No Logo: Brands, Globalization and Resistance

No Logo: Brands, Globalization and Resistance

2003, Media  -   38 Comments
Ratings: 7.07/10 from 56 users.

No Logo: Brands, Globalization & ResistanceIn the age of the brand, logos are everywhere. But why do some of the world's best-known brands find themselves on the wrong end of the spray paint can -- the targets of anti-corporate campaigns by activists and protesters?

No Logo, based on the best-selling book by Canadian journalist and activist Naomi Klein, reveals the reasons behind the backlash against the increasing economic and cultural reach of multinational companies. Analyzing how brands like Nike,The Gap, and Tommy Hilfiger became revered symbols worldwide, Klein argues that globalization is a process whereby corporations discovered that profits lay not in making products (outsourced to low-wage workers in developing countries), but in creating branded identities people adopt in their lifestyles.

Using hundreds of media examples, No Logo shows how the commercial takeover of public space, destruction of consumer choice, and replacement of real jobs with temporary work - the dynamics of corporate globalization - impact everyone, everywhere. It also draws attention to the democratic resistance arising globally to challenge the hegemony of brands. (Excerpt from

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9 years ago

It helped me. I read Shock Doctrine but not NoLogo. I was living in DC at the time she wrote NoLogo and the climbers there were oblivious. We talked about the environment, corruption some, and labor rights in term of wages which were starting to degrade... but I was pretty much alone in citing corporations as the root of most evil.

11 years ago

It could be argued that globalization has been around for centuries in one form or another, it is just more pronounced now. You are right Leche but is it Globalization that is at fault or man's greed, which has been around a lot longer than we could possibly go back? Globalization is an evolving process it is neither good nor is it evil, its effects which are a result of man's greed which is evil. If we can collectively tackle the 'increasing growth' ethos then may be we can tackle true evil. Ultimately everything we do is based around more for me and my own, this is true for most of us barring a very few individuals and hence it is normality. The person that works in the marketing company, or the oil company or the bank or the factory etc, is following this same more for me ethos. When more for me becomes normal practice and those that practice this normality are concentrated in one place at the same time every day for at least a third of their day then we get a company following the same code of "normal" practice, now imagine that same company is setting up shop in Asia, US and EU and the respective governments and organizations lift all obstacles for trade and other codes of practice good or bad, the result is a TNC, I grant you that this is a little simplistic but the question is are those people working for the TNC evil or are they just ill informed? As members of the human race we have to remember that we are conscious organisms and more importantly we have a choice. Some of us just have to see this, some of us need to remember it, while some of us need to learn it others just don't care and will follow what everyone else is doing but one thing is for sure we all need to learn more and more until we can't learn any more and use this knowledge to empower ourselves and our own.

11 years ago

She fails to say exactly why branding (or globalization...? Not sure what "evil" she is targeting here) is a bad thing. Globalization is not causing kids to sit inside instead of riding their bikes around. (about :20 in)You are just making that up!
I agree with having fair trade but don't blame advertising for ruining the quality of our products. This is just so pessimistic. If you want to change the quality of products, buy fair trade and the demand from those corporations will go up. (Yes fair trade sellers ARE corporations too! Which was described as evil in this documentary!) I could go on and on about this if I wanted to but my point is that good advertising won't bombard you with their messages. Instead of thinking of it as an evil thing, just have fun with it and loosen up! I work in advertising and trust me, we are just trying to have fun with our jobs!

12 years ago

does anyone else think it's really sad that googleads has some "fair trade" website ad when you come to this movie? it's kind of like fair trade and things like that are even commodities these days. What do we do Naomi Klein?

Bets Mcgee
12 years ago

Thank you some much for putting this up here, read the book years ago. Kind of depressing how little the world changes, Would it be possible to get one of newer doco's, the Shock Doctrine on TDF at some stage?

Polar Jo McKay
12 years ago

Very well done. (I don;t see many multi-nationals running scared just yet; the malls aren't empty, wal marts parking lot is still full) - but maybe they are starting to get nervous? Locally, our farmer's markets are growing by a third every year, and small businesses are just beginning to provide local and meaningful services again. (Do you remember a time when your appliances & electronics had 15 - 25 year warranties and there were repair people around - so you actually expected goods to last a while and got them repaired instead of thrown away? Heck I know people who have never re-sewn a button or a seam). So there are jobs again for people who are re-thinking what kind of communities we want to live in. The changes might look slow, but I know, a point once reached is a change revolution, and we are reaching that place... I'll share this with my friends & family, thanks so much :)

12 years ago

It seems that only profession of hermit deep inside the wild forest would save us from corporate world.

12 years ago

The problem with docs like this is they paint the corporations as owning and manipulating us. WE own THEM, and the fact that they do all this stuff just shows how desperate they are for our approval. As much as these companies wish they could, no one can make you buy anything.

12 years ago

The first five minutes nearly put me to sleep. Thank god for the fast forward function.

