START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

‘Generic Brand Video’ Hilariously Satirizes Modern Advertising

If you’ve watched some music videos from the ’90s, or checked out some album covers from the ’70s, you’ll notice that each of those time periods had a very strong visual aesthetic (most of us can point to a car or a pair of pants and say “70s”). The opposite is true today. If the early part of the 21st century is known for any aesthetic, I might call it The Mush; most of what we look at is a rehash, a rethink, or a rejigger of what we’ve seen before and there’s nothing particularly, well, particular about most of the design of the last 20 years. I can’t reliably place an advertisement from 2002 or 2013 (think about it; can you tell the difference between something that was made a movie, print ad, or TV commercial from, say, 1983 to 1994?)

You might be wondering why. I’ll posit that at least part of the problem is due to stock images, which arose because websites had a need for quick, inexpensive images for the deluge of websites that came out of the flowering of the Internet. (Disclosure: MNN uses stock images often, though not always.) But now everyone uses stock images, and stock video, in all kinds of media including advertising. That’s because creating original content is expensive and time-consuming.

But using stock imagery also means that everything starts to look like everything else and that a stock image from 2004 is just fine in 2014. Looking to cut costs and up efficiency (which typically leads to mediocrity, and does in this case too), advertisers and media have been using and reusing the same stuff over and over again.

At the same time as we have had a dearth of original and dynamic images, a whole lot more brand advertising has been going on, wherein companies large and small don’t really try to sell us anything in their ad, they just hope to get us to like their company more. They do this by touting some of the values that really, nobody can disagree about; that doing research is good, that protecting the environment is a priority, that employing people is important. Unsurprisingly, all this wishy-washiness becomes meaningless, which is exactly what the parody video below is getting at.

My favorite line? “Also, we care about the environment loosely.”


article by Starre Vartane

More from MNN

Why This Photographer Always Gets His Shot

When the Faces of Coal Aren’t Real People

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Life, Videos, Videos

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Kara, selected from Mother Nature Network

Mother Nature Network's mission is to help you improve your world. From covering the latest news on health, science, sustainable business practices and the latest trends in eco-friendly technology, strives to give you the accurate, unbiased information you need to improve your world locally, globally, and personally all in a distinctive thoughtful, straightforward, and fun style.


+ add your own
6:51PM PDT on Apr 3, 2014


3:26PM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

Made me smile and chuckle....loosely.

6:57AM PDT on Apr 2, 2014

ahaha damn i laughed XD thank you!

3:13AM PDT on Mar 31, 2014


3:43PM PDT on Mar 30, 2014


12:52PM PDT on Mar 30, 2014

Nice video.

8:32AM PDT on Mar 30, 2014

Thank you for sharing.

4:39AM PDT on Mar 30, 2014

Thank you :)

4:30AM PDT on Mar 30, 2014

Laughed out loud!

12:09AM PDT on Mar 30, 2014

My kind of cynic.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Thank you for the article.

Thank you for sharing Ed & Deb :)

Great article thanks for sharing


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!