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Review: No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs by Naomi Klein

Since the 1980s, many economists and historians have claimed that the spread of capitalism is the reason for staggering improvements around the world. But if capitalism has done so much good, why are many people in America voicing resentment toward it today? In this book review, you’ll learn why.

Discover the history behind the rise of branding, how it infiltrates every inch of our lives, and the movements emerging around the world to fight it.


  • Want to know how corporate strategy has led to economic anxiety
  • Are interested in seeing through the ads that take up more and more of our space
  • Would like to know how to resist corporate power

No Logo takes a look at how the power of brands has grown since the 1980s, and how companies have emphasized their brand image rather than their actual products. No Logo shows how this strategy has affected employees in both the industrial and the non-developed world. No Logo also introduces the reader to the activists and campaigners who are leading the fight back against multinationals and their brands.

Book Review: No Logo - No Space, No Choice, No Jobs

A brand can succeed or die depending on whether or not it is considered cool. Companies therefore spend vast amounts every year trying to find out what is seen as cool and then incorporating this into their brand.

This fixation with coolness stems from the companies’ overreliance on the youth market to generate sales. In previous decades, baby-boomers drove the consumer economy, but during the recession of the early 1990s they began to seek cheaper alternatives to high-end brands. This forced brands to find new customers, and so they turned towards the growing teenage population.

To properly target teenagers, companies analyzed youth cultures and incorporated the traits that were considered cool into their brand images. Aspects of traditionally alternative subcultures in music and fashion, such as punk and grunge, were appropriated by brands. Even rebellious characteristics like ‘retro’ and ‘irony’ were turned into marketable commodities.

Consider for example hip-hop and Black culture. The break out of hip-hop artists in the 1980s led to the style becoming popular with young people throughout society. Brands such as Nike and Tommy Hilfiger were able to ingratiate themselves into the movement by sponsoring artists and sports stars and engaging in aggressive marketing that pushed their image to center stage. The strategy was so massively successful that brands now help to dictate the development of this subculture and directly influence which products are considered cool. Black culture and identity has been captured by the brands and transformed into a profit-generating phenomenon, and Black communities are forced to follow where the brands lead.

Brands are obsessed with appearing cool; therefore, they capture and mine youth subcultures for their ideas.


No Logo was published in 1999, but every word feels like it could’ve been written today. It documented how multinational corporations were decimating our economic landscape, and it predicted that the inevitable reaction would be a growing resentment toward the rich, globalism, and even capitalism itself.

In this book, the author also examines the resistance movements that were cropping up around the globe to fight against the insidious powers of those corporations, foreshadowing the emergence of now infamous protests like Occupy Wall Street. Today, we can see how that anger has affected people all over the political spectrum. The reaction against what some would call globalism has galvanized both the left and the right.

In No Logo, we learn the tactics corporations used to damage the economy of the world and how that damage caused massive economic anxiety. But this book also offers hope. Though globalism has allowed businesses to outsource jobs to other countries, it also connects the people affected by its practices, allowing Americans to fight hand in hand with the citizens of the world. It isn’t only multinational corporations that are making connections and reaping the benefits. Globalism connects the people of the world to each other, and it will take all of us to survive the new world that branding has created.

No Space

In the 1980s, corporations had an epiphany that would change our lives forever: The chief job of a company isn’t to produce products — it’s to produce brands.

In accordance with this shift, corporations started outsourcing the manufacturing process to other countries, while the company itself dedicated most of its resources to the goals of marketing and distribution. Corporations no longer make things and sell them. They buy things from other companies, brand them with a highly cultivated image, and sell them at a more expensive price.

Branding has been a cornerstone of American enterprise for over 100 years. Marketing first evolved in the 1880s when brand images started to appear on oatmeal boxes and Campbell’s soup. The face of Aunt Jemima, Dr. Brown, Uncle Ben, or any other human image transformed a generic good into something the consumer could forge an emotional relationship with.

Over time, the value of a product started to shift from the quality of the thing to the brand it was associated with. The most concrete example of this was in the 1980s, when Phillip Morris bought Kraft for $12.6 billion. That markup was six times what Kraft was actually worth as a company, but the difference was made up for by the intrinsic value of the name Kraft and all the emotional investment associated with the brand.

But as corporations continue their unstoppable shift toward marketing, our world slowly transforms into a completely branded landscape. And the public becomes more and more immune to it. When viruses are treated with antibiotics, they grow more resistant, and this leads us to use more and more antibiotics.