12 years ago

bill hicks was right!!

12 years ago

bad quality, essential messages.

A bit dated, though - a decade later, the only private space is virtualized.
Everybody has recreated themselves as their own brand. A minimalized self-brand.

12 years ago

we watch this as GOOGLE advertizes in the margins. LOL!

12 years ago

I recently took a cultural anthropology class where we discussed modern advertising, branding, and marketing along lines that are similar to this film, minus the conspiracy overtones. The interesting point that was discussed is that humans naturally WANT some sort of meaning attached to the items we own. Despite what this film tries to imply, advertising is not force; nobody MAKES you buy Nikes or Coca Cola over the strictly practical alternatives (and these alternatives can be found everywhere... "store brands" or "off-brands" or "generic" anything can be easily purchased). There is a reason so many people insist on some sort of fancy name on their jeans, and it has nothing to do with coercion.

Some of the issues she discusses are reasonable points, but I disagree with the narrator's alarmist tone. Does globalism lead to some new, tough issues for global labor markets? Yes, but on the other hand there is a reason that citizens of these 3rd-world countries line up to get into these crappy factories... the alternative is an even lower standard of living. Look at China as the prime example. Labor conditions there are terrible by US standards and have been for a long time. But wages are increasing and there was recently a wave of worker protests that ultimately resulted in concessions and incremental improvement in conditions. Compare the life of the average Joe in China in 1970 to 2010. Furthermore, the anti-globalist rhetoric that manufacturing will simply move elsewhere completely ignores the cost of building new factories and national infrastructure in the host nation. Despite what you might think you know, China's labor costs are NOT the absolute lowest in the world... there is a reason that places like Africa and India, who have millions of potential workers who would jump at the chance to undercut Chinese labor, don't even pose a remote threat to the PRC's manufacturing base: Infrastructure.

The rest of the world is going through what we did 50-125 years ago. For our grandparents and great-grandparents working in crappy factory jobs was the norm. Eventually, they were able to improve the conditions of their workplace and raise the general standard of living for the nation. Social prosperity without work (i.e. the economic production of goods of services of value to society) is a fairy tale. Our comfortable standard of living today is built on the sweat of our great-grandparents' work in crappy factories that were no better than what exists overseas today.

There is no magical way to take all the abysmally poor people in the 3rd world (who, incidentally, have no education or marketable skills) and raise their standard of living to that of the developed, top tier nations. The only way to do it is to find a way to give them all employment producing something that everyone else wants, and help them acquire new skills and education, etc. along the way.

13 years ago

@ Billy Threston: I understand what you mean when you say that branding and globalization is increasing the standard of life for people in China.

But the beast of globalization has three heads. The first head is the multi-national companies themselves who create and implement marketing and manufacturing strategies that take advantage of poor countries. The second head are organizations like WTO and IMF, who manipulate governments of third world countries into submission. These guys make the conditions easier for the multi-nationals to penetrate the consumer market of third world countries. When IMF lends money to poor countries, they make it impossible for the borrowing country to pay back the debt. They want the poor countries to remain poor. So the governments in those countries are desperate to make money. They have little or no choice when it comes to enforcing good working conditions and human rights of its own working people. Either that or the governments and politicians are bought out by IMF.

The third head of the beast is the consumers in the west. This is the biggest of the heads. I mean, we as humans in this day and age should have evolved smart enough to know the brainwashing of the brands. But sadly, people are idiots. In my circle of friends alone, almost everyone are zombie consumers. They don't think, they don't care...they don't bother to question where their products are coming from.

But coming to your point, Billy Threston....sometimes I wonder, is our life here THAT much more better? We're born into debt... we end up spending all our life working to pay the debt off. I was born in a third world country and came here to Canada at a young age. And sometimes I wish for a more laid back lifestyle... close to nature, away from branding bombardment and debt. Sure, I'll miss some perks of living in the west. And don't get me wrong, I don't take for granted the freedom I have here, and access and opportunities to pursuing one's desires and dreams.... but after a certain point, there's a limit to that freedom. How far IS ONE allowed to go to pursue one's true desires and dreams, here in the west? How FREE am I? If I don't agree with government and corporate policies that violate human rights and I voice my opinion, how long will it be before I get tear gassed?

Like the documentary said, globalization and democracy isn't evil... it's the methodology and current framework of the ones who are implementing it right now is what is evil. It's okay for the people of China to want better living standards. But we as global citizens should be able to choose how we get to true democracy. We don't have to stand for these greedy companies. For every country that benefits from this model of globalization, there is another country that is being sucked dry of its life. If China improves, that's because it is relying on another country being used. That's how the west was won.

13 years ago

naomi klein is a ledgend.

