Better Badges was a London button-badge manufacturer, started in 1976 by Joly MacFie. During the years 1977-1984 it became the leading publisher and merchandiser of 'punk badges' - exporting millions worldwide from their offices at 286 Portobello Road. Better Badges was a major player in the punk and postpunk scenes from 1976-1983 - a pioneer viral marketer, fueling the independent labels' fan-based promotional successes of the time.
1979 MacFie purchased in-house printing equipment which, in addition to badges, was used to produce many fanzines which BB also distributed. Titles included Jamming!, No Cure and Panache Promotional materials were also made for budding UK labels such as Mute Records and Rough Trade. Some artists, such as The Raincoats and Young Marble Giants used BB to publish small booklets.
MacFie bought an AM radio transmitter so that music could be broadcast from the top floor to the printers in the basement. These pirate radio broadcasts of mainly reggae eventually led to the formation of the Dread Broadcasting Corporation, which, under the leadership of Lepke, became the first major London urban pirate radio station, for which Better Badges created merchandise and served as the official address.
MacFie sold the business and moved to the United States in 1983.
In the early 2000s Better Badges produced over half a million anti-war badges as part of the UK campaign against the Iraq war.
Recently the firm has been renamed to 'A Better Badge'.
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