Companies treat the public like a virus growing in its immunity. Each year, they pump more into their marketing departments, trying to overcome the public’s resistance to ads — and they’re remarkably successful.

However, the dominance of branding wasn’t always so certain. April 2, 1995 was a day that marketers have nightmares about. It’s known as “Marlboro Friday.” On that day, Marlboro slashed its prices because they were growing increasingly concerned about competition from smaller brands that were making cheaper cigarettes. Until this point, people assumed that the Marlboro Man himself should justify a higher price for cigarettes, even if Marlboro cigarettes weren’t necessarily better than the cheaper brands. But if this wasn’t true, then what was the value of a brand?

The Marlboro company’s stock plummeted, and so did the stocks of other unrelated companies that relied on the power of their image to carry their prices. But the doubts about marketing didn’t last long. In fact, the smartest companies took it as a lesson. Starbucks, for instance, understood that the power of branding was very real — but it was different than everyone had assumed. Scott Bedbury, the CEO of Starbucks, was aware that consumers don’t really believe that there’s a vast difference between the products they buy. Instead, the job of a brand is to forge an emotional connection with its consumer. In other words, buying from a certain company should make you feel good about yourself.

This is how advertising became obsessed with grassroots social movements or positive cultural experiences. Associating a brand with something that makes us feel good increases the emotional goodwill we feel toward these products. Continuing that trend, brands started to offer other things to increase goodwill. For example, travel tips appeared on the Gap’s website. Additionally, companies became more interested in getting celebrities to endorse their products, gauging how beloved the person was in society, and reaping the benefits of the human connection they built with their audience.

Of course, baby boomers were less susceptible to the appeal of celebrities or sponsored concerts. Thus, companies learned that marketing was more effective with the younger generation, and this sparked advertising’s infatuation with the concept of “cool.” Taking this idea to the extreme, companies like Nike understood that the true forerunners of “cool culture” were young black men in urban areas.

They began marketing heavily in urban communities to implant their brands in these areas, knowing they would spread into the mainstream. When Run DMC released its single “My Adidas,” Adidas immediately started to pay the group for the promotion. To this day, getting your brand mentioned in a rap song is a gold-standard for marketers.

Ironically, sometimes the hippest trends in society originated from people explicitly reacting against marketing. This created an odd feedback-loop: Any ideas that anti-marketing culture used to attack a brand was then used as marketing by the brand itself.

No Choice

More and more of the physical space around us is owned by multinational companies, and what little space remains will soon be gobbled up. As more real estate and digital space is bought up, it’s becoming increasingly impossible to open your eyes without seeing a brand. In fact, even the air is branded — walk into Gap and smell the employees all scented with CK One.

The way these corporations’ muscle their way into our environments is exemplified by Walmart. These mega-stores are filled with outlandishly giant objects with low prices printed on huge cards. It’s easy to see how this mighty force drives out the smaller local retailers and relentlessly puts them out of business.

Then, there are deceptively smaller chains. Starbucks bills itself as a quiet little getaway. But even though its stores are small, its brand still relies on scale by peppering many of its charming little stores into the same area. Many cities are so saturated with Starbucks that the coffee giant is just as dominant as Walmart.

A brand’s greatest goal is to make a consumer feel an emotional connection to the brand’s meaning. This meaning is communicated primarily through art and stories. Companies that have no relevance to media suddenly want an outlet to tell their stories. Time Warner buys Turner Broadcasting, so it will promote its magazines and movies. ABC is bought by Disney, and suddenly, it’s airing Disney’s cartoons. This relentless attempt to control a brand’s meaning results in even more branded space.

Mergers and acquisitions continue to expand the global power of multinational companies in every arena, and with each buyout, consumers are left with fewer choices for where to spend their money. Some stores recognize that limiting choice may be appealing to people. Barnes & Noble realized this when it created superstores, which are themselves entire malls. With bathrooms, cafes, and many more things on offer besides books, Barnes & Noble went from being a bookstore to a place to spend an entire day.

Turning stores into living spaces has grown in popularity. Consider, for example, a trip on a Disney Cruise or a stay at Nike’s hotel Root’s Lodge. Instead of simply getting people to glance at a billboard, brands are ensuring that every moment you spend in these living spaces is a long commercial. You’re no longer glancing at billboards — you’re living in one.

