As I was reworking my A3 poster design an Oxfam ad I had seen on tv suddenly clicked into my mind…it’s practically perfect in relation to the subject matter I am dealing with!!! I can’t believe I didn’t remember it earllier!

Their approach in this ad is interesting, since there are so many ads on tv nowadays from charities etc. which take a very blatant approach in their advertising. There are so many I have seen where from the first second you hear a serious voice annoucing they want money for ‘x’ cause….or you are bombarded by images of starving children, injured animals and so on. I think that this sort of approach, unless it is done smartly and doesn’t fall into the generic mainstream of such things, is a bit outdated. I can see why it’s used, but we have reached a point in time when we see such images everyday on the news, on the web, in the papers….so to see a few more such images in a tv ad isn’t a surprise anymore. We have just become desensitized, information is so widespread (through tv, internet etc.) that those sorts of ads just do not have the impact that they were intended to have.

So, what I really liked right away about the Oxfam ad is that it’s completely different. For one thing it’s animation, and no one is narrating the ad, telling you what it is…which I think is a good thing actually. You as a viewer are placed into an existing world where the characters are going about their business, the world they show striked you as continuous, real, not just made up for the sake of the ad. It’s very much like being drawn into a novel, where you’re thrown into the action without introductions or directions and you simply have to piece things together….I particularly like this writing technique and I think it works well in film (and ads in this case) as well since naturally you are drawn in through trying to understand the story and the characterse and what is happening in the given moment when  you enter.

The ad is like a mini story….straight off you understand through the dark colour sheme and the manner of the characters that the scene is rather depressing. I like how they ad in typographic elements as well when certain keywords from the media (news paper, tv etc.) come alive and the type itself takes on the character of the word it stands for. At the end the transition from dark and gloomy to bright, vivid, and colourful is very effective since you immediately set up a contrast between the first version of the world and then the second. I think it’s particularly endearing that the main character is an elderly lady, and she starts the ‘change’ process. The message it sends out is that everyone can take a stand against the wrongs of the world, and as their lovely tagline says, ‘be humankind’.