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Subvertising refers to the practice of making spoofs or parodies of corporate and political advertisements in order to make a statement. This can take the form of a new image, or an alteration to an existing image. A subvertisement can also be referred to as meme hack and can be a part of social hacking or culture jamming.

According to AdBusters, a Canadian magazine and a leading proponent of counter-culture and subvertising, "A well produced 'subvert' mimics the look and feel of the targeted ad, promoting the classic 'double-take' as viewers suddenly realize they have been duped. Subverts create cognitive dissonance. It cuts through the hype and glitz of our mediated reality and, momentarily, reveals a deeper truth within."

The word subvertising is a portmanteau of the words "subvert" and "advertising". Thus, the primary goal of subvertisements, more commonly referred to as subverts, is often to sabotage political candidates and campaigns, corporations, and other targets.

ExxonMobil logo subverted by Greenpeace

Liberal and radical viewpoints tend to dominate subvertising, as one of the ideas behind the concept is to incite change by presenting easily recognizable and understandable images that can be shocking and even disturbing in their frankness. However, some people believe that subverts that are mockingly reminiscent of corporate or political symbols are simply giving those symbols undue publicity. People in this school of thought often argue that subverts serve no real purpose, and that, by bringing those icons forward in the public consciousness, subvertising in fact ends up supporting that which it was trying to destroy. Less commonly , subvertisements are used by conservatives. For example during the U.S. presidential election of 2000, the Republicans made signs Sore Loserman, for the Democratic party's candidates Gore/Lieberman, to express the uncertainty of election results.

According to

Subvertising is the Art of Cultural resistance. It is the 'writing on the wall', the sticker on the lamppost, the corrected rewording of billboards, the spoof T-shirt; but it is also the mass act of defiance of a street party. The key process involves redefining or even reclaiming our environment from the corporate beast.

Subvertising is sometimes also used by political campaigners in order to slander their opponents or reach the minds of the public to gain support.

Subverted Ford logo

See also

External links