No real point

Spotted this new piece of street art tonight, on the junction of Bethnal Green Road and Redchurch Street in East London. It’s an interesting piece – a caustic swipe at the performer/panellist and the global beauty brand she endorses. It gets a half-laugh. But it doesn’t take you anywhere because it’s lacking in the genuine energy of protest. Cheryl Cole and L’Oreal ads are common targets of mimicry, but the artist hasn’t done enough to move the narrative on.

It doesn’t help that the writing is so confused: ‘Dole Model: Protect your family’ has no clear connection to the rest of the mockvert. I suppose ‘Hair from India’ is a reference to Cheryl’s alleged use of ‘organic’ hair extensions, and I assume ‘auto tune’ is referring to a piece of paraphernalia from a recording studio rather than something you might find in one of the many garages off the Bethnal Green Road. Fair enough, but the line ‘publicity by Satan’ is a lame dig at Simon Cowell. He deserves better.

Perhaps the worst bit is the failure to develop the overall theme of ‘Real’. The ‘Noreal Parts’ headline might have been the start of something powerful, but the idea is lost along the way. By the sign-off it has become ‘Because you’re worth it. Real’. So what’s the message? What’s the purpose? Is this the most profound thing the artist has to say about atomisation and vacuous celebrity/consumer branding?

The best anti-marketing posters you see around these parts rework the language of advertising in such a skilful way that it accentuates the power of their parody. This artist has produced something with no message, little wit and simply awful typography. What’s the point – we already have plenty of ad agencies who can do that.

Tim

PS The artist behind this work, Dr D, has done some other pieces that are more interesting, particularly some political work that uses the Foundry in Old Street as a backdrop: www.drd.nu/

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