|Years active||2012 - Present|
|Country||Australia, Paris, United Kingdom|
|Major figures||Paul Insect, Ron English, Robert Montgomery (artist)|
|Influences||Détournement, Subvertising, Culture jamming, Banksy, Situationist International|
Brandalism (a portmanteau of 'brand' and 'vandalism') is an anti-advertising movement.  It is a form of creative activism that uses subvertising to alter and critique corporate advertising by creating parodies or spoofs to replace ads in public areas.  The art is typically intended to draw attention to political and social issues such as consumerism and the environment.  Advertisements produced by the Brandalism movement are silk screen printed artworks, and may take the form of a new image, or a satirical alteration to an existing image, icon or logo.  The advertisements are often pasted over billboards, or propped under the glass of roadside advertising spaces.
Prior to the formal emergence of Brandalism, similar creative activist movements had existed, using culture jamming, subvertising and détournement to promote a range of social and political issues throughout history. In 2012, during the Summer Olympics hosted in the UK, the Brandalism movement officially emerged. Since then, several public Brandalism campaigns have been launched across the globe. These include during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris and the 2019-2020 Australian bushfire season, where the Brandalism movement sought to draw attention to topics such as environmental degradation, visual pollution, debt and the representation of body image in advertising. 
Brandalism is a movement that practices ‘culture jamming’ – a campaigning technique that uses mass-marketing tools subversively to criticise consumerism, advertising and mass media.  It draws inspiration from ‘détournement’, a technique used during the 1950s by the Situationist International, an international organisation of avant-garde artists.  Détournement is a French term that refers to the reappropriation of forms of popular culture to challenge and reveal hidden meanings within these forms.  It has also been defined as the practice of “turning expressions of the capitalist system and its media culture against itself”.  During the 1970s, this technique was used by the Australian Billboard Utilising Graffitists Against Unhealthy Promotions (BUGAUP), who altered tobacco and alcohol advertising billboards in a campaign to rebel against the promotion of unhealthy substance consumption.  Between 2000 and 2004 Greenpeace pressured Coca Cola to abandon the use of hydroflurocarbons by placing stickers and posters on Coca-Cola products and refrigerators and vending machines. These parodied the company's then signature images of polar bears, but had them floating on melting icebergs and used the corporation's calligraphy for wording such as “Enjoy Climate Change.  The movement was officially labelled ‘Brandalism’ during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, when a group of artists replaced corporate advertisements on billboards with satirical posters critiquing consumerism and advertising. Following this, the Brandalism network expanded and large projects emerged during the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris and the 2020 bushfire season in Australia.
The first major Brandalism project occurred during the UK summer Olympics in July 2012. Over a five-day period, a team of 28 artists installed satirical parodies of corporate advertisements over 36 large format billboards in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and London.  The project was titled ’48 sheet’ and sought to comment on the impacts of advertising on culture and community, specifically targeting the “brand mania” surrounding the London Olympic games.  Artists involved in the project included post-situationist artist Robert Montgomery (artist), pop artist Ron English and Banksy collaborator Paul Insect.  The works appropriated advertisements from brands such as Foot Locker, McDonald's, JD Sport and Nike. The project gained international media attention, provoking widespread public discussions about the legitimacy of corporate advertising. After this, the Brandalism network began to develop and expand, with installations popping up in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Oxford and Brighton.
The 2015 UN Climate Change Conference was held in Paris, France from the 30th of November to the 12th of December 2015. During the conference, attending parties negotiated the Paris Agreement, an international commitment to reducing carbon emissions and combatting climate change.  During the Conference, Brandalism activists posted 600 pieces of satirical artwork in bus stop advertising spaces across Paris.  The art was designed by 82 artists from 19 countries. The art sought to protest against what Brandalism activists called the “greenwashing” of the UN Climate Change talks, and “the links between advertising, consumerism, fossil fuel dependency and climate change".  Across Paris, Brandalism activists covered over posters from JC Decaux, an outdoor advertising multi-national corporation and major sponsor of the climate conference.  Many of the posters distributed were parodies targeting other companies who were sponsoring the COP21, including Air France and Volkswagen. Other posters satirically depicted world leaders of the time, calling on them to take action on climate change and other environmental issues. 44th President of the United States Barack Obama, 24th President of France François Hollande, then-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron and chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel were among the political figures displayed. 
