Monday, November 8, 2010
Word & Image: Worldwide Foundation Print Ad
Whenever word and image are cleverly married, the use of a metaphor is often employed. Above is a minimalist print ad from the Worldwide Foundation. Can you guess fairly quickly what their main message is? Most likely. Advertisers and marketers often strive to create ads that are clever, yet not too clever to stump potential viewers. In order to do this, they find images that are universally recognized and apply it to whatever product or message they are attempting to send. The use of metaphor acts as a puzzle for viewers and the text serves as another clue to the association between the image and the company or organization the ad is for.
Tic tac toe is a game of choice, strategy, and thinking ahead. It is a game people usually play in their past time, not competitively. The WWF takes advantage of this casualness and puts a more serious spin on the passively played game. X's and O's are substituted with sharks and bowls of shark fin's soup. After staring at the image for a few seconds, one understands that this particular game is not necessarily fun, but extremely important. As our eyes naturally move downwards we see the text "It's your turn." This lets us decide what's more important, a delicacy soup, or the well-being of a beautiful fish.
Why is this ad effective? Let's put it this way. If the print ad stated "10 million blue sharks are killed annually for shark's fin soup", it would take longer to comprehend. Though it would present a horrifying statistic, it is hard for people to put this in perspective, especially if the viewer believes there are an abundance of sharks still in existence. The image summarizes so much conversation and facts that it saves viewers from statistics or facts that would clutter the ad.
The image tells us that we need to be careful what we choose. Just as in tic tac toe, it is easy to pick boxes without much thought because losing a small game is not a huge deal. We pick boxes and don't always think ahead. This ad tells us that our choice matters more. It tells us that we can easily help the cause and boycott shark's fin soup just as easily as we can ask a waiter to fetch it at a restaurant. The image puts our choice into perspective and the ramifications of choosing the soup. The text "it's your turn" places more responsibility on us and lets us know that we do have a choice and can help. Finally we see the WWF logo and fully understand the cause and link it to the WWF. This association will occur in our brain in a matter of seconds, much faster than if we had to read more text.
As seen here, word and image can be so effective when they exhibit a symbiotic relationship where they feed off of and clarify one another.