Advertising agency Whittington, Burgher + Leveque was founded by three soixante-huitards in 1974, in the aftermath of the failure of the European social revolution. Disappointed by the turn of history, the company’s founders nevertheless put their experiences to good use, courting controversy (and in the process getting great publicity!) by taking the Situationist slogans of the late 60s and using them, much as Malcolm McLaren did, to sell commodities to the public. The agency is now one of the largest in the world, with an annual turnover of €345 million. Some of their best-known and most successful ad campaigns will be oddly familiar to connoisseurs of the revolutionary left:
Be Realistic! Demand the Mission Impossible Soundtrack.
Viagra: Take Your Desires for Reality.
The Boss Needs You, You Don’t Need Him.
Bruce Springsteen on tour this autumn.
How Can One Drink Freely in the Shadow of a Chapel? Why, Buckfast, of course!
(J. Chandler & Co.)
The Prospect of Finding Pleasure Tomorrow Will Never Compensate for Today’s Boredom.
Buckingham Palace, open 1–5 p.m., Wed–Fri.
(House of Windsor Inc.)
In a Society That Has Abolished All Adventures, the Only Adventure Left Is to Abolish Luxury.
Read Less, Live More!
Your Super Soaraway Sun, Now Just 40p!
The Liberation of Humanity Will Be Total or It Will Be Not at All.
(Total S.A. Petroleum)
I Find My Orgasms Among the Paving Stones. Dispose of Your Condoms Responsibly.
All That is Sacred: There is the NME.
It is Forbidden to Forbid: Just Do It!
Neither God nor Master!
(Church of England plc)
A Cop Sleeps in Every One of Us: Keep It That Way with Night Nurse.
Let’s Be Cruel!
Poetry is in the Street: Smoke Pall Mall.
(R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.)
Arise, You Wretched of the University! Supermarket Sweep is Back!
The Bourgeoisie Has No Other Pleasure But to Biodegrade All Pleasures. What’s Your Carbon Footprint?
Under the Pavement, the Métro!
Live Without Dead Time: New Sky Plus Digital.
McAlpine Construction: Because the Hacienda Must Be Built.
Club 18–30: Cheap Holidays in Other People’s Misery.
Run, Comrade! The Old World is Behind You!
It’s Painful to Suffer the Bosses. It’s Even Stupider to Pick Them.
The Apprentice, weeknights on BBC 1.
(talkback Thames Productions)
All Power to the Imagination!
And of course
People Who Talk About Revolution and Class Struggle Without Referring Explicitly to Everyday Life, Without Understanding What is Subversive About Love and What is Positive in the Refusal of Constraints, Such People Have Coco Pops in Their Mouth.