Brandscapes of control? Surveillance, marketing and the co-construction of subjectivity and space in neo-liberal capitalism

David Murakami Wood, Kirstie Ball*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    48 Citations (Scopus)


    This article considers the emergence of the 'brandscape' as a new apparatus and a mode of order in neo-liberal capitalism. Simultaneously locating its emergence as a result of developments in marketing, urbanism, technology and surveillance, we discuss its characteristics, forms and potentialities. The brandscape is a marketing neologism that combines the concept of the 'brand' with 'landscape'. Based on the notion of the brand, which seeks to give reassurance and familiarity to customers by semiotic visual codings of product ranges, brandscapes in consumer spaces have an inherent experiential quality and form the basis of the new affective economy. The brandscape recodes the consumer subject as a spatialised, desiring, networked body produced through a complex of marketing techniques designed to analyse buying behaviour, target consumers, and seduce them with strongly affective experiences. Working as immaterial labourers, through the constant provision of consumer data upon which the brandscape rests, consumers become exploited as well as exhilarated. Brandscapes also become securityscapes, as their boundaries and interiors are heavily policed to protect the dreams of safety and riskless living they proffer. However, as simulated consumer subjects are reinscribed onto the material, we note both the tendency to failure in the assumptions of the underpinning marketing processes and the competition to brandscapes from other visions of security and ubiquitous computing futures. But the problems of brandscapes provide the context for a move from biopolitical to neuropolitical control, as the brain, rather than affect, becomes the new site of contestation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)47-67
    Number of pages21
    JournalMarketing Theory
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


    • biopolitics
    • Brands
    • data mining
    • neuromarketing
    • surveillance


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