Books / English

No Logo

I’ve just finished reading No Logo by Canadian Journalist, Naomi Klein. This book was published in 1999, a month after World Trade Organization Summit in Seattle at November 30 1999 being disturbed by rallies against Fair Trade. According to Fair Trade, the country members are able to participate on Free Trade without boundaries amongst members. In real life, this Free Trade doesn’t benefit its poor members. In No Logo (after november 1999 it became a manifesto for anti globalism) Naomi Klein describes negative influences of consumption dominated by strong brands worldwide. Multinationals such as Nike (bad publications in this book about Nike: cheap production costs, children labour etc..etc.. that bad that Nike itself came with a Press Release. Although Nike with its symbol Swoosh was a marketing hit in the 90-es) and Shell (which is, according to Klein, not really Environtmentally Friendly in the Niger Delta) are some examples Klein takes in this book.

It is extra interesting for me reading this book due to my lesson at school now, Branding. Theory I learned at school is: Branding must be adjusted in the consument’s way of life. Klein’s analysis is just the opposite. Due to strong branding of some multinationals we as consument live according to way of life proposed by these strong brands. This happens nowadays without we are reallly aware of this. In certain point I agree with Klein. There are too many strong brands in almost every corner in the world. When you’re on vacation in France with kids, you’d love to lunch in an idyllic bistro but on the way to this bistro, there is a big yellow M present at the side of the high way, strategically placed at children’s sight, bye bye idyllic bistro then!

Don’t want to spare you another approach of branding (or perhaps no approach at all). My sincere sorry to Dutch Starbuckers. I appreciate Dutch government’s decision which only allows two Starbucks cafés here in NL (1 at Schiphol airport and 1 at Nike’s Dutch headquarter nearby Amsterdam, only available for Nike’s employees). Otherwise, the charateristic small lanes downtown would be filled with Starbuck and its clones. This is funest for the city atmosphere!Although I’ve heard the rumours that this is a deal made between Douwe Egberts and Starbucks. My theory is: we as consument, want something we are familiar with anytime anywhere. Modern consument like us don’t like to be disappointed! So we choose for the well known formula instead of being adventurous. You do step inside a Zara or Mango just ‘to check out the collection hangs’ whereever you are. This makes clear why there are McDonalds, Starbucks and any other strong brands every where. Even at the malls or shopping boulevards, there are all same brands present, a bit boring though. You also have them in your hometown.

So, when travelling abroad, I step into a Burger King branch and I’m hearing French being spoken. At that time, I get that old feeling of being on vacation back! Yess, I’m in France and am about to enjoy my whopper!. Nevertheless, still it is hard for me to imagine a world without brands.

2 thoughts on “No Logo

  1. I’ve read No Logo a few years ago and I was very surprised to find out that -duh- those big, branded companies are not as nice as I thought they were, even for Body Shop who has been boasting its good will spirit against child labor and animal testing.

    But what really surprised me was the whole Starbucks thing – how cheap coffee could be sold at a whopping 150% of its original price and people actually bought into it just because it could up their image whenever they were holding a paper-cupped Starbucks coffee!!

    I wonder whether you have read Backlash by Susan Faludi? It talks about a different topic – feminism, but I thought you might be interested to read it too 😉

  2. Hi Therry,

    Yeah, The Body Shop has been a part of L’Oréal family since 2006. Anita Roddick was accused by the critics to have sold her soul to the enemy by selling The Body Shop to L’Oréal. And we all know that Nike has some plants nearby Tangerang, where the workers earn a low wage. Not to mention Ikea who’s been trying so hard now to prove that it is now against child labour.

    Totally agree with Starbucks. It is an ultimate example of strong branding though! Starbuckers pay more for the cup than for the content of it.

    I hate to notice this but those Environtmentally Friendly businesses are a hype and have become a marketing tool, especially for Giant Brands.

    Thanks for the info about Backlash by Susan Faludi. I salute you, you are able to read between the lines that I’m also a feminist! Actually I’ll write an article about Feminism in the Netherlands. Coming soon…

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