Advertising Breakers. [1]

We can witness at the moment in France, a hue and cry [2] against the appearance of advertising, on bill boards in the streets, on the television and at the cinema also.

Some associations view the day tentatively. The “Advertising Breakers” don’t have substantial means, no, they don’t have money, they, but… they have ideas and ideas which are beginning to circulate.

Michael Stettner, the founder:

We are united, we are not so numerous, we are three or four and we have created the review of the mental environment which we have called the “Advertising Breakers”.

These three or four friends have united to publish a newspaper.

The first one, we made thirty thousand copies. We wanted it to be distributed in kiosks and when we had sold nearly eight thousand we had enough to pay the printer and we started with the second edition that we had to sell again… and finally that allowed us to envisage continuing.

The movement is small but it is not so isolated. As everyone knows, “strength through unity”.

We work with two associations, two other associations with the same theme. There is RAP which is resistance against aggressive advertising, which fights principally against advertising in letter boxes, the advertising during cinema showings and others, and “Paysage de France” who themselves attempt to see to it that the law is respected in the… in the matter of putting up advertisements on boards, in the towns and the countryside, half of them in France are illegal. So, we see, they have succeeded in taking down a huge device some thirty metres high, of one of the very big distributors to French supermarkets and they applied to the administrative tribunal but they were obliged to dismantle the device which was illegal.

For them, the question is serious. The stake is of the order of life itself. It is as if advertising puts being human on the same shelf as merchandise, as if the names of the commercial products act as a substitute for our own thoughts. We cannot any more exchange our ideas with others. The ideas buy and sell themselves.

I think Citroen, you think Orangina etc. I think Renault and I find myself contrite, that is to say vexed, like watching a game of words, penaud, penault, Renault on the sign that has been prepared.

Advertising had an informative function at the beginning. It has lost that informative function. It only serves to cover one message consume more and you do not exist if you are not consuming. So advertisements have covered all that. They have, moreover, for that, taken over the press, literally taken over the modern means of communication which are the radio and television, even the public television. There isn’t any more space for communication or information, except the advertising space… the advertisements are sized and we cannot integrate this space for information except to have the means to advertise. So we cannot any more communicate on the arts, on leisure activities, on education, on solidarity, all that is impossible to access because it must be lifted to the level of advertising. Partly there is no interest because we are in a system of a low intellectual level which seeks to drive the movements of the crowd and the almost thoughtless buying without reason except to consume more.

But the television?

Yes, finally, for the television, I would say that it is a bit different because we are not completely against all the television. One of our letters was to promote the week without television.

No, but you must effectively differentiate the tool, the television which allows, and notably for the people who are alone for example, or even in certain cases, which carries a vision on the world which we wouldn’t otherwise have. You must see that, amongst the fact, that the time that people spend in front of the television is a completely captive time. And when we know that, at present on average we see numbers like three hours or four hours in front of the television, then we know that there isn’t any communication, that is to say that we are literally hypnotised by the sweeping of the electrons and we would say no that is not possible because even if there are interesting things on the television… It’s a way of controlling a population. It is a fact of society which is extremely damaging to thought.

The “Advertising Breakers” are calling for a demonstration of support by proposing for everyone a week without television from 22nd to 28th April 2001. To participate, it’s simple: it’s enough to unplug your television for the week. A week without television is an attempt to safeguard our very precious resource, our reasoning.

[1] Les Casseurs de Pub is a play on words. There is an expression “les casseurs de pierres” which is a French expression for stone breakers.

[2] Les boucliers are riot shields – levée de boucliers means a general outcry, or a hue and cry.

$Id: 2001_03_soc.htm 35 2021-02-12 12:17:35Z alistair $

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