Capitalism Will Prevail: Businesses Use Hatari's Aesthetics For Fun & Profit

Capitalism Will Prevail: Businesses Use Hatari’s Aesthetics For Fun & Profit

Published May 15, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Art Bicnick

“If we manage to overthrow capitalism, that would also be a measure of success. Preferably selling some branded merchandise along the way.” – Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson of Hatari

“You can see [racism in Iceland] with the refugee crisis that’s happening now, and how that is being dealt with. It’s absurd and brutal how the police reacted to refugee protesters here.” – Klemens Hannigan of Hatari

Both of the above quotes, taken from our recent cover feature interview with Eurovision contenders Hatari, are especially striking given the recent spate of fervent marketing from numerous local businesses in their social media adverts, all using Hatari’s aesthetics.

Even the capital area police force have gotten in on the Eurovision action, in spectacularly un-selfaware form. As Hatari have now advanced to the Eurovision finals, we can probably only expect this appropriative marketing to ramp up.

It has long been pointed out that capitalism will always adopt the aesthetic trappings of rebellion to generate its own revenue. With this being the case, it is not only unsurprising that completely unrelated enterprises would attempt to cash in on Hatari’s success; it underlines the band’s entire point: in capitalism, you are a consumer, a product, or both. That said, the attempts made at this cashing in range from the somewhat clever to the humourous to the downright appalling. We’ve compiled just a handful of examples we were able to find in just one day of scrolling through our Facebook timeline. Brace yourselves.


1. KFC
“The bucket will prevail,” this ad reads. “Shove this into your mask.” This ad also specifies that the cardboard mask wrapped around the bucket will be available “while supplies last.”


2. Bónus
An ad for Bónus, the largest supermarket chain in the country and itself a part of a larger corporate enterprise. The spiked face mask is going to be a recurring theme in these ads.


3. Lava Cheese
This company gets extra points for not only using such de rigueur BDSM trappings as a ball gag and leash, but also giving their products this distinct coif. Appetising!


4. Chocolate milk
Kudos to this company for a) making this a video, b) making their products perform as a band and c) these top-notch Photoshop skills. Why is the lead singer wearing a face mask on top of its head? Art doesn’t need to explain itself.


5. Strætó
We unironically love this ad. Can you imagine if the city bus service actually equipped their rides like this? Not only would this give us international attention; these would also make great battle vehicles in a post-apocalyptic hellscape.


6. Hamborgarafabrikkan
While some of these ads use Hatari aesthetics, others riff on their Eurovision song entry, “Hate Will Prevail”. This ad is one such example, saying, “Hate will prevail … and small burgers! You don’t hate small burgers”. Offers 25% off of these unhateable products.


7. Taco Bell
Tace Bell gets bonus points here for not only incorporating a gimp mask (something that, to our knowledge, Hatari has never worn but it’s BDSM related so OK) but also using a literal meme image. Nice job!


8. The Reykjavík Area Police
Why is cop humour like this? Kind of a low-effort attempt, but what really hits home is their use of the song title, with a twist: “The law will prevail”. Mark this date on your calendar; it’s the day irony died.

Bear in mind that Hatari are themselves quite self-aware about the inherent contradiction of actively participating in a system that they oppose. This is not only underlined by the quote from Matthías at the top of this article, but also in their diligent and astute marketing skills.

That being the case, these adverts can be arguably be seen as a natural extension of their artistic vision. Or maybe it’s just another iteration of what local businesses do every year for Eurovision: adopt the aesthetics of the Icelandic entry to help sell their products. Áfram kapítalismi!

The final takes place on Saturday. Get a commemorative poster of our Hatari cover story here. Read our live-tweet thread of the evening here, and follow us on Twitter to see Saturday’s live commentary. Read more about Hatari’s aesthetics here.

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