Clothiers like Lacoste have been embroidering their status markers on their wares for decades. But in the modern consumer era, that old-school bling pales in comparison to the nearly imperial power corporations now exercise over the lives of the masses. Before HBO’s ‘Mad Men’ ever dramatized the mid-20th century, when industrialists sped up the sale of self-images to the pace of products themselves, Noami Klein’s book and documentary ‘No Logo’ turned a mirror on consumerism.
In recent history, corporations have co-opted the most precious human ideals – “revolution, human rights, democracy“ – and even used Martin Luther King and Gandhi to sell computer hardware. Klein discussed brand nirvana as manifest in Celebration, Fla.: an entire town Disney operates, promising residents access to a bygone, relatively ad-free Main Street America, but a place where the entertainment monolith also managed to shut out all competition.