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For a pair of Nike trainers to be worth $179.99 requires 465000 workers in 107 factories across Vietnam, China and Indonesia to produce the exact same standard. But it also requires the consumer to believe that the Nike swoosh makes these chunks of plastic, rubber and foam worth seven times the average US hourly wage. Nike spends $2.7 billion a year on getting us to believe just that (compared to $13 billion actually making the shoes and clothing) – and that marketing budget buys way more than advertisements at the Superbowl.

In fact since Nike got its head around the rules of cognitive capitalism in the early 2000s, its spending on TV and press adverts has fallen by 40 percent. Instead, the focus is on digital products: Nike for example, which uses an iPod to log runners performances, has recorded – and fed back to Nike – 150 million individual jogging session since the launch of the product in 2006. Like all businesses, Nike is in the process of becoming, effectively, ‘information plus things.’

This is what the cognitive capital theorists mean by the ‘socialized factory.’ We are no longer a world of clearly delineated production and consumption, but one in which ideas, behaviour and customer interactions with the brand are critical to generating profit; production and consumption are blurred.

— Paul Mason

[cherry_banner image=”4586″ title=”Adbusters #123″ url=”″ template=”issue.tmpl”]Manifesto for World Revolution Pt. VI[/cherry_banner]