Saks Advertising Propaganda

I have been going through an anti-ads period lately, where I can’t stand listening to commercial radio, free TV, pay TV or looking at billboards, magazines, websites, and newspapers filled with advertising. I have even contacted a few companies and complained about the crud that they’re forcing on the public, which is strange for me as I’m usually anti-complaining too!

Hopefully it is just a phase I’m going through and I can get back to society’s normal soon, otherwise I’ll be forced to become a hermit in the hills, which could be a problem as I really do like people and the Internet (most caves in hills have neither).

I’m offended by the exaggerations, half truths, sneaky tactics, catchy jingles, TV ads that yell, the way that ads are louder than the program you are trying to watch, the way that advertisements are placed IN programs, the color red shoved in my face, small print for the truth, large print for the lies, repetitiveness, repetitiveness, repetitiveness, ads aimed at children, flashing Internet ads, pop ups, spam, and the crap that is sold on them ridiculous infomercials that are usually on television late at night.

The funny thing about this passionate dislike of advertising is that I make most of my income from ADVERTISING!! That probably makes me a hypocritical walking contradiction.

Saks Fifth Avenue’s senior vice president for marketing Terron E. Schaefer recently said “What we do every day, really, is propaganda.” I thought it was a refreshingly honest thing for a marketing man to say. He said the quote in a press release on a Saks marketing campaign where Shepard Fairey has designed some Soviet propaganda influenced promotional material, but it was still a brave thing to say.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. I think Fairey’s ads for Saks are quite arresting, in fact. What a switch from street art.

  2. I have only seen a Saks promotional bag by Fairey and it looked good.

    I’ll always like design.

  3. Just watched an ad for a film called Australia. Wow… must dash…I’m off to cinema!

  4. Struth!!… what a load of old b*%$*”ks. It’s back to the telly for me..

  5. To bad Shepard Fairey can’t come up with a design on his own. He either works directly from a old poster, tramples the copyright of a living artist, or has his team come up with the idea. All of this while playing the “I’m a poor artist” card. Nevermind the fact that he earn around $80,000 per exhibit. He art is street art, a street in Hollywood.

  6. Yeah, I havent heard good things about the Australia movie Earl. There was a lot of hype around it here when it was released, but I havent heard a good word about it yet. Actually, yes I have, but that was just from a European friend that visited the outback when she was here and was missing the country.

  7. Donald Frazell says:

    Most movies about things are nonsense, Hollywood, and all other film centers, are about fantasy, illusion, and marketing desires. my oldest told me, after Annapolis came out, “Dont you ever talk about that movie, it sucked!” He should know, he graduated from there.

    Movies about Hollywood itself are often the most interesting, the only thing those people actually know, but irrelevant, great at comedies laughing at the fools. But useless as art or anything meaningful. Art never comes from centers, real artists flee from congregations of artistes as soon as they can make a living, so they can stay in touch with reality.And live real, meaningful lives. How many great actors live in Hollwyood? Im waiting.

    Even Anglica Huston, who just mourned her husband, the classical influenced Robert Graham, made the movie Art School Confidential. She may have gone to an academy, but you know Robert Graham found the whole art world absurd. All true artists do.


  8. The Sundowners was a good film (at least thats what I think it was called). There was a lot of pitch and toss, sheep shearing and a racehorse in it, but what I liked most was it told a good story about people who were rather earthy. Another good film was Rabbit Proof Fence about some poor aboriginy girls but that was bit too sad but again it told a story and had characters you wanted to do well. Most crap out of Holywood leaves me wanting an earthquake, meteor or nuke to land on the US west coast if only to desmug them and yet in the past they made films like Grapes of Wrath. My favourite arty film seen last year by accident is Run Lola, Run! A german film worth making an effort to see. The huns also made Das Boat another masterful work even if you are not a fan of U boats.

  9. Run Lola Run was brilliant.

    Even though I liked his obama poster, I really can’t say his ads/labels do too much for me. I think though they are done well, but I don’t like them.

    I stopped watching regular tv years ago for the same reason, the ads drove me bonkers.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You’re completely right. You are being hypocritical. But, as cliche as it is, hypocrisy is part of being human, so I can’t condemn you.

    I will tell you though that I originally went to school for graphic design but after a few important…revelations? realizations?…I was fed up and disgusted. I could not see myself doing that sort of work.

    Which is why I went the “pure” art route, a route admittedly ripe with it’s fair share of hypocrisies and absurdities as well. But now, the very same lessons I learned from looking at advertising and marketing with a critical eye are the lessons that drive my so called “fine art.” It’s what has forced me to return to the work of the Pop artists. Take a look at the insane amount of bullshit that is forced into our eyes everywhere we look in the real world and even moreso in the virtual. Pop Art is as relevant as ever.

    May this recession be a lesson to us all.


  11. David Hewson says:

    I think the best way to advertise these days is clear advertising without actually advertising.

    check out this gurilla advertising company who seem to do a pretty good job.

    They stencil dirty streets with advertising slogans, a process called reverse graffiti i believe.

    their website is

    it’s clean and eco-friendly… i like it!

  12. I’ve tried to watch Run Lola Run three times and always fall asleep half way through.

    Slum Dog Millionaire is good film everyone should go and see that!

    Re media/ advertising etc I didn’t have a T.V. for two years at one point. It makes billboards seem so large and assuming. Once I had a T.V. again all the other advertising seemed very quiet in comparison.

  13. How many of the ads I have to put up with are irrelevant? I am not interested in feminine products, make up,pet foods, children’s items, etc. I buy my car insurance once a year but have to be bombarded with ads throughout the year.I make a point of not buying advertised brands. I resent companies that spoil my viewing and listening pleasure with their stupid condescending messages. These interruptions have cost millions to produce. Who pays for it? the stupid consumers who buy the advertised products.Advertising is a double whammy it spoils content with messages often to feel insecure about themselves then put the cost of this insult into the purchase cost of their products. There must be a better ad free subscription model to pay for content you wish to see or hear that is seen in full as the producer or writer intended without the distractions. Of course there are too many self interested parties making a living out of these “near lies”. Will society ever say enough is enough. Can it ever stop. Advertising industry people should be using their skills to produce proper content not pushing messages most people don’t really need. Consumers should boycott products that are over advertised.


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