How do you publicize something that is widely considered socially rude to talk about? It’s okay to urge people to get regular dental exams, annual mammograms, eye tests, and melanoma check-ups, but suggesting the need for a rectal exam is usually not well received (and often not meant in the kindest way). Yet colon/rectal cancer is the second most deadly cancer in America. Ironically, it is also one of the most treatable types of cancer if detected early through regular rectal exams. Meredith’s Miracles Colon Cancer Foundation wanted to bring these facts into the public discussion and asked the ad agency, FCB Chicago, to raise awareness through a public service ad campaign. FCB delivered the warning to Chicago commuters by selectively posting ads on the back side of bus seats. In this case, the placement of the ad is the butt of the joke.
Sadly, the sight of a homeless person holding a hand-scrawled sign asking for spare change has become all too familiar in cities around the world. Barcelona-based Arrels Foundation and The Cyranos McCann ad agency found a novel way to respond to such handwritten appeals. They created Homelessfonts.org to market typefaces drawn by the homeless in Barcelona to businesses for use in advertising and packaging. In different workshops, volunteer design professionals led homeless participants through various typographic exercises, which were then scanned and converted into usable fonts. The fonts are being sold on the Homelessfonts.org website, and collected funds are being used by Arrels to offer shelter, food, and social and health care services to the indigent in Barcelona. Arrels reports that about 3,000 homeless are currently in Barcelona, 900 of whom actually live in the street. Type design is an unusual charitable fund-raising initiative, to say the least, but it has given Arrels the resources to care for nearly half of the homeless in Barcelona.
The first Tuesday in November is election day in America, and tomorrow citizens are supposed to go to the polls to exercise their Constitutional right to vote. If turnout in past midterm elections is a guide, less than 40% of the voting age population will claim that privilege. Shame!
For the past few Presidential elections, the AIGA has hosted a Get Out The Vote poster campaign as a public call to action. Since the AIGA doesn’t create posters for midterm elections, we thought we’d revive some posters designed for the 2012 election. (The one above was done by Kit.)
Public service announcements (PSAs) mean well, but often times they play on people’s fears, guilt or soft-heartedness to get viewers to pay attention. That’s why these PSAs from the British Heart Foundation are so refreshing. Produced by Grey London and directed by Steve Bendelack, the new Mini Vinnie CPR ad is a sequel to one done featuring British actor/pro football player Vinnie Jones. Embedded in the spoof are some valuable tips on how to give hard and fast hands-only CPR in an emergency. These entertaining ads follow in the tradition of the British Heart Foundation’s PSA, starring British actor/playwright Steven Berkoff on how to identify the symptoms of a heart attack. They are all about stayin’ alive.
Leo Burnett ad agency made clever use of negative space to communicate Fiat’s Don’t Text and Drive message. Those who focus on the large alphabet letters often miss the silhouetted image in the negative black space. It’s a matter of perspective and where your attention is centered: On the letter “R” or the girl with a balloon? The “F” or the bus? The “N” or the dog? The subjects in the negative space are hiding in plain sight, but you have to be alert to see them.
If you’re like many of us, the more the cable TV news commentators explain how the electoral map of the United States works, the more confused we become. If viewed purely from the perspective of landmass, the red states (Republican) overpower blue states (Democratic), and the all-powerful “swing” states that supposedly will determine the outcome of the national election aren’t that important or trendsetting (sorry, the truth hurts) except during Presidential election years. So, it is enlightening to view this National Public Radio video produced by Adam Cole, although I’m not sure how listeners can see it on the radio. Never mind. If you haven’t voted yet, do. There are just a few hours left to cast your ballot if you are on the West Coast or Hawaii.
Is it possible to brand a thrift store stocked with donated goods and make it a look like a place where you’d want to shop? Goodwill in San Francisco is doing just that by giving its in-store signage, website and fleet of trucks a complete makeover.
The automobile insurance society (SAAQ) in the French-Canadian province of Quebec has launched a humorous public awareness campaign to warn Quebecers about the dangers of texting and driving. SAAQ estimates that people who text while driving are 20 times more likely to get into an accident. In Quebec, phone-related infractions climbed to 57,000 in 2011 – nearly triple the number from 2008. This is a message where you can laugh and, hopefully, learn.
