Occupy Wall Street: False Advertising Beware!

On September 17th, 2011, the first of several ‘Occupy Wall Street (O.W.S)” protests emerged to protest against economic inequality. O.W.S wanted a more fair economy that allowed more than 1% of the nations population to hold the majority of its money. To promote their protest and message they produced a series of ads to reach out and grab the public. However, the movement stopped its bigger protests and later moved onto smaller projects. As you can see, despite them getting their message out the movement fell though. This is due to the fact, that while they produced multiple ads- they rarely explain Occupy’s message.Occupy Wall Street’s ad’s fail to convey their message and often instead promote the downfall of the 1% and Wall Street rather than the personal success of the 99%.

One of O.W.S’s famous ads is the image of a woman dancing barefoot on the metal bull statue (a symbol for Wall Street in this and many other ads) as protesters in hoodies and gas masks emerge from a gas, some bearing weapons, and at the top the ad it asks- “what is our one demand?” If Occupy’s message is for economic equality, then what about this poster represents that? A ballerina atop a metal bull or the faceless, menacing group of people that look like they are about to riot shows absolutely nothing for equal benefits and for a reduction between the classes. O.W.S is clearly not showing what can be achieved by their want for economic equality, instead they demonstrate an unclear imagine that is supposed to excite people who are part of the 99%. The image is suppose to excite them because it shows something of a rebellion, presumably against the very wealthy and Wall Street itself, which is suppose to make the audience feel as though that they are part of this powerful movement. But because they make the crowd look like a massive riot and with an apparent disrespect of the bull statue by dancing barefoot on it- don’t show a change to a new and more equal world. Instead all it does is represent a massive rebellion or an ‘uprising’ for the downfall of the very wealthy. By them pursuing this, rather than some image of  the 99%s gaining better treatment and a more equalized economy they fail to show their message and instead promote the downfall of Wall Street and the very wealthy.

Another ad shows a minimalist image of a bull being tied and held down by rope with the tagline “the beginning is near” . The bull, as previously mentioned , is a symbol for Wall Street and with that the very wealthy, and the tying it down represents a literal downfall of them. By tying it down and pretending its like a wild animal, it dehumanizes residents of Wall Street and the wealthy and doesn’t reinforce any kind or equality desire. Instead it seems to scream ‘bring them down’ rather than to demand a fairer economic system and ,if anything, shows a progression more backwards than forwards. And while it says “the beginning is near” it doesn’t give the slightest indication upon what is near. If anything this can be more easily converted into a rodeo poster than an ad promoting economic equality. So, clearly Occupy is

promoting and glorifying a downfall for Wall Street and the Wealthier class than actually presenting facts, data or information about why they are doing it.

The third ad I shall be discussing is a cartoon that shows a mob tearing down a stature of the Monopoly man with its podium saying “Wall Street” and the caption being “Occupy Wall Street we are the 99 percent”.  Now by having a stature torn down it does, indisputably, show a want for a downfall. Instead of easily showing people of a poorer class being uplifted to seeing eye to eye with the statute, it is being brought down. So instead of progressing forward, the ad shows something akin to progressing backwards. Additionally, by having the ad represent Wall Street and the very wealthy as the Monopoly man is another act in dehumanizing them by presenting them as cartoonish characters rather than actual people. To further promote their downfall, one of the people in the crowd raises their hands in a celebratory fashion, telling the audience that this is a good thing. By doing that they promote tearing down statues of cartoon men rather than make an effort at trying to teach about the economic inequalities. So rather than to take the opportunity to promote a fairer economy Occupy instead produces ads that are meant to awaken people’s systematic prejudice against wealthier people. By doing this they lose their message to an almost entirely different idea.

Occupy Wall Street’s ad’s fail to convey their message and often instead promote the downfall of the 1% and Wall Street rather than the personal success of the 99%. Occupy wall street was a movement that seemingly came as quickly as it went. While it still technically goes on today, it is in a much less greater degree than it was almost three years ago. Part of which could have been the downfall for this was their advertising techniques into the general public. What they missed is something that Joseph Goebbels discussed in his speech saying that “It is not just the fantasy of a few people among the people, rather it becomes the idea of the rulers, the circles that have power. The view does not only preach, but it is carried out in practice. Then the idea becomes the worldview of the state.” What Goebbels means by that and how it relates to Occupy, is that propaganda must be an idea that people can see take power. However what Occupy missed with their ads was that the ad’s perceived idea was more in line with extremists then with average Americans who just want to have the same rights as those wealthier than them. It is interesting to note how much people systematically will, at first glance, perceive one idea presented to them but in actuality the same idea can mean something entirely different. It’s a fault in history and humanity, that has been repeated multiple times and Occupy was simply not an exception, and most definitely will not be the last to suffer from it.

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