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Advertising with a Social Message

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Advertising is usually that to which we associate pretty well every single one of the seven deadly sins. It has certainly at least taken greed and enshrined it as a virtue, along with the other sins. I was pleasantly surprised when I came across the website of an organisation that showcases “social advertising and non-profit campaigns from around the globe”, osocio.org.

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This is a great website for people who like to see campaigns which raise public awareness about the genuine evils which take place in all of our societies, regardless of geographic location. Some of the advertisements are shocking but, let’s face it, they need to be to jar people out of their complacency. Domestic violence, child abuse, sexual trafficking, alcohol and other drug issues – the campaigns highlighted by the website osocio.org are illustrated in clever and attention-commanding ways.

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Advertising images are ubiquitous in the modern world and in almost every culture. They are the perfect medium for raising social awareness. We are all cultivated from a young age to succumb to the visual pleasures and economic imperatives of the advertising image. If there is an issue you think needs a greater awareness in the wider community, perhaps advertising agencies can do more than just sell you soap or cars or iPods.

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Check out this link for information about a campaign for a simple and unique way to help people retrieve and store water (- advertising poster below).

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Images make us as much as we make them. There is probably no more powerful tool of social awareness and activism than the simple advertising poster. I’ll close this article with an image which concerns me, as a graphic designer and artist (among the many hats I wear) and which is an instruction to the designer to think about what they are doing, who it is for. We all should be aware of the “bigger picture” for all of the things we do.

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