Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies
by Naomi Klein
UK publication details:
Published by Harper Collins
17 January 2001
Price £9.99 (paperback)
US publication details:
'I've always been drawn to the shiny surface of pop culture. When I was a kid I was mesmerized by the 3-D moulded plastic of franchise signs. I would stare at them as our station wagon sped past: Shell, McDonald's, Texaco, Burger King. If I could climb up and touch them it would be like touching something from the world of TV; smooth, flawless, cartoon-like. I did once - somebody gave me a Shell key chain with its very own bright yellow plastic shell. I was so disappointed. It was just a piece of junk.'
Forget Generation X and say hello to Generation Why. Are you drawn to the shiny surface of pop culture? Have you ever tried to be different but yet sung along with a commercial, bought designer trainers, drunk Coca-Cola or hummed chart music? If you have, you're one of us. In a world in which all that is 'alternative' is sold as soon as it appears, where any innovation or subversion is immediately adopted by un-radical, faceless corporations, gradually, tentatively, a new - our - generation is beginning to fight consumerism with its own best weapons; and the first skirmishes in this war are what this abrasively intelligent book documents brilliantly. This is culture jamming.
Coloured by compelling, first-hand accounts of - among others - the McLibel trial, Reclaim the Streets, covert ad-busting missions in the 'Export Processing Zone' (i.e. sweatshops outside Manila producing the branded clothes that crowd our shops) No Logo is based on hundreds of interviews, on both sides of the fence, with young activists and advertising executives, with union leaders and corporate directors. It offers a fascinating re-reading of our times.
Equal parts cultural analysis, mall-rat memoir, political manifesto and journalistic exposť, No Logo is the first book to attend the birth of the new resistance and the first to put this informed anarchy into pop-historical and clear economic perspective.
The Guardian, 23 September 2000
"Just when you thought multi-nationals and crazed consumerism were too big to fight, along comes Naomi Klein with facts, spirit, and news of successful fighters already out there. No Logo is an invigorating call to arms for everybody who wants to save money, justice, or the universe."
"A movement bible"
"In No Logo [Klein] has collected together years of rigorous research and anecdote to build up an argument against branding...
Rather than shouting into the blue, like many well-meaning but ill-equipped campaigners, she takes us on a fascinating ride through the history of marketing ...
Klein, who brilliantly humanises what is essentially a detailed, figure-heavy academic study with fascinating personal stories, concludes that the consumer choice promised by many multinationals has failed to materialise. Instead, sprawling corporations, which have become lifestyle purveyors rather than just manufacturers, dominate every landscape from the shopping mall to the classroom. Klein's voice is firm but never preachy, her argument detailed but never obscure"
"A stylishly argued indictment of post-modern capitalism, in particular the push towards oppressive corporate branding and the associated power structures of world-wide trade."
"The Das Kapital of the growing anti-corporate movement
"Klein presents a powerful argument that global brands have resulted in the exploitation of third world workers, increased domestic unemployment, reduced domestic wages, and the continual erosion of workers' rights."
"Klein gathers all the evidence in No Logo which is nothing short of a complete, user-friendly handbook on the negative effects that '90s überbrand marketing has had on culture, work, and consumer choice. Likewise, she offers an encyclopedic compilation of the decade's fringe and mainstream anticorporate actions and mind-sets, proposing that they signal the approach of a vast wave of opposition squarely targeting transnational corporations, particularly those with very high name-brand recognition."
"By delivering its news in a voice and style rich with language, references, and humor sure to reach a generation of Most Likely to Be Future Activists, No Logo may itself be one of the anticorporate movement's best hopes yet."
"Compelling...Klein is a gifted writer; her paragraphs can be as seductive as the ad campaigns she dissects...graceful"
"This book is exceedingly well-organized, contains numerous vivid examples and tells as compelling a story the best spy thrillers."
"What corporations fear most are consumers who ask questions. Naomi Klein offers us the arguments with which to take on the superbrands."
