If you look at Adbusters’ Corporate Flag, you’ll be able to name more companies than you’d expect. That’s the effect of seeing logos in repetition, put in places you may not want — or may not even remember seeing. It’s creepy. Unlogo is a web service that aims to help undo the way you’ve been programmed to pledge allegiance to Nike by helping you remove corporate logos and signage from videos you watch.
Not that we don’t want to see who’s paying our favorite rapper’s child support these days by spotting the logos in his newest video… But much in the same way Subliminal Guy drops suggestive words under his breath into sentences during conversation to influence the listener into doing his will — mostly in hopes of getting laid, or hookers, or both — ad and marketing firms like to do the same thing with logos in videos. In the hopes that you will make sex with their client’s products, logos are scattered everywhere, unsettlingly relying on our unconscious memory to instantly recognize and associate their logo with the brand. Advertisers like it when you have no choice but to see their brands, much like that guy who flashed your mom on the bus. Some people call this “business” — while others might call it nonconsensual.
Unlogo might fall into the latter category — or they want to give viewers a choice. It’s a participatory project that uses a combination of new OpenCV and FFMPEG functionality so users can upload a video, have corporate logos scrubbed from the videos, and have the logos replaced with a solid color (or whimsically, a South Park style disembodied head of the company’s CEO). It would be extra neat if the logos could be replaced with user-generated content, such as a LOLcat, but hey — Unlogo is in the early stages. In fact, they just announced their Kickstarter page to help with funding. Looking at their long-term goals, we even might be able to LOL-ify Starbucks and Coke out of our lives, and our own videos, even if just a little bit.