Saturday, 19 July 2014

a manifesto for manifestos

The Campaign article in full:
How to write a Brand Manifesto
by Phil Teer, Brothers and Sisters
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 movements.
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 rabble-rousing Futurists.
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 inspiration.
15.  Download The Manifesto Project at

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Rearview Mirror

"We look at the present through a rearview mirror. We march backwards into the future."

Marshall McLuhan

Reading this:

The guy who saw the internet and the impact of digital networks from a long way off, coined the phrases The Medium is the Message and The Global Village, hated the modern world.

He did nail a great point though, we invent the future by looking at the past.

Friday, 25 April 2014

being and event

“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.”

Alan Badiou interview in the Guardian

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Kids don't belong in factories

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.

There's an article here

Buy the clothes here.  20% of all sales will go to Raising for Rana, which supports victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

poem #6

Swerving and pivoting
She’s moving at speed through crowds
Always on her toes
Spinning around
Barely touching the ground
She’s moving at speed through crowds
I follow her coat
Past North Face jackets
And Superdry hoodies
A porridge of black, grey and brown
She’s moving at speed through crowds
Skipping around bugaboos
Beggars and buskers
And miniature schnauzers
She’s moving at speed through crowds
Kebab shops, charity shops
Pay day loan shops
Turn your treasure into wonga
She’s moving at speed through crowds
Locals and Metros
Top Shop and Primark
The whiff of the sweatshop
She’s moving at speed through crowds
Pubs, pubs, pubs
Bars and offies
A hangover on every corner
She’s moving at speed through crowds
Salons for people, salons for dogs
Nero, Costa, Starbuck
And a lighting shop that’s always closing down
She’s moving at speed through crowds
She swerves and veers and careers
Past EDL fascists and their pointless marches
She’s moving at speed through crowds
“’scuse me love, can you spare some cash?”
“Big Issue?”
“You look nice, got a minute, it’s for charity?”
She’s moving at speed through crowds
Dipping a shoulder
Spinning on a bollard
Almost flattening a texter
She’s moving at speed through crowds
She plays a cyclist like a matador
Toro ole
And darts between buses
She’s moving at speed through crowds
She plunges deep into the North Laine
Turns into a Twitten
And she’s out of the crowd and gone again