Know it while you have it: The Ontological Condition of a Cancelled Advertisement

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Large, William ; Bradshaw, Alan (2016)

It is well known that advertising and branding co-opts counter culture to sell commodities, but in this article we uncover the ontological conditions for such an appropriation. We investigate a particular example of contemporary advertising, the Levis commercial “Legacy – Now is our Time“ (2011), which was subsequently pulled because of the British riots of that year, as a historical situated and saturated moment. This article employs Benjamin's notion of the phantasmagoria to uncover the messianic possibilities of a future hidden in the cynicism of the image, and Freud’s essay on ‘The Uncanny’ to suggest the particular temporal structure of this future as a repetition of an absolute past. Such an example of advertising and branding is situated within the overall theory of subjectification of late capitalism, where the dominate concept of capital is human capital (biopolitics), and in which capital is directly parasitical on creativity and life.
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