17 February 2008


One of the paradigmatic grand narratives of global corporate advertising is the decontextualization of place and the deterritorialization of the world, a new global order that represents space as nowhere but everywhere.

Some global corporate ads connote a transcendent global space shared by viewers, who are hyperconsumers of ever-changing technology, services, and goods supplied by global Capital. The grand, metanarrative worldview presented by these ads is a utopian vision of the world unified by the products and services of global Capital.

For example, an A.T.&T. corporation television advertisement (broadcast January 2006 on the CBS television network)
shows a ski lift picking up people across landscapes of America, transporting them around the world through European landscapes, and delivering them to the Olympic games. The voiceover at the end says, “Your world. We deliver.” (A.T.&T. provides global telecommunication services.) This illustrates the global corporate representation of the new deterritorialized but unified world--unified by global corporations

At this point a model globe appears--A.T.&T.'s logo icon. Completely translucent, appearing like crystal, the viewer sees thin outlines of all land masses, also translucent, through the see-through interior of the sphere. It is a panoptic view of the planet, with the entire surface seen in one view. (It has some similarities with a
georama, a large hollow globe that has a map of the Earth’s surface depicted on the inside surface, but viewed by spectators within the globe.)

The A.T.&T. logo globe, viewed from outside at a distance, is a world of deterritorialized space unified by flows of energy and communication, services provided by A.T.&T. The globe presents the sense of a perfect world, spatially transparent, with no individual places, a panoptic view of a single nonspatial planet. It is a quasi-material symbol for cyberspace-meets-the-planet--a cyberorb.

This, I believe, is how the multinational, world-around, totalizing late-capitalist global corporations want us to see the world. They want to convince us, through their corporate ads, that they are in charge of the global flows of energy and communication, so that we might purchase their products and services. But first we must be decontextualized (as are our places) and deterritorialized (as are global spaces). We now simply live on the whole Planet--with a little help from our corporate friends.

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