Once Upon A Wolvog

Stories from the front lines

Adverse Advertisements: Corporations and their Influence


We’ve all seen the advertisements, ranging from how you should look to what you should put in your body. I know this because advertisements like this assault our audio and visual senses constantly, especially when our college is dead center in downtown Montreal. Even in current society, the morality of advertisements is up to debate. Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood show us a horror show of possibility in advertisements, that we might be closer to than we realize.

In the first two novels, advertisements and the corporations behind them are a fundamental part of practically everything, whether it be education (HelthWyzer High), or police and security (CorpSeCorps). All day, a person raised in the compounds would be taught that the corporations were their friends, supporting them and giving them everything they need. Those in the pleeblands would see advertisements as promised salvation to their sufferings, hence part of why so many people decided to eat up Crake’s BlyssPluss pill, enriched with the deadly JUVE virus. Teaching people that corporations are their friends is certainly questionable, considering that corporations value profits and business, not people. Today, people can live much more independently from corporations, and make the choice of knowing that corporations see them as money, not people. But in The MaddAddam trilogy, this new level of corporate involvement doesn’t give that choice to children growing up in the corporate embrace.

As awful as a world with corporate indoctrination sounds, it’s not as far off as we’d hope. Most everywhere we shop is corporate, and local alternatives are quickly being bought up as another corporate profit opportunity. We see advertisements 24/7, and slowly but surely, they’re taking over many aspects of our lives. Locally, a rather distasteful change was made to Montreal’s concert hall, Metropolis. A location with a long and rich history is being rebranded as “M Telus”, to associate that brand name with everything Metropolis stood for: good times and music.WWL

Metropolis, Montreal concert hall on Sainte-Catherine E

          While we’re not quite at the MaddAdam level of corporate branding in every aspect of our lives, we are gradually getting to a point where corporations will have infiltrated as many parts of public life as possible to peddle their products onto us, to create dependence, and to guarantee profit.

Have you noticed any corporations trying to wrap their fingers around your favourite locations? Do you think we can prevent this level of involvement in every aspect of our lives? Agree or disagree? Leave a comment down below.

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Tags: Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, Corporations, Advertising, Influence, Metropolis, Margaret, Atwood


4 thoughts on “Adverse Advertisements: Corporations and their Influence

  1. First of all, oh my god, Metropolis is being renamed?! That’s genuinely upsetting, I go there for concerts all the time and I’m attached to the name and I’m never ever going to start calling it “M Telus”. In addition, I am also deeply suspicious of these corporations teaching people that they are their friends- I often see people reposting and applauding things from advertising campaigns with progressive values, and as much as I too want to see ideas I strongly agree with spread, I think it’s important that we realize that this doesn’t mean the corporation itself has “good values” and is trustworthy. The exact same corporation that promotes a certain image and lifestyle for their vegetarian products will turn around and promote the opposite image when advertising their non-vegetarian products. Ultimately, I am very glad that our world is marginally better than the Maddaddam trilogy, because I don’t know that I could deal with any more corporate branding than we already see.


  2. Such a good and relevant post! I do believe that this is a pressing issue because not long ago I lived this nightmare of false advertising myself. I wanted to buy John Mayer concert tickets so naturally I googled “Centre Bell Montreal”. The tickets did seem a bit pricier at the time but I was willing to pay that amount to see my favourite artist. I later found out that this was a website posing as the Bell Centre and that they had not only charged me three times the price of Evenko’s tickets but that I was also being charged in american dollars.

    I saw this as a good life lesson because now I am much more skeptical of online companies. I think that us young adults in this day and age are extremely targeted by ads and that this fact should make us all the more aware and cautious.


  3. You make a good point regarding advertisements and corporations. Their main strategy is definitely deception. These companies and their advertisements go through a rigorous process to boost the appearance of a “quality” product. Although, it a fast-paced society like ours, “speed” and “quantity” usually outweigh the creation of quality products.
    You also bring an interesting point of view regarding Corporations infiltrating all aspects of our everyday lives. For example, Facebook has acquired many social media platforms i.e. Instagram and Snapchat. Their outreach and access to our information through these applications are immense. As a young adult, I can without a doubt say that my usage of these applications are on a hourly occurrence.


  4. This is really ironic because I’ve been talking to my friends for weeks about this sort of thing. You asked us at one point: “Have you noticed any corporations trying to wrap their fingers around your favorite locations?” and I certainly have. I think most of us can agree that on a nice night when there isn’t a cloud or a rain drop in sight, Crescent St. between Maisonneuve and St. Catherine is one of the most beautiful blocks in downtown Montreal. There are lights all over the place but it’s not in anyway tacky, it’s almost warm and really represents class and prestige in my opinion. I know the owners of multiple businesses on that block and the way they carry themselves and the visions they have for their establishments are inspiring. There’s history there and it’s just a very classy part of town to go out when you have a little money to spend. And then they opened up a Hooters next to Thursdays with a big, obnoxious orange neon sign out front as a big middle finger to everything I just mentioned. It’s a prime location that will generate traffic and revenue but it’s a horrible looking blemish on what is otherwise a gorgeous street. So all this to say, I agree with the notion that chains and corporations are putting a damper on our lives in one way or another.


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