Why haven't we met any aliens? According to Geoffrey Miller:
"Basically, I think the aliens don’t blow themselves up; they just get addicted to computer games. They forget to send radio signals or colonize space because they’re too busy with runaway consumerism and virtual-reality narcissism. They don’t need Sentinels to enslave them in a Matrix; they do it to themselves, just as we are doing today."
From Seed Magazine: http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/why_we_haven
A new generation of brand owners are emerging out of
the recession. They are about diversity, locality, variety, individuality
and depth. They are global in ambition but refuse to sacrifice quality
for quantity. They are defiant, they are everywhere and they are growing.
They stand in stark contrast to the uniform, global, corporation of the world
before the crash. They are the Manifesto Brands.
In their desire for change, to draw a line under the past and in their
habit of stating their aims in manifestos, these new brands resemble the great
artist movements of the modern age.
The Romantics stood against the horrible realities of
the industrial revolution and were all about absolute inwardness. They were
also canny entrepreneurs and invented popular fiction to create as big a market
as possible for their stories. The Romantic movement swept the world. Byron and
Keats and Shelley became the first rock stars. Romanticism became the first
ever consumer craze.
Today, there is no other brand like Brew Dog. They are
surrealist revolutionaries, punks of brewing and provocateurs of business. They
are the self-declared leaders of a consumer backlash against homogenisation.
Their manifesto calls for nothing less than a craft brewing revolution.
Brands that get it wrong try to please all the people
all the time. The good books, movies, songs, art and brands have a point of
view. It is not enough to have a common purpose with your target audience. You
need a common enemy.
We can learn a thing or two from those artists and the
brands that follow in their wake about how to launch manifestos and build
1. Don’t write it alone. Manifestos are the start of a movement
and movements need a vanguard. Gather your fellow travellers together,
lock yourselves in a room, speak your mind, discover common ground, agree
objectives, decide what you will do and what you will never do. This is
how manifestos get written.
2. Launch with a bang. Test it, tighten it until it is watertight
then get it out there. The Futurists were the first artists to write a
manifesto and they launched it on the front page of Le Figaro, triggering first
a national then a global debate. They rode the momentum and translated it
quickly into several languages as it spread around the world within weeks.
3. Don’t just publish it, perform it. To manifesto is to
perform. The Futurists literally shouted it from the rooftops. They
booked out theatres to read from the stage. There were debates, arguments
and riots. When BrewDog ride tanks through London or satirise Vladimir
Putin’s record on gay rights, they are following in the footsteps of
4. Know your purpose. A manifesto is a series of demands.
The Futurists wanted to abolish the past. The Surrealists wanted to
liberate the imagination as an act of insurrection against society. Hiut
Denim aim to get the town of Cardigan making jeans again.
5. Find your new cultural group. The Beats were for the Beat
Generation. Converse are for the after hours athletes. Vice are for
angry, disenfranchised Millennials. Brew Dog are for beer punks.
Which emerging, vibrant subculture are you with?
6. Find common purpose with your audience. Make it clear that you
both want the same thing. Levis Go Forth articulated the frustrations of
a generation that felt stuck.
7. Name your enemies. Artist manifestos had as many “down with…”
as “up with…” Blu e-cigarettes stand against the prejudice that equates
e-cigarettes with tobacco.
8. Develop your own myth. Before they had even launched their
business, the Pizza Pilgrims had filmed a documentary about themselves, written
a cookbook and secured a load of press coverage
9. Build a nodal network. Record Store Day is a global alliance of
record shops, labels and bands that has given the record shop business a
massive boost, changed the business model, helped revive vinyl, restarted
dormant careers and launched new ones. It is a wide, flexible,
ever-evolving structure with no hierarchy. It is a networked movement.
10. Unleash an explosion of new ideas. Forget the big idea.
Your manifesto will hold everything together. From that manifesto
thousands of ideas can spring. They need not look the same because they
all ultimately demand the same thing.
11. Embrace a new media behaviour. The Beats had poetry readings
and events, Punks had fanzines. Vice owns immersive video
journalism and Brew Dog has made the product their most potent media.
12. Agitate, educate, organise. This is a communications
plan road tested by revolutionaries throughout history. Stir things up
with some provocations; as a crowd gathers, explain what is going on; when they
are engaged and ready to go, show them what to do.
13. Create a groundswell. In surfing a groundswell is
a wave that keeps growing. It starts with a single energy source and through a
million complex interactions it becomes self-sustaining. For
manifesto brands this means selective use of bought media, provocative PR,
stunts and events activating social conversations, amplified and encouraged by
promotions and content and so on. The Manifesto Brand campaign is always
on and managing and sustaining it is a 24/7 activity. The days of
launching an ad campaign and sitting back to watch the effect are long gone.
14. Read 100 Artists Manifestos by Alex Danchev. It is an
“You become a subject to
the extent to which you can respond to events. For me personally, I responded
to the events of '68, I accepted my romantic destiny, became interested in
mathematics – all these chance events made me what I am."
“How does truth come into all
this? "You discover truth in your response to the event. Truth is a
construction after the event. The example of love is the clearest. It starts
with an encounter that's not calculable but afterwards you realise what it was.”
This is the first in a series of films we at Brothers and Sisters are making with The Fableists, our joint venture into ethical, sustainable kids' fashion. Nothing we sell was made by kids in sweatshops. Or by anyone in sweatshops for that matter.