"No Logo's erudite, balanced reportage will help to raise the profile of what happens behind the superbrand scenes"
"Comprehensive, passionate, and witty, No Logo is the best book yet on the culture of branding. But Klein expands the focus beyond mere consumerism and asks what we must do, as global citizens, to reclaim our public spaces and private selves. So add another adjective: inspiring."
"No Logo is one of the most insightful and stimulating marketing books to come on the scene in recent years. However, calling it a marketing book is probably inappropriate because, to paraphrase Shakespeare, this book seems to want to bury marketing, not to praise it. That said, the book nevertheless is essential reading for marketing scholars and practitioners alike."
"No Logo has been reviewed everywhere.... All are impressed with the unsparing reportage but few have lingered on the suggested cure, and it's here that Klein reveals her true colours: she trumpets the dawning of a revolution that she sees growing on the factory floor, new student groups, in Reclaim the Streets, and grassroots direct action. Hurrah!"
"In the global economy, all the world's a marketing opportunity. From this elemental premise, freelance journalist and Toronto Star columnist Klein methodically builds an angry and funny case against branding in general and several large North American companies in particular, notably Gap, Microsoft and Starbucks. Mixing an activist's passion with sophisticated cultural commentary, Klein delivers some elegant formulations: "Free speech is meaningless if the commercial cacophony has risen to the point where no one can hear you."
"Gen X intellectual Naomi Klein could become the next Douglas Coupland with her No Logo. She anticipates a revolt against corporate power by younger people seeking brand-free space. Even it the revolt is not in the works yet, her tart writing might inspire one."
"Klein writes with passion and panache. No Logo offers a thoroughly researched, well argued analysis of what economic globalism and its attendant branding have done to workers' lives and consumers' purchasing options"
"Klein has done her homework. Her first-hand reporting on the Dickensian conditions in Third World locales such as the Philippines' Cavite export processing zone is chilling stuff. Suffice it to say the weight of Klein's evidence points to the need for transnational legal and regulatory reform."
"No Logo, Klein's maiden book, is a connect-the-dots investigation that takes us everywhere from Gap swing ads to Indonesian sweatshops. Partly a sweeping study of modern consumption, partly a primer on pop culture, No Logo is that rare political treatise: never pedantic, elegantly written and creased with exhaustively researched arguments."
"Wonderful... No Logo accomplishes the near-impossible job of piecing together the huge and complicated jigsaw puzzle that has been overtaking our lives since the advent of that dreaded concept, 'branding.' Klein writes about all this with astonishing power, combining meticulous research with hip-hop-hot writing."
"sharp and very timely... Klein can write - she favours informality and crispness over jargon, and her asides can be droll... Her reportage is calm but unsparing.... Klein holds her temper. Her style is more Noam Chomsky than John Pilger: she condemns by quotation and accumulation, not finger-pointing.... bitterly perceptive insight."
"When you read Naomi Klein's impressive book on the changing face of world politics, the rage of Seattle will come into sharp focus. Her ability to synthesize and analyse is astounding."
"[No Logo] should be read by anyone who thinks that last year's Seattle demonstrations were an aberration. It eloquently sets out the suspicion and resentment that many young folk feel for large companies."
"Naomi Klein is a brave woman indeed...A riveting, conscientious piece of journalism and a strident call to arms... The book is packed with enlightening statistics and extraordinary anecdotal evidence... This isn't the work of a scattershot anticapitalist, or a flaky apologist for some hippy Utopia... No Logo is fluent, undogmatically alive to its contradictions and omissions, and positively seethes with intelligent anger."
"This book is for anyone who has gazed at the homogenized, brand-filled modern commercial landscape and wondered, 'Where did this all come from?' And, perhaps more importantly, 'How far will we let it go?'...Klein is a sharp cultural critic, and a flawless story-teller. Her analysis is thorough and thoroughly engaging."
If you are still not convinced you want to buy this book, then read these excerpts