- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Flamingo; New Ed edition (15 Jan. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0006530400
- ISBN-13: 978-0006530404
- Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 3 x 20.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 409,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
No Logo Paperback – 15 Jan 2001
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We live in an era where image is nearly everything, where the proliferation of brand-name culture has created, to take one hyperbolic example from Naomi Klein's No Logo, "walking, talking, life-sized Tommy [Hilfiger] dolls, mummified in fully branded Tommy worlds". Brand identities are even flourishing online, she notes--and for some retailers, perhaps best of all online: "Liberated from the real-world burdens of stores and product manufacturing, these brands are free to soar, less as the disseminators of goods or services than as collective hallucinations".
In No Logo, Klein patiently demonstrates, step by step, how brands have become ubiquitous, not just in media and on the street but increasingly in the schools as well. The global companies claim to support diversity but their version of "corporate multiculturalism" is merely intended to create more buying options for consumers. When Klein talks about how easy it is for retailers like Wal-Mart and Blockbuster to "censor" the contents of videotapes and albums, she also considers the role corporate conglomeration plays in the process. How much would one expect Paramount Pictures, for example, to protest against Blockbuster's policies, given that they are both divisions of Viacom?
Klein also looks at the workers who keep these companies running, most of whom never share in any of the great rewards. The president of Borders, when asked whether the bookstore chain could pay its clerks a "living wage" wrote that "while the concept is romantically appealing, it ignores the practicalities and realities of our business environment". Those clerks should probably just be grateful they're not stuck in an Asian sweatshop, making pennies an hour to produce Nike sneakers or other must-have fashion items. Klein also discusses at some length the tactic of hiring "permatemps" who can do most of the work and receive few, if any, benefits like health care, paid vacations or stock options. While many workers are glad to be part of the "Free Agent Nation" observers note that, particularly in the high-tech industry, such policies make it increasingly difficult to organise workers and advocate for change.
But resistance is growing and the backlash against the brands has set in. Street-level education programmes have taught kids in the inner cities, for example, not only about Nike's abusive labour practices but about the astronomical mark-up in their prices. Boycotts have commenced: as one urban teen put it, "Nike, we made you. We can break you". But there's more to the revolution, as Klein optimistically recounts: "Ethical shareholders, culture jammers, street reclaimers, McUnion organisers, human-rights hacktivists, school-logo fighters and Internet corporate watchdogs are at the early stages of demanding a citizen-centred alternative to the international rule of the brands ... as global, and as capable of co-ordinated action, as the multinational corporations it seeks to subvert". No Logo is a comprehensive account of what the global economy has wrought and the actions taking place to thwart it. --Ron Hogan
‘A riveting, conscientious piece of journalism and a strident call to arms. Packed with enlightening statistics and extraordinary anecdotal evidence, “No Logo” is fluent, undogmatically alive to its contradictions and omissions and positively seethes with intelligent anger.’ Sam Leith, Observer
‘A fascinating ride through the history of marketing…Klein brilliantly humanises “No Logo” with fascinating personal stories, her voice firm but never preachy, her argument detailed but never obscure.’ Alex O’Connell, The Times
‘Naomi Klein brilliantly charts the protean nature of consumer capitalism, how it absorbs radical challenges to its dominance and turns them into consumer products.’ Madeleine Bunting, Guardian
‘If the world really is just one big global village, then the logo is its common language understood by – if not accessible to – everyone. In “No Logo”, Klein undertakes an arduous journey to the centre of a post-national planet. Starting with the brand’s birth, as a means of bringing soul to mass marketing, she follows in the logo’s wake and notes its increasing capacity for making the product subservient – a strategy reaching its apotheosis in brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, who actually produces nothing but lends his signature to a wardrobe of clothing statements made elsewhere. Beyond this she reaches her core argument – the now uneasy struggle between corporate power and anti-corporate activism – via sweatshop labour, submerged identity and subversive action. Part sociological thesis, part design history, “No Logo”’s message is entirely engrossing and emphatic.’ GQSee all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
In terms of these corporations and global companies, Klein unapologetically explores the very darkest depths of their capitalist mentality. She names and shames several huge brands, including Nike, Nestle, Disney, Microsoft, Wal-mart, McDonalds and Gap, and frequently refers back to these examples to illustrate her points in a recognisable context.