No Jobs

If corporations become less about products and more about branding, what is happening on the production side? If Nike isn’t making its shoes in the US anymore, who is making them? And where are those US jobs going?

The transition from being a product-oriented company to a brand-oriented company looks like this: Spend all your money on distribution, retail channels, and marketing and leave the cumbersome factory management to other companies, whose ethics you have no responsibility for. Not only are manufacturing workers treated poorly because of a lack of local regulation, but when production itself is looked down upon, the producers are often treated like garbage.

The outsourcing of production jobs to areas with fewer work regulations is extremely cost-effective for corporations. Once Nike hollowed out its company by outsourcing all its production and focusing only on branding, other brands quickly followed suit. Adidas closed all but one of its factories in Germany and moved everything to Asia, and thus began the trend of outsourcing jobs to that continent.

But if making products is getting cheaper, why do products get more expensive each year? The added value comes from the perceived growing value of the brand.

Perhaps more importantly, if manufacturing jobs are disappearing in the West, what are people doing for a paycheck? Enter the “McJob.” These occupations are almost entirely in the service industry, like the juicer at Orange Julius or the greeter at Gap. These jobs typically don’t include benefits, so why do people take them?

How has society bought into this terrible model?

Corporations have actually “branded” these McJobs successfully to sell them to us. They pretend such jobs are for students looking for summer jobs or temporary positions for people transitioning between their “real” careers. Companies turn a blind eye to the idea that these people may be looking for a job for a serious reason, like a need to pay rent or save for their children to go to college. Instead, they bill these jobs as wonderful options for people who don’t actually need jobs. But in truth, they’re increasingly the only option for many people trying to put food on the table.

In some ways, leaving so many people with no choices has backfired on corporations by engendering a mass resentment toward a private sector that betrays society. Taking away Americans’ jobs is the chief reason there’s a disappearing middle class, and it’s the reason so many people are now increasingly hostile toward corporations, globalism, and capitalism.

If you deface a billboard by tearing the paper, rearranging the pictures in grotesque ways, and leaving the background torn to shreds, what you have left is not an ad but an image that encapsulates what that ad has done to society. You’re left with a grotesque, empty vision that looks like the grotesque and empty economy that the ad has created.

This defacement is exactly what many graffiti artists and other vandals are doing to stand up to branding. By defacing billboards, they believe they’re reappropriating a public space that was being defaced by a brand. Rodriguez de Gerade, one of the most skilled “culture jammers” who makes a practice of defacing ads, has talked his way out of being arrested by explaining his motivations to the police. He tells them how poor neighborhoods are bombarded by billboards advertising cigarettes and liquor, and the police let him go out of their shared grief and concern.

No one is sure where or how culture jamming began, but its popularity is undeniable. There are countless ad jammers working their local streets, and there are much higher-profile culture jams as well. For example, in 1997, the New York antitobacco lobby bought hundreds of taxi ads and filled them with images like “Virginia Slime” and “Cancer Country.”

As resentment toward the private sector grows, so does the demand for works of art that parody and humiliate the companies invading our world. But as ad-jamming becomes more popular, this version of anti-branding begins to take on a brand of its own. Adbusters, a culture jamming magazine, begins to look much like the brands it set out to parody. Corporations also work their insidious magic by exploiting the branding of the anti-branding movement. Yahoo launched its own ad-busting website, and clothes are sold in New York and London that target the rebels with shirts that change “Ford” to “Fucked” or “Goodyear” to “Good Beer.” After all, when the corporations’ brands spread in the underground, it’s still the corporation that wins — it’s free marketing.

The dark union between the corporate and the anti-corporate is encapsulated by the moment when the band who coined the term “culture jamming” was asked by Miller Genuine Draft to do the soundtrack for one of its commercials. The band turned down the offer, but the connection can’t be ignored. Corporations, in their never-ending quest for cool, will forever scour their critics for the next hip idea, and anti-branding movements will soon find their own ideas on the next billboard.

As ads keep invading public spaces, the movements against them continue to form unlikely connections. In England, just as marketers started aggressively coopting ideas from the rave scene, the Criminal Justice Act was enacted to make raves virtually illegal. This inspired the Club Scene to get together with other groups, like environmentalists and squatters, to form a rapidly growing political movement: Reclaim the Streets (RTS). Since its inception in 1995, RTS has been behind some of the most provocative culture-jamming projects in the world.

