The Ad Men Behind Occupy George, Occupy Wall Street Infographics Printed On Dollar Bills

By making the facts simple to understand—and putting them in a rather prominent, poignant place—two creatives offer their skills to fight wealth disparity.

As the Occupy Wall Street protests gain steam, their message is being broadcast to more people, via news stories, social media, and word of mouth. Yet it's still been something of a slow process. But, as the protests occupy more and more physical space, two ad creatives have found a way to occupy a more metaphorical realm, and potentially spread the message of wealth disparity much farther: They're occupying U.S. currency.

Occupy George is a series of five stamps that place an infographic about earnings disparities and how wealth is distributed in America directly on the most famous symbol of wealth itself. The project has been pulling all-nighters for about a week, printing on more $1 bills, and then exchanging them at Occupy Wall Street protests, getting more bills to modify each time.

"We feel like just the hard solid facts on the economic disparity in America speak for themselves so brilliantly," says "Ivan," one of the minds behind the project. "We feel like it would be really tough to not be moved to take action or support the movement if you were confronted with them."

"Ivan," created Occupy George with his partner "Andy." Both men who work in advertising but sometimes turn to creative projects that serve the public good as an antidote to spending all day toiling for corporate America. They've consulted legal experts and are sure that defacing bills is 100% legal (as long as you don't mess with the serial numbers or the denominations of the bills themselves), but they still prefer to remain anonymous. They've worked on other culture jamming projects in the past, like the Deprofiler, a generic white-person mask that Arizona Hispanics could wear to protect themselves from the state's law allowing the police to search suspected illegal immigrants.

The infographics they've come up with to move people to action show various damning stats about how the 1% wealthiest Americans are hoarding wealth. The ones above illustrate how much money the richest 400 Americans have in comparison to the rest of us; how much of the income growth in the country is concentrated in the wealthiest 1%; and the difference between average worker pay and average CEO pay (it's a lot). There are other bills on the site—five in total—as well as some bills stamped with the missive "Soon to belong to the 1%." You can also download the templates so that you can print the graphics on bills near you, or even buy the stamps. Consider George occupied.

[Images: Occupy George]

Morgan Clendaniel can be reached by email or on Twitter.

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  • DC

     Please learn how to read a statute before you quote a statute. A person who defaces, etc. "with intent to render such bank bill . . . unfit to be reissued" will be punished.  The first statutory requirement is that the bill has to be unfit to be reissued.  The second statutory requirement is that the person had to have intent to make the bill unfit to be reissued.  Writing on a bill doesn't make a bill unfit to be reissued; therefore, these guys have not fulfilled the first requirement.  And even if it did, these people actually intended the bills TO be reissued and circulated.  Therefore, they haven't violated either of the necessary provisions to suffer any consequence under the code.  

  • Jeff Hall

    @Joseph Moore - Didn't Susan B. Anthony break the law in 1872 when she voted?

  • Jeff Hall

    @Joseph Moore - Didn't Rosa Parks break the law when she refused to sit in the back of the bus?

  • Jeff Hall

    @Joseph Moore - Wasn't dumping tea into the Boston Harbor also breaking the law?

  • Jennifer Trimble

    no- Joseph has a good point. The creators of this movement must have thought of it, but nowhere do they let us know that we, by using their templates on real u.s. currency are also not breaking the law. The lack of info on the legality of it (is this somehow exempt from the code Joseph cited?) is what is keeping me from participating.

  • Ricky Davis

    I'm pretty sure those dollar bills will be able to be re-issused  (ie buy a copy of FastCompany)
    Joseph is a douche bag

  • Joel Lopez

    Joseph, maybe you should read the article before you condemn it. Also, this is more of an awareness campaign then a call-to-action. Nowhere in the article does fastcompany tell us to start defacing our money, or give us directions on how it is done.

  • KPR

    Awesome Joseph Moore - lets be redundant and post the US code that these guys (and their lawyers) have likely already read and interpreted. 

    I think you should probably calm down. This is an interesting way to think about the message and there's a real good chance it won't cost you a dime in the long run. 

  • Joseph Moore

    Awesome Fast company - lets advocate for people breaking federal law....

    United States Code TITLE 18 - CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE PART I - CRIMES CHAPTER 17 - COINS AND CURRENCY§ 333. Mutilation of national bank obligations Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, orunites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill,draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national bankingassociation, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System,with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidenceof debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title orimprisoned not more than six months, or both.In the long run, this is just going to cost us, taxpayers, more money. Thanks a bunch you assholes.