The rise of 'Protest branding'

Increasingly we are seeing a strong emergence of successful commercial brands incorporating protest and cultural-identity into their brands.

Most brands pay scant lip service to culture and values, but increasingly we are seeing a strong emergence of successful commercial brands that are incorporating augmented elements of protest and cultural-identity into their brands.

Pyer Moss is a fashion label out of the US that is premised on the branded manifestation of protest.

Pyer Moss was founded in 2013 by Kerby Jean-Raymond. Jean-Raymond describes the brand as an “art project” or “a timely social experiment” at times. Pyer Moss aims to use its voice and platform to challenge social narratives and evoke dialogue.

Now the brand has released the trailer of a documentary movie, 'American, Also', that it has produced which will appear in America drive-in theatres (because of social distancing people....on a side note...are there still drive-ins in South Africa?) later this year.

"We’re more than a statistic, we’re more than the bad story, we’re more than killings, we’re more than that,” Kerby Jean-Raymond says in a clip from his upcoming film. “I’m really showing it for us. So the way I see you, is not the way that somebody who’s not of our culture is going to see you. And I want you to know, deliberately, that I’m speaking to you versus everybody else.”

Branding and compelling storytelling have always had a strong association.

People are hungry to support a 'purpose-driven brand' (I threw up just a bit writing that because I can just see the cheesy, slimy 'marketing guru guy' including that little bullet point in his dull PowerPoint slide deck), but that purpose needs to be clear and bold and truly authentic.

Including culture in your brand positioning is not a tick-box exercise, it's a powerful statement of social intent; venture there at your own risk.


Pyer Moss
Pyer Moss founded in 2013, as mens and womenswear fashion label concerned with building a narrative that speaks about heritage and activism.