While some rebellions take a less-sophisticated and more direct approach, such as throwing pies in Bill Gates’ face, other organizations have sprung up to tackle the problem in political forms. Protests against “Frankenfoods” were held on Tesco’s doorstep and eventually got the company to disassociate itself from GMOs. Old and young tech-savvy protesters form groups to investigate corporations and call them out on their business practices. While equal outrage is dedicated toward protesting the unethical labor practices of outsourcing, like sweatshops, there’s still a vast amount of anger driving another attack: an assault on corporations that are transcending their roles as businesses and becoming ruling political bodies. As their budgets grow, so, too, does their influence on politics.

In the fight against the spreading power of corporations, anti-branding activists found an ironic super-weapon: the brands themselves. Because a company so effectively associates itself with its logo, activists discovered how easily they can attack an entire business by simply associating its logo with unethical practices. For example, activists used the media to relentlessly marry the Nike “Swoosh” to footage of its laborers in sweatshops. Similarly, McDonalds found its golden arches locked in a drawn-out libel case that wound up a PR disaster.

But corporations ultimately survive such attacks — perhaps improving their production stands marginally and milking any improvement for all the good PR they can. Thus, activists have come to a greater realization: Their work is not simply to be good activists but genuine citizens looking out for the network of the world. As protest groups around the world recognize their mutual connections and bond into a united movement, it becomes clear that their enemy isn’t globalism. Instead, globalism can be their greatest strength.

Brands must continuously grow and regenerate, otherwise they will die.

We spend our entire lives surrounded by brands. Our streets and public spaces are peppered with advertisements, our sporting events and heroes sponsored by brands, and even the clothes we wear are often covered by brand names and logos.

Brands are ubiquitous in our culture precisely because, to survive, they need to be constantly and aggressively advertised and marketed. They must constantly align themselves with changing demographics and new trends, such as the rise of alternative music in the early 1990s, otherwise customers become disinterested and the brands die. As one advertising executive stated, “Consumers are like roaches – you spray them and spray them and they get immune after a while.” Levi Strauss, once considered to be one of the coolest brands, failed to improve and update its image and marketing strategy and suffered an alarming slip in sales while its competitors moved forward.

Brands find themselves in this powerful yet precarious position because their success depends far more on the popularity and ‘coolness’ of their name than on their actual products.

Hence, to survive, a brand must be highly visible in every area of society. It has to connect to consumers in every sphere of life and on multiple levels, and it must continuously renew these connections. In schools and universities, for example, an increasing number of brands are not only sponsoring sports equipment, canteen spaces and the like; they are also getting involved in the curriculum itself. Brands sponsor research grants and even have their products appear as examples in exam questions.

Brands must continuously grow and regenerate, otherwise they will die.

The success of a brand depends very little on the actual product itself, and far more on brand identity.

In the late 1980s, it was widely thought that the era of the branded product was over. Price, rather than brand loyalty and image, seemed to be the method by which consumers were increasingly choosing their purchases. The 1990s, it was believed, would be the decade of ‘value,’ where consumers focused on economic rationale.

Instead, brands dominate today’s society in unprecedented ways. Far from shriveling into nothing, brands have, on the contrary, dramatically increased their power and prestige.

Behind this re-emergence and remarkable growth lies a crucial change in marketing and advertising. Rather than concentrate on their products, which could always be sold cheaper by competitors, companies sought to gain the advantage by pouring money into marketing, research, and cultivating their brand image. Today a brand’s success and possible market dominance depend on the ‘coolness’ of its name and logo rather than on what it actually sells.

The most successful brands are concept-driven and thus appeal to people on a more emotional and spiritual, rather than rational, level. Instead of being identified with a certain product, the brand aims to be known for a set of values it supposedly stands for.

Nike, for example, spends very little on the manufacturing of their products compared to the amount it ploughs into advertising, sponsorship deals and marketing. Rather than just selling shoes and sports equipment, it promotes itself as an enhancer of people’s lives through sports and healthy lifestyles. It has even positioned itself as an organization that empowers women and Black people, a concept far removed from merely selling sneakers.

The success of a brand depends very little on the actual product itself, and far more on brand identity.

Brands use aggressive tactics to expand their market share and crush competition.

There are very few towns in America that don’t have a Wal-Mart or Starbucks. In the past few decades, these incredibly successful firms have grown spectacularly quickly. In 1986, Starbucks had only a few cafes in Seattle; by 1999, they had over 1,900 stores across the globe.

