The advertising industry is insidious. A massive US$464 billion was estimated to have been spent globally on commercial advertising in 2011. Next year it is tipped to grow by another US$22 billion despite the ongoing economic crisis in Europe and the US.
Advertising is an industry built on constantly lying to the people, in order to sell us junk we generally don't need. Advertisers like to make us feel ugly, fat, or otherwise unfulfilled. Unless, of course, we purchase their product. Whether it's McDonald's or Mitsubishi, the message is that it will instantaneously fill this manufactured void in our lives.
But advertising stooped to a new low with the "We Want CSG" ads, created by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA). In the face of a broad, growing movement demanding our water, environment and health come before CSG and fracking, the ads present a glossy and utterly false picture of coal seam gas (CSG), as was recently exposed in Green Left Weekly.
When a Stop CSG Sydney campaigner complained to the Advertising Standards Board about the misleading nature of the CSG ads, she was told that since the advertising was "political" it didn't need to be truthful nor accurate.
So our society gives the OK for mass marketed lies — as long as you have the millions of dollars to push them.
Infuriated with these ads, I decided it was time for some "adbusting" — improving the ads by adding in some truths about CSG mining.
The result was the "We want CSG? Adbusted!" video. It hit a nerve. Just like me, many people were angered by these ads, and the "adbusted" version was sent around many stop CSG and environment networks, was passed on through Facebook and Twitter, within days had been viewed by thousands of people on the Green Left website and on YouTube. If you haven't seen it, check it out and forward it on widely to counter the industry's lies.
The experience showed not only is there a thirst for the facts about CSG, but also that people will rally around alternatives, and be part of fighting back against the corporate assaults on the truth.
GLW is such an alternative and it fights this battle on a weekly basis. We don't have the CSG industry's millions for our message — we only have our grassroots support.
We need all of you to help with this battle. You can contribute by picking up a pen or a computer to write real journalism, rather than leaving it to the corporate media. You can grab a camera and help capture images of struggle for a better world, and send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can even grab a video camera and help us create internet TV that tells the 99%'s side of the story, rather than the 1%'s. And you can help us get GLW into more hands — passing on your issue, getting a subscription or buying a subscription for a friend.
And you can help us fight this battle by donating online today to the Green Left Fighting Fund. Our objective is to raise $250,000 by the end of this year. So far our supporters have raised $25,392 - just over one tenth of this target.
Direct deposits can be made to Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 00901992. Otherwise, you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007 or donate on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia).
Read more of Green Left's extensive coverage of coal seam gas mining and the campaign against it.