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.