During the 2019-2020 Australian summer season, intense bushfires occurred across Australia. 33 people died in the fires, 12.6 million hectares of land were burnt, 434 million tonnes of CO2 were emitted and over 1 billion animals were killed.  In response to the bushfires, a group of 41 artists collaborated on a Brandalism project dubbed “Bushfire Brandalism".  78 roadside advertisements were replaced with satirical posters across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Each poster featured a call to action and a QR code to the charity of each artists’ choice. The posters sought to draw awareness to the underlying causes of the bushfires, focussing on a range of subjects including climate change, drought, the fossil fuel industry, the Australian Federal governments’ response to the bushfire season and damage to Australia's native flaura and fauna.  The posters depicted popular Australian iconography as well as major political figures, such as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
In November 2020, Brandalism activists covered more than 250 billboards and bus stop advertising spaces across 10 cities in the United Kingdom with satirical advertisements targeting HSBC, a British multinational investment bank.  This Brandalism project emerged in response to HSBC's announcement that it would aim to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2050, with activists claiming that this target was inadequate. Brandalism campaigners produced satirical advertisements accusing HSBC of “climate colonialism” and protesting against its investment in fossil fuels, links to deforestation and alleged involvement in human rights abuses. 
The Brandalism movement is a form of grassroots campaigning that seeks to evoke change and promote awareness about various political issues through creative activism. On its website, the movement describes itself as a “revolt against the corporate control of culture and space".  By intervening in public advertising spaces, the Brandalism movement seeks to challenge the power of large corporations and their role in climate change. In the Brandalism manifesto, it is stated that the purpose of the movement is to “speak truth to power, to oppression, to injustice” and to “reclaim the space to express".  Brandalism specifically focuses on the relationship between advertising, consumerism and the environment, seeking to challenge the use of corporate advertising in public spaces. Brandalism projects have historically been launched during (or in response to) large events with significant political causes or consequences. The satirical advertisements produced by the Brandalism movement typically target large corporations or influential political actors, seeking to address contemporary political and social issues. Common ideological themes of Brandalism advertisements include progressivism, anti-capitalism, anti-consumerism and environmentalism.
The Brandalism movement appropriates corporate advertisements and installs satirical adaptations of these advertisements in public spaces. Brandalism artists use a range of artistic techniques in the creation of their artworks to create meaning and express criticism of consumerism and corporate advertising. In the distribution of these subverted advertisements, Brandalism artists often follow a strict method so as to circumvent legal punishment.
The artistic techniques and forms used by Brandalism artists are often dependent on the resources available to them or the resources they can borrow from nearby artists. Some Brandalism artists hand draw or paint over advertisements in public spaces. Others use software such as Adobe Photoshop to create their artworks digitally, and then print them using large format digital printers or screen printers. The standard size of a Brandalism artwork is 120 by 180 cm (47 by 71 in), as this is the average display size of bus stop advertising spaces. 
Brandalism involves activities that are considered illegal in many parts of the world. As such, artists from the Brandalism movement often follow a strict method to avoid legal penalty or sanction for the distribution of their subverted advertisements. Brandalism artists usually work individually or in small groups, and connect with one another using social media application such as Instagram or Facebook. In order to install their satirical adaptions of advertisements, Brandalism artists sometimes create their own high visibility vests with fake brand labels of large outdoor advertising companies such as JCDecaux and Clear Channel Outdoor printed onto them. This way, they can operate in plain sight and avoid drawing attention to themselves. They typically use 4-way utility, H60 or T30 keys to open locks and gain access to bus stop advertising spaces.  After gaining access to the space, they remove existing advertisements and replace these with their subverted and satirical advertisements or paintings.
The Brandalism movement has a complex relationship with the law. Whilst never tested in court, some brand owners have threatened to pursue legal action against the distributors of subverted corporate advertisements on the grounds of alleged copyright infringement, trade mark infringement and injurious falsehood.  Other critics of Brandalism have claimed that it constitutes a criminal act, involving vandalism and trespassing. In response, artists have cited defences related to individual rights of freedom of speech and expression, which are often considered to prevail over the intellectual property rights of brand owners.
