A subvertisement based on the Coca-Cola logo
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 realise 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 comes from a sythesis 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.
Liberal and radical viewpoints tend to dominate subvertising, as one of the ideas behind the concept is to incite change by presenting easily recognisable 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.
The following text comes from Subvertise.org:
- 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.
See also Billboard liberation.