The fantastic success of such brands largely stems from aggressive business models that allow them to capture huge swathes of the market and ruthlessly eradicate rivals. The business models of major brands almost always depend heavily on economies of scale but differ in their approaches to expansion, depending on their particular market.

For example, The Wal-Mart Model relies on two principles: price and size. Huge stores are built on cheap land on the outskirts of urban centers and filled to the brim with stock. The sheer volume of goods purchased forces suppliers to drastically lower their prices, and the products can then be sold to consumers for much less, forcing competitors out of business.

Clustering, the method favored by Starbucks, is when a brand swamps an area with clusters of its stores. The aim is to saturate the market to the extent that even the brand’s own stores take customers from each other. Huge companies can afford to take losses in some stores, whereas independents and smaller companies cannot.

The Branded Superstore is popular with high-end brands like Diesel and Tommy Hilfiger. Brands build huge flagship stores on prime locations in the centers of towns. These are part-store, part-theme-park and 100% advertisements for the brand. They often operate at a loss but provide celebrity exposure to the brand, hence entrenching it in the consumer’s mind.

Brands use aggressive tactics to expand their market share and crush competition.

Multinationals outsource their manufacturing to developing countries with devastating consequences for workers there.

Over the last few decades, many multinational companies have followed what is known as the ‘Nike Model’ of manufacture. Basically, in order to save on labor costs, firms have shut down their factories in Western countries and outsourced their manufacture to the less-developed world where labor is much cheaper.

The workers who make the products that were previously produced in Western factories are contractors rather than employees; hence, the multinationals have no responsibility for them.

Most of the outsourced manufacture takes place in ‘Export Processing Zones.’ These are specifically designated areas within less-developed countries where income and export taxes are suspended to encourage investment. However, to make the zones desirable, many domestic governments go even further by eliminating minimum wages, labor laws and union rights.

The employees who work in these zones, the majority of whom are young migrant women, find themselves in a kind of legal limbo. They are neither the responsibility of the corporations whose factories they work in, nor are they protected by standard domestic law. To minimize labor costs and maximize productivity, they must endure awful working conditions and accept ever smaller wages. Women in Mexico, for example, must prove they are menstruating and therefore not pregnant, because pregnancy will result in them having to take time off. Those who are found to be carrying a child or who refuse to be checked are sacked. Wages are always incredibly low, in some cases a mere $0.13 an hour.

Far from being beneficial to less developed nations, Export Processing Zones in fact facilitate the exploitation of workers.

Multinationals outsource their manufacturing to developing countries with devastating consequences for workers there.

The outsourcing of jobs has also had a negative impact on employees in the Western world.

Traditionally, a large multinational company would directly employ the vast majority of its workforce to manufacture the company’s products. The unionization of the company’s workforce enabled a large proportion of its employees to have relatively well-paid, full-time permanent jobs. Working conditions were good, and many employees and employers felt loyalty toward one another.

The policy of outsourcing changed all this in the 1980s. Multinationals realized that they could dramatically cut labor costs by employing overseas contractors to manufacture their goods instead of using the factories at home. As branding became more important than the products themselves, companies preferred to spend their money on advertising and marketing rather than on manufacturers.

As domestic factories began to close and manufacturing jobs shifted overseas, the very nature of Western economies changed dramatically: manufacturing jobs were replaced by a massively different type of employment in the service sector. These new service jobs, which became known as ‘McJobs,’ were far more likely to be part-time, non-contracted and poorly paid.

In many workplaces, union membership is discouraged, “trouble-makers” are fired, and work satisfaction is very low. Companies prefer to hire young employees as they are generally cheaper and less likely to make demands regarding working conditions and labor laws. Costs are kept even lower by contracting staff through ‘temp’ agencies rather than employing them directly, hence depriving the workers of many employer benefits.

This has led to a workforce which is deeply cynical and which neither feels loyalty toward employers, nor expects any in return.

The outsourcing of jobs has also had a negative impact on employees in the Western world.

The increasing dominance of certain brands will lead to limitations in consumer choices.

In 1994, the film production company Viacom purchased Paramount Pictures and Blockbuster Video. This gave Viacom an enormous advantage because it could profit when its films played in Paramount cinemas and also afterwards when they came out on video.