13 years ago

@Luke; Re; your question "was it designed that way and if so why?" The answer is yes. A very good book, written in the 70's, details how, and why. It goes back to early 1900's, mass production started it. When mass production created more goods than there was demand, the companies asked how can we sell these things? They went to psychologists. Sociology (which had not existed previously) was born. Study the group mind, learn how to manipulate it. Ta-da! Capitalism does not exist without 'consumers' and consumers are created by - yup - sociological theory and practice. The book is titled 'Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture' and it's well into its' 25th edition. Very fact based, it draws its facts from the trade publications of 1900s, the companies communicating openly with the psychologists regarding how to achieve such things as QUOTE "How to make the act of purchasing an item feel like a spiritual experience" /Quote. If you look around today, they've succeeded in ways they probably never even dreamed of back then. Check it out.

Billy Threston
13 years ago

Luke Wilson, I fully agree with your point that you will loose your identity and your individual freedom. This is what we are emphasizing in the western world where we are having a good living standard as well as money. But my point is that in the western culture we have also understood and experience what you were mention. What is interesting in the Chinese case and their development in the world, is that they see the economical freedom almost like a human right. In China people have not got the chance before to buy the brands that Noami is writing about. Therefore the consumption for the Chinese makes China develop. And when China develop the living standard will increase for the people. This will lead them obviously to a better future. Its maybe easy for us in the western world to talk about democracy but the fact is that when you dont have any money democracy mean nothing at all. Now the Chinese have more money and I dont blame them for making their wheel in the development continue by buying brands. Further, I dont mean that I dont support what this book are telling BUT in the Chinese case this is not really translatable. And this is what I find very interesting.

Luke Wilson
13 years ago

Billy Threston: I think it depends on what you mean by a better future. If what leads you to buy a certain brand is the illusion that you're buying into a certain lifestyle and identity then surely your welfare as a result of this is an illusion aswell?? I mean yes you're living standard will increase in that you have an extra material item but in return you will be losing something else which is untouchable and maybe even more valuable - your individual freedom. You start to become a slave to the brand, or dont you? - an effective brand would permeate its way into your psyche in such a way that you will start to seek your identity from the market place, you will have your individuality defined by someone in an advertising/marketing agency and depending on how effective this is you wouldnt even know you're in such a paradigm... tell me, does that constitute a better future?

13 years ago

To anyone who enjoyed this documentary then I would definitely recommend you get the book. It goes much deeper into the topics discussed in the doc.

Billy Threston
13 years ago

I definitely agree with both commentators and found this documentary very interesting. When people buy products they also buy a lifestyle and as well as an identity. It´s a sick world where consumption leads the way. Though, I would like to bring out a question if not only this thinking is based in a western perspective?

While Euro-American accounts often assume that advertising is nefarious because it contributes to over-consumption, the Chinese case highlights the broader political-economic context through which consumption is facilitated. According to the Western experience, the market economy cannot exist without democracy, but in the last two decades, the Chinese
government has managed to develop a market economy without
democracy, and Chinese society on the whole is stable. China’s unique historical and cultural background means that established Western paradigms are not fully applicable to the Chinese reality. Western attempts to turn the rest of the world into a market for its products can be put in relation to Chinese people that use their newly economical freedom for consumption, which are developing their country. If the Chinese stops to consume their livingstandard will not continue to rise. Therefore I would say that in China brands can also give people hope of a better future. Am I wrong?

Luke Wilson
13 years ago

Wow I have to agree with ArcticFox in that this documentary is one of the most important here. However, what this documentary shows is the desperate position of the citizen. You Cannot win! So what if you protest? No change will happen!! That is the ultimate message and I agree with it. The people in those boardrooms are way too clever for the likes of your average joe. These ppl have marketed there way into our pyschi's and changed everyone especially young people from the inside out so much so that people arent even aware as to what is happening... All I can ask after seeing this documentary is, is it all coincidental in that marketing became as pervasive as it is today or was it designed that way and if so why? Surely profit alone cannot explain it!

Infact this to me smells of conspiracy!! And as with any other conspiracy you have to ask, what is the end game? What is the ultimate goal? Is it as simple as afew people getting rich at the expense of everyone else? IS IT THAT SIMPLE!!!

13 years ago

The power of marketing shows through quite clearly here.
Probably one of the most important documentaries on here if we want to fix our decaying, sick world.

Illuminati who? Don't go looking for conspiracy theories the truth is all around you. And worse still you can't shut it off, or change the channel. Just look around your room right now and you will probably see just how powerful these "companies" are. Only way to get away is to close ALL your senses... even in your OWN room.

We have gone way too far and what little power you do have is your pocket money. Think about who you are giving it to when it leaves your hands. Mickey may be cute but who's that fat man with the cigar at Disney's headquarters? Who's sick family works the sweat shop? Just think beyond the product in front of you, do you really need it? And think what you are supporting and please vote with your money. Buy local that's all I have to say. When an earthquake hits, when disaster hits it's going to be your brother next door and neighbors looking out for each other. Not the government and not the corporations that own our governments.

Shame there isn't more discussion on this page here. Documentaries too benefit from advertising I suppose.