This has nothing to do with anything, really, but since I’ve been working on so many ads and other graphic design pieces the past few weeks, I’ve spent lot of time wondering: what’s the best way to tell a story? That came up the other day when I stumbled across a slew of “edgy” condom ads, and it’s arisen again this morning, thanks to two unrelated pieces that deal with the same issue: freedom of the press.
The first comes directly from Reporters Without Borders, courtesy of Saatchi & Saatchi Paris:
Advertising Agency : Saatchi & Saatchi Paris, France
Client: Reporters Without Borders
Creative Director: Christophe Coffre
Art Director: Florian Roussel
Copywriter: Guillaume Blanc
Artistes: Stephen J Shanabrook & Veronika Georgieva
Retoucher: Panit Pundarik
Published: April 2010
And the second is a subscription pitch for Italy’s Il Manifesto — one that leverages data from Reporters Without Borders to play up fear of censorship:
Advertising Agency: TheName, Rome, Italy
Executive Creative Director: Carlos Anuncibay
Creative Directors: Alessandro Izzillo, Daniele Dionisi
Art Director: Alessandro Izzillo
Copywriter: Daniele Dionisi
Account Director: Luca Micheletta
Photographer: Andrea Melcangi
Published: March 2010
The two asks are very different — the former is soliciting donations to a nonprofit, the latter is soliciting subscriptions to a daily newspaper — but the emotional appeals are nearly identical. And that raises the question: which story sells? Is it the first, which clearly identifies a shared enemy and creates an immediate, visceral bond between the organization and the (presumably non-Chinese) reader? Or is it the second, more conceptual piece, which entices the viewer to linger longer on the page?
I suppose there doesn’t have to be a winner — Geico’s simultaneous gecko/caveman/creepy-money-with-eyeballs campaigns make it clear that multi-pronged approaches work just fine. But if I were trying to make a statement, and if I had a limited budget (as I always do), and if I had to choose one, which would I pick?
Although I love the simplicity and elegance of the second piece, I’d probably wuss out and go for the first because of very stupid, technical reasons:
- it’s got a face (phenomenologically, I think that’s important)
- it’s a big face
- it’s a recognizable face
- it tells the story very quickly
The paper texture is also a nice tie-in to the journalism message. And — call me crazy — but it’s vertical, and as a big ol’ drama queen I love tall, dramatic verticals.
Yes, people: these are the things that I think about at 5:30am on Wednesdays.