—Subvertising (subvert + advertising) refers to the use of satire and humor to spoof or parody ads in ways that call attention to their troubling underlying assumptions and messages.


Subvertising is a really fun and effective form of guerrilla activism because it encourages people to think and question what’s right in front of them.
Subvertising can range from sophisticated remakes of brand logos to rewriting ad copy to talking back to ad campaigns in creative ways. It can also happen anywhere, anytime.

Check out this collection of examples.

When Protein World ran weight loss product ads in the London Underground with a bikini-clad model and the question “Are you Beach Body Ready?” women began posting spoofs of the ads online under #eachbodysready. Some snapped photos of women in bathing suits posed in front of the model, others added clever responses to the ad’s question, and some covered the model in creative ways.

Subvertizing, along with a petition to Protein World, resulted in successful removal of the ads.

Sometimes it’s as simple as calling out the absurdity of our national values and priorities.

Our sister org and blogging partner, Powered By Girl has a history of clever subvertising, also called culture jamming. Check out SPARK-it with PBG for a step-by-step guide to altering sexist media images!

Subvertising has played a big roll in SPARK Movement campaigns. You’ve Been SPARK’d is designed to call attention to the absurdity and limitations of stereotypes in toy stores and other places where sexism and sexualization reigns supreme. Simply grab some Post-its and a marker and head out to a local store or mall.

Find your inner satirist and have fun making the world a little less sexist, racist, and homophobic!

Need inspiration? Check out artist collective Brandalism and their subvertising projects, including the world’s first international collaborative campaign, and  discover tons of examples of subvertising on Tumblr.

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