Culture Jam: The Uncooling of America by Kalle Lasn, published by Eagle Brook ISBN0688156568

When anti-capitalist demonstrators blocked the streets of London on 1 May this year, their targets were the very visible symbols of capitalism, notably McDonald's.

But last year's far more violent demonstrations had spread across the City and had taken in a number of the big law firms. They may well have just been caught in the crossfire of frustration and aggression targeted at the banks but they may also have been targets themselves.

These were, after all, the firms that facilitated the takeovers and the mergers which fuelled the expansion of the form of capitalism the demonstrators believed dehumanised society.

Such blockades are easily dealt with. A few mounted police, the odd baton charge and a water cannon in the background and the roads are clear.

A far more powerful movement, however, is blocking the communication channels and systematically targeting the big corporations. Kalle Lasn, the founder of Adbusters magazine and its attendant website ( is one of those leading a revolution that at the moment is targeting Coca-Cola, Nike and Philip Morris, but may well extend to the network of businesses that keeps those companies running.

Lasn recounts how corporations have attained and held onto power in the US since they achieved the invulnerable status of a "natural person" under the constitution in the 19th century. From there he shows how, through marketing, they have retained that power.

This book is a polemic against a certain breed of corporation and marketing. It is well argued, deftly told and deeply disturbing.

But it is when Lasn goes on to show how dedicated "culture jammers" have and can go on taking apart the cool image the corporations create, the mythical status they enjoy and the powerful hold they have over mainstream media and, by extension, US culture, that this book becomes interesting to anyone whose job it is to market.

Here is marketing turned on its head. The culture jammers create anti-adverts on TV and in print that take the corporations' own image, slogans and ideas and spin them back at them.

They skilfully 'uncool' the spectacle of invincibility and inevitability that the global giants have created around their brands.

Here is a well-organised revolution using the techniques of marketing against the marketers.

There are two reasons to read this book. First, if you are looking for innovative marketing techniques and tactics, Lasn has more than your average marketing handbook (viral or otherwise).

And second, when the jammers turn their attention on you, at least you will know what to expect.