17 August 2015
Political defiance and the importance of branding
18th of August 2015
I see my “Resistance” logo has been positively received and some suggested it to be made into bumper stickers…which I think is an excellent idea!
However the clenched fist symbol is not entirely my own design and dates back to ancient Assyria. This one comes from the Otpor! Logo in Serbia and since 2000 used by resistance movements all over the world in different forms. There is no patent on it and Canvas actually encourages its use for anyone who wants to get rid of a dictatorship. It can be easily cut out into a stencil and used for spray painting.
The actual drawing was a product of a man in love. Young designer Nenad "Duda" Petrović and
friend of Srdja Popovic, was asked by a girl to design a logo and to impress her he came up with the clenched fist which he copied from the Suruman the Wise character in Lord of the Rings holding his sceptre.
The guys at Otpor!/Canvas are all Lord of the Ring fans and as you know, J.R.R. Tolkien was born on 3 January 1892 in the Boer Republic of the Orange Free State when his father was British bank manager there. So the inspiration came a full circle from South Africa back to South Africa.
In his book, “Blueprint for Revolution”, Srdja Popovic mentions the importance of branding.
There is a reason why you buy and smoke Marlboros or drink Coca Cola. You associate the branding with something like, “It is the best cigarettes in the world” or “it is the best drink”. Maybe it is because of the coolness of the Marlboro man or the young spirited people in the Coke ads.
The ANC dictatorship has spin-doctors, propagandists, poster designers, etc and despite all their corruption, nepotism, mismanagement, social injustice, violence and fear, millions of people still go along with them. Why?
Because in a dictatorship there aren’t any other brands.
We want a brand that is better than that of the dictator. All brands require advertising, which relies on symbols. People unite around symbols. That is why people get so emotional about the Springbok emblem on the jersey being shoved sideways.
The clenched fist in Serbia, the roses in Georgia, the colour orange in the Ukraine, The colour yellow in the Philippines, Burma’s saffron revolution, are all examples of the uniting power of symbols.
Besides. Spreading our branding is a good starting point. It is something everyone, from school kids to the elderly can do.
You might not be able to get 30 people together, but with a stencil and a spray-can you can spray 300 clenched fists all over town in one night. Every time you take an elevator you slap a clenched fist sticker against the side. Behind the doors in the toilets at the pub or restuarant. It is branding. It is advertising.
It is something new, something hip and it looks cool and intelligent with the play on words. People see it and connect with it people want to be part of it.
Apart from the unifying effect it has on the people, it serves another important function.
Remember those pillars of support and overloading the system? Well, this creates another dilemma for the dictator. He is going to want to go around and wash it all off. If he does, he will look foolish, paranoid and scared. If he doesn’t, the amount of symbols will just grow. He can even try to ban the symbol, which will just make it worse, because nothing is more popular than something that is banned…They can also ban the flag, but they cannot ban the colours orange, white and blue!
So you have my FULL permission to use this symbol and its colours. Make as many bumper stickers out of it as you want. Sell it if you want. Just do it.
I want to see this clenched fist resistance symbol all over town, not just on bumpers. I want it everywhere where there are loads of people. I want it at the train stations, in the roads, against the highway fly-overs, sprayed in school and on university campusses, scratched in the sand on the beach, etched in metal with acid, packed out with stones and routed on wooden doors.
Burn it with a hot iron rod in leather. I don’t care if you write it with an airplane in the sky. Make it part of your Facebook page, on Twitter or Whatsapp it to everyone. Print your own labels, dish it out at Steve’s concert. Paint it on your face at the Rugby or on your ass and moon it. Spread it as far and wide as possible and once you have done it, I just have one request, post the pics on Facebook or send it to me and I will post it.
Then I have another request. All the graphic artists and Photoshop experts who can make the symbol more hipper or three dimensional looking can send us more pictures and symbols and we can post them up too.
So buy some cans of paint, make a stencil and go out there and have fun! And don’t forget to send in the pics ;-)