I was talking to a friend at work about this project. They had just come out of a Graphic Design degree and had done a similar project to me, he had done a campaign to raise awareness of sex trafficking. (This sounds a lot different but it is still a charitable campaign that needs to attract attention somehow). They suggested I take a look at some of the Barnardo’s campaigns so I did. Immediately intrigued by their powerful use of shock imagery, I couldn’t look away. They had me hooked and this just proves to me how successful shock adverts work. It has got to be the morbid curiosity that tells you not to look away, even though all rational parts of your brain are telling you “you should turn away!”.
Not all approaches were shock though, the blue poster used words to get you to have to double and triple take. It isn’t apparent at first exactly what is being said but then you have spent long enough reading it to keep that message with you.
Below are 3 more shock campaigns. I don’t think these would work at all for products but for campaigns, with a serious issue that people repeatedly ignore, they seem to do the job.
That said, my project is not an issue that is repeatedly ignored. My campaign is more like a polite request that people could oblige but choose not to. The shock treatment is unnecessary in this instance.
Now we have 6 images that are charitable campaigns, politely asking for donations.
To be fair, however, the first isn’t. The first is a piece of art (arguably a campaign) I found on a parenting website, warning of the dangers of shock adverts (I just thought this was quite relevant).
But the other five are charitable campaigns. They are all really quite polite and Oxfam is one of the most successful charities out there. Does this mean that, rather than an image that makes you gasp and feel ill, the most effective way to get what you want is to just ask politely??
I have cottoned onto their sneaky ways. So yeah, these adverts seem nice and friendly- “Oh, if you don’t mind just pop us a fiver and we can save a few thousand lives. Thanks a million!”
Not the below images in particular, but what they do in the TV ads and many other posters is actually guilt trip you. The video below is a TV ad, purposefully longer than a normal advert to really bring your mood down and feel bad for the people involved. Evidently it works.
I feel guilt and shock are two extremely effective advertising tools, but this campaign is something I want to be proud of and use in my portfolio. I think I am better than these cheap methods, time to prove it.