The Pop Culture-Inspired Branding Behind Heroin Addiction

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We’ve been following Graham MacIndoe’s work since we shared his poignant Missing Persons series. The Scotland-born artist’s latest work All In, recently featured on Wired, caught our attention. Fascinated with the typography and design of glassine heroin baggies he collected during a period of addiction, MacIndoe’s photos reveal the branding and marketing side of dope.

“The addict becomes the ultimate consumer of the ultimate product—following a trail of quirky street names carefully chosen to be instantly recognizable to those in the know,” he writes on his website. “But there is nothing hidden about the references to good times (So Amazing, True Romance, First Class), juxtaposed with reminders of the gamble (9 Lives, Black Jack) and the reality of addiction (Flat Liner, Undertaker).”

Naturally, the pop culture references struck a cord with us. Names like New Jack City, Twilight, True Romance, and Sin City instantly transport us to the visual landscape of the films they refer to. The appeal of a brand named after cat food still eludes us (it even looks like the 9Lives logo), but sadly we can imagine why someone might feel fancy buying “First Class,” featuring a jet hovering above it.

See more of MacIndoe’s photos in our gallery.

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe

Photo credit: Graham MacIndoe