Some would argue that nothing is completely original. Everything we produce is simply an alteration of something that’s been seen or done before. Whether or not you agree with that, there is a form of street art that this thought process rings particularly true to.McDonald's Ad Bust

McDonald’s posted this ad…someone just came along and changed it. This week we are going to discuss what is referred to as “ad busting”. Ad busting is the process of altering or in some cases, completely replacing posted paid advertisements. Common places for these are billboards, bus stops, sub way walls, ad stands at malls, etc. They are usually charged with some sort of message and can often be offensive or extreme while other times, they aim to unveil truths to the general public. As you can imagine, they are picked strategically to receive the most traffic and largest audience.

stick it to the man!

There’s always going to be a battle between corporate and the little guys. This fight is inevitable and in many cases of ad busting, quite apparent. The classic debate of marketing shoving social norms, unrealistic body standards, and unnecessary products down the consumer’s throat is fought this time with 1000 words. Artists feel it put upon them to set some things straight with what is called “subvertising”. This is basically just a fancy word for what we have been discussing this whole time about altering the intentions behind corporate advertisements. Whether correct or incorrect about their statements, the advertisements are still corrupted.

Coca-Cola Ad Bust
This is an example of an attack on the corporate world. Examples such as these ranking lower on the artistic side are sometimes titled “culture jamming”


jets Vs sharks

This is considered vandalism by those who consider the advertisements altered property. It is true that companies are spending money (usually quite a bit) to post their advertisements. They incur posting fees as well as the cost for the actual material and ink. This all adds up. What most people don’t realize is the costs that are involved with the idea creation. Same as the process used to create the alterations by the street artist, marketers use inspiration, the surrounding world, and the population’s opinion to shape their advertisements. Graphic designers would argue heavily that what they do is a form of art. When thinking in this light, one can almost hear dramatic music playing in an alley way with gangs of artists snapping their fingers while running in towards each other for a rumble. Ha, no but seriously shots are fired when art is blatantly defaced by another artist. In some cases it is completely removed and the street artist’s art takes over the new space.

truth and silence

PS H&M Ad Buster
Caught in the act of modification

When is it ok to speak out of turn? When does the regular guy’s voice get to be heard over the drowning drones of advertisement and corporate campaigning? For most it is apparent that this fight is not one sided. If you disagree with the alteration of these ads, do you 100% agree with the alteration of these women’s bodies? Or at least the right for companies to post ads containing unrealistic pictures, facts, or claims? People are taking a stand for what they feel has passed a threshold of tolerance for inaccuracies. The way artists take a stand is by using corporate’s own tools against them.

PS H&M Ad Buster2
A Photoshop toolbar has been created and placed on this add to prove a point.

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