"This Space Available": The Limits Of Branding.
Apr 25 2013
As consumers, we are bombarded with branding and advertising messages virtually from the moment we wake in the morning until we drift off to sleep at night. The growth of social media and mobile technology has only escalated this phenomenon. We rarely have time to stop and ask ourselves about the impact of this constant barrage of information not only on our purchasing behavior but on our perception of the world around us.
Prompted by the city of Sao Paolo's decision to ban virtually all outdoor advertising as a measure to combat visual pollution, the father/daughter team of Marc Gobé (a branding expert) and Gwenaelle Gobé (a filmmaker) set out in 2011 to examine the impact of this measure on the city's residents. The film, entitled "This Space Available", offers some interesting insights into how our perception of our environement is distorted by the constant barrage of billboards and adverts that greet us every day. It has already been acclaimed at various film festivals around the world so you may already have seen it or at least heard of it. I've been rethinking about it lately in light of the increasing presence of brands on social media networks.
I see an obvious parallel between the appropriation by brands of public space for commercial purposes with the appropriation by brands of social media platforms (many of which were never designed for marketing purposes at all). From where I sit, I see an increasing amount of chatter and most disturbingly of all, commercial messages disguised as editorial content with no disclosure. I think the film offers a great deal of food for thought for both brands and consumers. If you've had the opportunity to see it, please let me know what you think.
The Luxe Chronicles