Another of her tactics, well-used to provoke reaction throughout the book, is to provide the reader with detailed case studies, and accompanying analysis, of some of the more heinous scandals linked to various companies over the years. From strikes by humiliated teenage workers at McDonalds to compulsory pregnancy testing and the sacking of pregnant workers in poor factories, this is really explicit and shocking material. One example that will never leave my mind is that of the death of many young female workers, mostly teenagers, in a poor foreign garment sweatshop. The girls were locked into the factory all day, with no comforts and no safety measures in place. When a bundle of flammable material caught fire, the whole factory went up. The workers had no escape route and died, some in the fire itself and some, tragically, by throwing themselves from the windows to avoid being slowly burned alive.Read more ›
In No Logo, Klein makes three claims about brands. First, she claims that brands are coming to dominate our culture, pushing out the local, the individual, the artisitic and the authentic. Second, she claims that the corporations behind brands achieve their success by a combination of brand censorship, appalling human resources behaviour, and intimidating their opponents. Finally, she celebrates the rise of an anti-logo movement which was (back in 1999) poised to turn culture around so that brands would no longer be the dominant forces they were.
Klein's style of arguing is to pound the reader with enormous quantities of anecdote, generally drawn from popularly reported press stories, supported with the occasional statistic. As a journalist she knows her craft well, and never fights shy of making the maximum use of pejorative language to weave a subtle air of disreputability around her targets, even when the anecdote does not really support the attack. Ultimately, I suspect most readers will lose patience with the book long before they reach the confident final third which outlines and predicts the rage against brands -- and which more or less fizzled out as a social force in the early 2000s.
I have three problems with this book.
First, it comes across as rather poorly researched. In the new introduction Klein repeats the common Thatcher misattribution 'there's no such thing as society'. We all know the phrase, but in fact Thatcher never said it (though she may well have thought it).Read more ›
This book encompasses many themes and for me it offers a modern take on issues of censorship and inequalities of sex, race and class. I was amazed at how many areas of our lives brand-building infiltrates and attempts to control. The strategies used by global companies are fascinating and it is unnerving to recognise yourself as the subject of sophisticated manipulation.
Klein's is not a balanced approach, but then she clearly sees no room for excuses in this moral manifesto. It makes for an engaging read as you can really sense her passion and anger. Stylistically the book owes more to quality journalism than dry academia. The No Logo website is worth a look too!
The chapters dealing with the marketing of brands to young people within schools and universities were particularly interesting-things have changed since my day. I was fascinated by what makes a brand "cool" and how corporations have acquired and then exploited knowledge about us all to create demand for products. I discovered that my belief that I take no notice of advertising is almost certainly wrong-I see so many messages during a day that some of them are bound to stick and then pop up the next time I need to buy a pair of trainers.
The strongest chapters relate to the treatment of workers in sweatshops in various parts of the world. I knew that such operations existed but I had not appreciated the extent of their reach. This book proved to me that I have bought goods manufactured by someone who is living on payment well below minimum wage, working long hours, often in unsafe conditions. That has made me stop to think about what I will buy and from where in future.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The best book i've ever read. Everything you need to know about branding is in here.Published 7 months ago by dimispapa
This book made me hate brands. Why am I posting this review on Amazon of all places, I'm bout to go off the grid, catch me stealing electricity and foraging in your bins.Published 9 months ago by Prajay Ghaghda
Wordy. Long winded and not very useful for my studies at MBA level.Published 9 months ago by Word Soup
No Logo is a strange portmanteau of a book. It is really four short books compressed into one:
No Space – How major brands have extended their influence over our lives using... Read more
More wear than expected, but the contents are still intact. Good buy. Very quick delivery :-)Published 15 months ago by Tsiv
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