This is known as synergy, where corporations come together to complete a branded loop comprising a range of interconnected brands. From mergers and takeovers to cross-marketing initiatives such as McDonald’s handing out Disney toys with meals, synergy pushes brands into new media and markets.

As brands attempt to push their ubiquity further and further through synergy and aggressive expansion policies, the consumer could be faced with a shrinking range of choices.

This is because firms that have a dominant position in their market, such as Wal-Mart, can impose their own form of corporate censorship. Wal-Mart, which plays heavily on its family image, can and does refuse to stock music and magazines that could upset a family audience. Wal-Mart can even force artists to comply. Even the immensely popular band Nirvana was forced to alter their songs and artwork to appease Wal-Mart.

A brand’s obsession with protecting its image means it also seeks to control every aspect of its marketing. When sponsoring events or advertising in magazines, it seeks to regulate the other content adjacent to its own.

Through its takeovers, Viacom now has an enormous amount of power. It can control, to its own advantage, which films play in the cinema and which films are prominently displayed in its video stores. It can also severely limit the exposure of other producers’ films, giving itself a near-monopoly status and leaving the customer with a narrower selection.

The increasing dominance of certain brands will lead to limitations in consumer choices.

In expanding their power and profits, brands have inadvertently made themselves the main targets for activists.

Brands can often find themselves the targets of activist campaigns protesting, for example, their use of sweatshops, unecological practices or unethical advertising.

Certain activist groups attach themselves like leeches to a brand and follow their practices across the globe, bringing the brand’s actions to wider public attention.

In the past, activists largely considered companies as neutral entities caught up in wider political conflicts, but now they are increasingly seen as the direct cause for suffering across the globe. Brands have overtaken governments as the main focus for criticism, mostly due to their increased dominance of our cultural, political and economic lives since the 1980s.

The enormous economic power that multinationals possess through their brands has led to them gaining increased political power, too. Huge corporations are increasingly becoming the major political entities in the world, influencing and even controlling national governments. Multinationals, however, possess this enormous amount of power without being constrained by the legal and electoral framework that controls and oversees governments. Activists campaign because they feel that these corporations must be held to account.

As brands have grown in influence, they have become an increasingly prominent part of our everyday lives – in many ways, they are the dominant iconography of our times. We tend to think of our lives in branded terms and are increasingly likely to form emotional attachments to certain brands. This means that when brands are accused of malpractice or unethical behavior, we are more likely to feel emotionally responsible ourselves and more likely to speak out against them.

In expanding their power and profits, brands have inadvertently made themselves the main targets for activists.

Targeting and subverting a specific brand can be an effective method for criticizing a multinational.

Brands wield a tremendous amount of cultural power in modern society. They battle for our economic and cultural attention in many areas of society and continuously push themselves into new spheres of our lives.

Due to this constant brainwashing, brand names and their logos have burned themselves onto our consciousness. Certain brands and their images, slogans and logos are known by almost everyone. Yet, for companies, there is also a negative side to this cultural ubiquity.

Brands can be subverted and their popularity and omnipresence used against them to frame criticisms of the multinationals. Activist campaigns can be made relevant to people by attaching them to a well-known brand, severely damaging its image.

The many campaigns against Western multinationals’ use of sweatshops – the very cheap, unregulated labor in the Third World – have been given an extra kick by tying the campaigns to brands. Taking a branded piece of clothing and highlighting the conditions of the workers who made it can provide a relevance to Western consumers who can then boycott that brand until they improve their practices.

Another way in which brand identities can be subverted is through so-called culture jamming, where activists use a brand’s own dominance of public space against them. Culture jammers will often use a spray can and a stencil to subtly change advertisements and other branded images to represent another point of view. Slogans can be rewritten and images touched up to provide a subverted meaning. For example, Nike’s slogan ‘Just do it’ could become ‘Justice, do it Nike’ or ‘Just don’t do it.’

Targeting and subverting a specific brand can be an effective method for criticizing a multinational.


The key message in this book:

Since the 1980s, the power and influence of brands has grown massively. Brand image and identity, as well as brand promotion through advertising and marketing, has taken over as the driving force behind a company’s power. This policy has given brands unprecedented power, and activists have realised that the best way to improve the global economic system is to target brands directly.

The questions this book answered:

In this summary of No Logo by Naomi Klein, why have brands become so powerful and dominant in our economy and our culture?