This modified eye chart is more representational than accurate, but, for the most part, it gets the point across. Designed by Salt Lake City-based creative director Gary Sume, this poster for the Utah Highway Safety office advises drivers to watch out for motorcycles.
Consider this: Consumers in China went through 57 billion pairs of disposable wooden chopsticks in 2009 alone, which equates to more than 3.8 million trees. For a nation that ranks 139th worldwide in forest land per capita, that means that China’s forests may be wiped out in 20 years if consumption continues at that rate.
Last winter Greenpeace East Asia and Ogilvy Beijing teamed with artist Yinhai Xu and students from 20 Chinese universities to stage a public awareness campaign. Together, they gathered some 80,000 pairs of used chopsticks from Beijing restaurants to assemble a “Disposable Forest” in a popular Beijing shopping center. The display urged people to carry around their own pair of chopsticks when eating out and asked them to sign a pledge to stop using disposable chopsticks. The 80,000 pairs of chopsticks that were transformed into four full-sized trees are a mere sliver of how many disposable chopsticks are used worldwide. Even though wood is a renewable resource is it really worth it to cut down a tree to make an eating utensil that is used once and thrown away?
Chicago-based commercial photographer Francois Robert has a unique way of seeing things that most of us don’t see. About 20 years ago, Francois and his Swiss designer brother, Jean, made us aware of anthropomorphic features in inanimate objects such as padlocks, mops, door knockers and light switches, and photographed these expressive faces and presented them in the book, “Face to Face.”
Lately several videos have passed our way telling a story by juxtaposing stock footage-type images on a split screen. They have no voiceovers or text, just music to set the mood. Some of the videos – such as this one issued by WWF — are quite compelling and poetic. Unfortunately, the WWF video had no production credits at the end, so we can’t tell you who made it. It does seem stylistically similar to “Symmetry” by Everynone, but that is just a guess.
SET creative agency in Japan, which has produced a number of imaginative QR code designs, has created this QR code logo for the Japanese Red Cross. The code reveals information on how to donate to the earthquake/tsunami relief effort in northern Japan. Worldwide, you can donate to a number of relief organizations that are helping victims of the devastating disaster, and we hope you will.
The World Wildlife Fund, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2011, has produced some terrific ads over the years. This is a series that we hadn’t seen, although it was produced by BBH Shanghai in 2008. The ads address the misconception in China that the World Wildlife Fund only protects Giant Pandas that are native to the mountain forests of central China. To raise awareness of WWF’s other conservation activities in the country, this black-and-white print and outdoor ad campaign integrated WWF’s panda logo (and China’s national symbol) into images of antelopes, forests and water.
We know that sex sells, but at what point do you cross over the line from suggestive to simulated? For the past week, the @Issue editorial team and interested others at Studio Hinrichs have been engaged in an ongoing dispute. My opinion and that of several others (who just happened to all be women) was that this commercial bordered on soft porn (the next ad in this series even more so). The male designers in the office watched the commercial attentively before describing it as “stylish,” “well-designed,” and “clever marketing.”
Sometimes the medium is very much a part of the message. This public service display to warn people about the dangers of unsafe drinking water was created for Worldwide Day of Water by BDDP Unlimited in partnership with NGO Solidarities International. Essentially, BDDP constructed a “liquid poster” in the heart of Paris, using AquaScript technology. Developed by German artist Julius Popp in 2008, AquaScript’s proprietary computer and software system can be programmed to synchronize hundreds of magnetic valves to expel drops of water on command, forming any number of words and images out of pure liquid. Words literally rain down from spouts. Lately AquaScript displays have been appearing all over the world at trade shows, new product unveilings, casinos and nightclubs, and even as the centerpiece of posh parties in Abu Dhabi. It is still a novelty that causes people to pause in wonder, but when the technology is used strategically, as in this clean water campaign, it can add strength to the message and be more than the latest fascinating gimmick.