Brandalism involves the satirical adaptation of corporate advertisements for the purpose of criticising corporations and the presence of corporate advertising in public spaces. In many cases, the subverted advertisements distributed by Brandalism artists are deliberately intended to look similar to the original advertisement. Some brand owners have consequently claimed that some instances of Brandalism may violate copyright or trademark laws. Defences used in response to claims of copyright or trademark infringement include fair dealing and rights to freedom of expression.  In the United Kingdom and Australia, the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 permits the fair dealing of copyrighted material for the purpose of parody, satire, criticism or review.  Section 10 of the Trade Marks Act 1994 also implies that infringements of trade mark may be defendable if 'due cause' can be established. This could occur if the defendant establishes due cause by claiming the distribution of the subverted advertisement was in the interests of the public. 
If a subverted advertisement has brought a company or label into disrepute, a brand owner may bring a claim of injurious or Malicious falsehood against the artist. For a claim of injurious falsehood to be successful, the complainant must prove malice on behalf of the publisher, substantial damage suffered due to the publication, and that some (or part) of the publication contained a falsehood. 
Freedom of expression remains the most common defence usable by Brandalism artists in response to claims of Copyright infringement, Trade mark infringement or injurious falsehood. The right to freedom of expression is stipulated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (1953) and is also constitutionally protected in many democratic nations.   It constitutes ones individual right to freely express their opinions, views and ideas, and to seek, receive and impart information.
Advertising is the practice and techniques employed to bring attention to a product or service. Advertising aims to put a product or service in the spotlight in hopes of drawing it attention from consumers. It is typically used to promote a specific good or service, but there are wide range of uses, the most common being the commercial advertisement.
Fashion is a form of self-expression and autonomy at a particular period and place and in a specific context, of clothing, footwear, lifestyle, accessories, makeup, hairstyle, and body posture. The term implies a look defined by the fashion industry as that which is trending. Everything that is considered fashion is available and popularized by the fashion system.
A détournement, meaning "rerouting, hijacking" in French, is a technique developed in the 1950s by the Letterist International, and later adapted by the Situationist International (SI), that was defined in the SI's inaugural 1958 journal as "[t]he integration of present or past artistic productions into a superior construction of a milieu. In this sense there can be no situationist painting or music, but only a situationist use of those means. In a more elementary sense, détournement within the old cultural spheres is a method of propaganda, a method which reveals the wearing out and loss of importance of those spheres."
Subvertising is the practice of making spoofs or parodies of corporate and political advertisements. The cultural critic Mark Dery coined the term in 1991. Subvertisements are anti-ads that deflect advertising's attempts to turn the people's attention in a given direction. According to author Naomi Klein, subvertising offers a way of speaking back to advertising, ‘forcing a dialogue where before there was only a declaration.’ They may take the form of a new image or an alteration to an existing image or icon, often in a satirical manner.
The Adbusters Media Foundation is a Canadian-based not-for-profit, pro-environment organization founded in 1989 by Kalle Lasn and Bill Schmalz in Vancouver, British Columbia. Adbusters describes itself as "a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age."
A billboard is a large outdoor advertising structure, typically found in high-traffic areas such as alongside busy roads. Billboards present large advertisements to passing pedestrians and drivers. Typically brands use billboards to build their brands or to push for their new products.
Greenwashing, also called "green sheen", is a form of advertising or marketing spin in which green PR and green marketing are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization's products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly. Companies that intentionally take up greenwashing communication strategies often do so in order to distance themselves from the environmental lapses of themselves or their suppliers.
Guerrilla art is a street art movement that first emerged in the UK, but has since spread across the world and is now established in most countries that already had developed graffiti scenes. In fact, it owes so much to the early graffiti movement, in the United States guerrilla art is still referred to as ‘post-graffiti art’.
Protest art is the creative works produced by activists and social movements. It is a traditional means of communication, utilized by a cross section of collectives and the state to inform and persuade citizens. Protest art helps arouse base emotions in their audiences, and in return may increase the climate of tension and create new opportunities to dissent. Since art, unlike other forms of dissent, take few financial resources, less financially able groups and parties can rely more on performance art and street art as an affordable tactic.
