting fact from their Asthma Trivia section…
Piggy, from Lord of the Flies, didn’t die from an asthma attack
Piggy (the “fat kid”) did have terrible asthma, but he sure didn’t die from it! Rather, he perished from a boulder dropped on his head by a group of his frustrated peers.
Greenpeace estimates that by 2020 data centers will demand more electricity than is currently demanded by France, Brazil, Canada, and Germany combined.
Computers, cellular networks and data centers are connected to the destruction of over 600 square miles of forest in the US.
Manufacturing a one kilogram plastic or metal part requires as much electricity as operating a flat screen television for 1 to 10 hours. And the energy requirements of semiconductor manufacturing techniques are much higher than that, up to 6 orders of magnitude (that’s 10 raised to the 6th power) above those of conventional manufacturing processes.
So, with paper manufacturers signing up to FSC, PEFC and Chain of Custody initiatives, increasing the use of recycled materials and closed loop operations (not forgetting the planting of all those tress in the first place) is the issue of ‘sustainable media’ not the clear cut good news story it seems?
Canadian artist, Holly Norris, takes on American Apparel with a series of photos featuring disabled model Jes Sachse, entitled American Able. So what’s her purpose?
‘I chose American Apparel not just for their notable style, but also for their claims that many of their models are just ‘every day’ women who are employees, friends and fans of the company. However, these women fit particular body types. Their campaigns are highly sexualized and feature women who are generally thin, and who appear to be able-bodied.’
Indeed AA’s claim has been disputed on websites such as Jezebel which documents faces of AA as being professional models from high profile agencies such as Elite – challenging the public perception that they represent anything different from the commercial norm where women (and men) are commodified through unachievable body type promotion, at it’s most simple, and rejection of anyone outside of specific ‘social’ coda as undesirable.
‘Women with disabilities go unrepresented, not only in American Apparel advertising, but also in most of popular culture. Rarely, if ever, are women with disabilities portrayed in anything other than an asexual manner, for ‘disabled’ bodies are largely perceived as ‘undesirable.’
So, my marketing chums, do we, as a foward thinking organisation, challenge stereotypes or are we guilty of being part of the blah blah norm?