The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

Guerrilla Gardening Good : Adidas Bad

Posted by keith on April 24th, 2009

This is a rather schizophrenic video, being — in the middle, main section — a pretty good film about Guerrilla Gardening, but bookended by commercial brainwashing. Given what I feel about corporations ramming their products home in the context of good stuff; and that Adidas have consistently been among the top three of corporations that direct, and thrive on, a fashion-drugged youth culture who are tragically lacking real insipiration to live real, free and good lives; I thought it would be interesting to do a breakdown of this video.

0′ 00″ Stylised city views at night with distinctly non-urban music; voice-over describing the situation
0′ 14″ “Adidas” logo appears — everything you see from now on will be associated with Adidas
0′ 20″ “Guerrilla Gardeners” logo appears — note that this has nothing to do with Richard Reynolds or the Guerrilla Gardening movement, it is a commercial. But Adidas clearly want you to think they are part of it.
0′ 37″ After a clearly scripted reconnaissance bit, seed bombs make an appearance. The implication is that they are a bit “naughty”, like hash — no bad thing given the target audience.
1′ 00″ After a build up, a meeting takes place, then the “hit” is planned in a fair bit of detail — generally sound stuff, although they seem to have an awful lot of money: trees don’t come cheap, especially as much of the planting is likely to be damaged and will need maintenance.
1′ 30″ Driving around, doing heisty stuff with a palm tree sticking out of the sunroof. It’s starting to grate a bit.
2′ 00″ The planting bit. I can’t really get over the scripting: “That manure stinks, man!” If the manure stinks then it’s too fresh and contains too much urea – tender plants will be damaged. Science bit over.
2′ 26″ Work complete, everyone happy. It’s very nice. Big smiles and breakfasts all round.
2′ 46″ Here it comes: “You look around the city, you think, ‘Why does everyone just accept it as it is?’ I reckon there’s all sorts of way of leaving your mark.”

The video ends, leaving quite a few people inspired to do some Guerrilla Gardening.

Oh no it doesn’t!

2′ 53″ “That’s what makes it yours.” Multiscreen globe spins, ending up on Adidas logo.

The video ends, leaving a small number of people inspired to do some Guerrilla Gardening, and plenty of people with a good feeling about Adidas.

Guerrilla Gardening, Just Do It!

(In your face, Adidas ;-) )

N.B: I know this video has been around for a while, but it’s only just been sent to me, and is still totting up views from people convinced it’s all for the good.

3 Responses to “Guerrilla Gardening Good : Adidas Bad”

  1. gswork Says:

    I wasn’t aware of ‘Guerrilla Gardening’ as such, though suspect that at times various very mainstream people have done it simply to improve the neighborhood etc.

    I’ve often passed a little island of land in urban or city areas and thought it a viable place for some hardy vegetables to grow!

    I wonder what difference would be made if every household grew a proportion, say 25%, of their annual vegetable consumption themselves through a mixture of back garden, allotment and ‘public space’ growing. Not just the difference in agriculture but in mindset. Of course it might just allow more farms to become urbanized but I could hope for more

    I’ve read the book by the way, impressive and interesting too*. Relating to this you wonder in one section whether growing your own food would be outlawed. Even if the premise that anything not part of ‘economic growth’ is threatened with being outlawed was true there would be no concern. seeds, compost, garden tools, greenhouses and all of that is big business and even if you managed it without visiting one garden center you wouldn’t be picked out

    *I’m giving myself time to think over it, some of the premises and analogies, some of the conclusions struck me as being worth scrutinizing. The afterword in particular creates what appears to be a dilemma that would be difficult for mankind to navigate through if what the rest of the book has as it’s premise is true.

  2. keith Says:

    Hi, I reckon it would make a massive difference both in economic terms (removing cashflow and reducing the grip of supermarkets on our lives) and how we behave with regards to other things. Probably most significantly would be the connections we would regain with the land. It is a bit of a Catch-22, because in order to reconnect you need to make a certain commitment to do so, which is unlikely if you are not connected. Even so, planting a few seeds in a pot and watching them grow is a little bit of magic (see that can’t help to enchant most people – however disconnected they are.

    Thanks for the book thoughts – please do take your time and allow things to sink in, some of what I have written is still sinking in to me and it is by no means my final word, which is why I still write The Earth Blog. The “growing” hypothetical question is related to a point that was removed from the printed version (for space reasons), but still in A Matter Of Scale:

    “I am not allowed to remove unbroken plates or perfectly good books from the dumpsters at my local recycling site: this is nothing to do with liability; it is everything to do with threatening economic growth.” Remember that in Cocobamba, Bolivia, the local authority made it illegal to collect water from roofs because it would reduce the profits of the (Bechtel subsidiary) privatised water company – this makes my premise a lot more feasible, unfortunately.



  3. The Modern Gardener Says:

    Totally with you on climate change and greenwashing, but I liked this ad and didn’t go running around eulogising Adidas after (but did talk to a lot of people about guerrilla gardening, which I think is brilliant).

    Bigger fish to fry on the agenda.

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