Kalle Lasn is an Estonian-Canadian film maker, author, magazine editor, and activist. Near the end of World War II, his family fled Estonia and Lasn spent some time in a German refugee camp. At age seven he was resettled in Australia with his family, where he grew up and remained until the late 1960s, attending school in Canberra. In the late 1960s, he founded a market research company in Tokyo, and in 1970, moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Over the course of twenty years, he produced documentaries for PBS and Canada’s National Film Board. He currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia.
"I Am Australian" is a popular Australian song written in 1987 by Bruce Woodley of the Seekers and Dobe Newton of the Bushwackers. Its lyrics are filled with many historic and cultural references, such as to the "digger", Albert Namatjira and Ned Kelly, among others. Its popularity has allowed it to join the ranks of other patriotic songs considered as alternatives to the Australian national anthem, "Advance Australia Fair". It is commonly taught in primary schools. In the years since the song's release, there have been calls for it to become Australia's national anthem, notably in 2011 by former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett.
Flyposting is a guerrilla marketing tactic where advertising posters are put up. In the United States, these posters are also commonly referred to as wheatpaste posters because wheatpaste is often used to adhere the posters. Posters are adhered to construction site barricades, building façades and in alleyways.
Anti-consumerism is a sociopolitical ideology that is opposed to consumerism, the continual buying and consuming of material possessions. Anti-consumerism is concerned with the private actions of business corporations in pursuit of financial and economic goals at the expense of the public welfare, especially in matters of environmental protection, social stratification, and ethics in the governing of a society. In politics, anti-consumerism overlaps with environmental activism, anti-globalization, and animal-rights activism; moreover, a conceptual variation of anti-consumerism is post-consumerism, living in a material way that transcends consumerism.
Sustainability advertising is communications geared towards promoting social, economic and environmental benefits (sustainability) of products, services or actions through paid advertising in media in order to encourage responsible behavior of consumers.
Steve Lambert is an American artist who works with issues of advertising and the use of public space. He is a founder of the Anti-Advertising Agency, an artist-run initiative which critiques advertising through artistic interventions, and of the Budget Gallery which creates exhibitions by painting over outdoor advertisements and hanging submitted art in its place. Lambert's artistic practice includes drawing, performance, intervention, culture jamming, public art, video, and internet art. He has worked with the Graffiti Research Lab, Glowlab, and as a senior fellow at Eyebeam.
A poster is a large sheet that is placed either on a public space to promote something or on a wall as decoration. Typically, posters include both textual and graphic elements, although a poster may be either wholly graphical or wholly text. Posters are designed to be both eye-catching and informative. Posters may be used for many purposes. They are a frequent tool of advertisers, propagandists, protestors, and other groups trying to communicate a message. Posters are also used for reproductions of artwork, particularly famous works, and are generally low-cost compared to the original artwork. The modern poster, as we know it, however, dates back to the 1840s and 1850s when the printing industry perfected colour lithography and made mass production possible.
Culture jamming is a form of protest used by many anti-consumerist social movements to disrupt or subvert media culture and its mainstream cultural institutions, including corporate advertising. It attempts to "expose the methods of domination" of mass society.
Billboard hacking or billboard hijacking is the illegal practice of altering a billboard without the consent of the owner. It may involve physically pasting new media over the existing image, or hacking into the system used to control electronic billboard displays. The aim is to replace the programmed video with a different video or image. The replaced media may be displayed for various reasons, including culture jamming, shock value, promotion, activism, political propaganda, or simply to amuse viewers.
Dyke Action Machine! or DAM! is a public art and activist duo made up of designer Carrie Moyer and photographer Sue Schaffner. DAM! gained notoriety in the 1990s for using commercial photography styling with lesbian imagery in public art.
Deanna Maree “Violet” Coco, usually known as Violet Coco, is an Australian climate activist who was briefly jailed on remand for blocking the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2022. Her current sentence stands at 15 months prison with a non‑parole period of 8 months. She is now out on bail pending an appeal scheduled for March 2023.