  • Brands are obsessed with appearing cool; therefore, they capture and mine youth subcultures for their ideas.
  • Brands must continuously grow and regenerate, otherwise they will die.
  • The success of a brand depends very little on the actual product itself, and far more on brand identity.
  • Brands use aggressive tactics to expand their market share and crush competition.

What are the results of the triumph of marketing and image over manufacturing and products?

  • Multinationals outsource their manufacturing to developing countries with devastating consequences for workers there.
  • The outsourcing of jobs has also had a negative impact on employees in the Western world.
  • The increasing dominance of certain brands will lead to limitations in consumer choices.

Why and how do some people protest against the power of multinationals and their brands?

  • In expanding their power and profits, brands have inadvertently made themselves the main targets for activists.
  • Targeting and subverting a specific brand can be an effective method for criticizing a multinational.


Corporations discovered that branding was the future and that it would grow their wealth and power exponentially. So, they took advantage of this epiphany and continue to reap all the rewards. Perhaps their ability to do this speaks to a problem with the system itself. But in the end, we all live with the effects of this shift.

As the US becomes less and less a country that actually “makes things,” more citizens of the US get stuck in jobs that aren’t real careers. And more of the space around us gets invaded by marketing, to the point where we can’t open our eyes without seeing an ad. The negative effects of this are all around us.

Both liberals and conservatives are reacting in outrage at corporate dominance.

Despite their differences, reacting to the same problem may form a bridge that connects them. While marketing tears apart our economy and even the landscapes in which we live, the problem of marketing can also bring us together as people. If we take advantage of that connection, perhaps we’ll realize what it takes for us to survive and thrive in a 21st century that’s starting to look more and more like one big billboard.

About the author

Naomi Klein is a social activist who has written about and made films addressing capitalism, environmentalism, and the effects of neoliberalism on the world. Her books include This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate and The Shock Doctrine. She appeared as a top influential thinker in polls put together by Prospect Magazine, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute, and Maclean’s 2014 Power List. Her most recent work is The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists.

Naomi Klein is an award-winning Canadian author and journalist who has written for various publications including the New Statesman, The New York Times and Newsweek International. Along with No Logo, which was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Klein also wrote The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

NAOMI KLEIN is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the New York Times and #1 international bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, which has been translated into over 30 languages. Her first book, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, was also an international bestseller, translated into over 25 languages with more than a million copies in print. The New York Times called it “a movement bible” and TIME magazine selected it as a Top 100 Non-Fiction book (since 1923). Klein is a contributing editor for Harper’s and reporter for Rolling Stone, and writes a syndicated column for The Nation and the Guardian. She is a member of the board of directors for, a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics.


Political Ideologies, Economics, Politics, Business, Sociology, History, Society, Cultural, Design, Philosophy, Branding, International and Foreign Business Enterprises, International Management, Politics and Social Sciences, Practical Politics, Economic Conditions, Media Studies

Table of Contents

No Logo at Ten
Introduction: A Web of Brands

No Space
One: New Branded World
Two: The Brand Expands: How the logo Grabbed Center Stage
Three: Alt. Everything: The Youth Market and the Marketing of Cool
Four: The Branding of Learning: Ads in Schools and Universities
Five: Patriarchy Gets Funky: The Triumph of Identity Marketing

No Choice
Six: Brand Bombing: Franchises in the Age of the Superbrand
Seven: Mergers and Synergy: The Creation of Commercial Utopias
Eight: Corporate Censorship: Barricading the Branded Village

No Jobs
Nine: The Discarded Factory: Degraded Production in the Age of the Superbrand
Ten: Threats and Temps: From Working for Nothing to “Free Agent Nation”
Eleven: Breeding Disloyalty: Wha Goes Around, Comes Around

No Logo
Twelve: Culture Jamming: Ads Under Attack
Thirteen: Reclaim the Streets
Fourteen: Bad Mood Rising: The New Anti-Corporate Activism
Fifteen: The Brand Boomerang: The Tactics of Brand-Based Campaigns
Sixteen: A Tales of Three Logos: The Swoosh, the Shell and the Arches
Seventeen: Local Foreign Policy: Students and Communities Join the Fray
Eighteen: Beyond the Brand: The Limits of Brand-Based Politics

Conclusion: Consumerism Versus Citizenship: The Fight for the Global Common
Afterword: Two Years on the Streets: Moving Through the Symbols
Reading List
Photo Credit


Stay tuned for book review…

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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