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Adbusters Media Foundation is a Canadian nonprofit media group founded by Kalle Lasn and Bill Schmalz in 1989,. It self-describes as a “global network of artists, writers, musicians, designers, poets, philosophers and punks trying to pull off a radical transformation of the current world order,” Their influence over the past two decades has been profound –you’ve probably seen their work even not knowing it was theirs. In a world saturated by consumerism, advertising and political messaging, their work stands out as at once subtle, powerful and necessary.

Adbusters takes a multi-tiered approach to spreading its ideas. The group publishes a high-quality, full-color magazine that is often a launching pad for campaigns. Through the creation of memes and “mind bombs,” Adbusters inspired and popularized international protests like Buy Nothing Day and Digital Detox Week. Adbusters is also credited with starting the Occupy Wall Street meme—thus starting a movement that changed the way people around the world talk about class and wealth. (note that they do not take credit for the success or events of Occupy Wall Street after they launched the meme).

Adbusters has been an early adopter in using social media and digital tools such as memes to spread its message. It mobilizes its large “culture jammers network” by sending out calls to action over e-mail and on its Twitter and Facebook feeds, with the intent of countering the message saturation orchestrated by corporate and commercial forces.

Cofounder Kalle Lasn says that Adbusters is a network for “young activists who feel like we do: that the future doesn’t compute.”

We had an opportunity to speak with Kalle Lasn about ‘culture-jamming’ and political resistance on our podcast, Social Design Insights. Listen to the episode below.

50 | How to Mobilize a Billion People


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our theme music for 2017 is "Sorry" by Comfort Fit. The break music is "The Wall Street Shuffle" by 10cc from their album "Sheet Music."