Campaign Strategies

Before beginning the creation chapter of this project, it is important first to research and understand existing strategies used in a range of campaigns both within and outside of the category of my campaign. Cath Davies introduced us to techniques used by companies in order to generate a specific emotion within the audience. Particularly with social issues that question morality, campaigns often tug at the heart strings of its audience by using emotive imagery and text. This technique hopes to urge its audience to take the desired action by manipulating their emotions to feel a certain way. Other campaigns go for a factual approach, hoping the shocking reality of hard facts will be enough to motivate change in the audience. Some campaigns give an obvious narrative, whilst others are ambiguous in the story of those shown, leaving the imagination space to run wild with possibilities.

We looked an a number of examples on the topic of animal testing. Some used imagery of cute, healthy looking puppies with big sad eyes. Nothing about the image alone indicates anything about animal testing, but it is the text paired with it which adds the meaning. Contrasting campaigns take a different approach, using distressing and hard to look at images of animals in awful physical conditions inside the cosmetic labs where they are kept for testing on. This also provokes an emotive response from the audience but in a different way. The first kind of campaign lets the audience create their own narrative for what might happen to the animal in its decline through the rest of its life, wondering how much longer it will look like the healthy animal it does in the campaign. It also blurs the line of disassociation between the animals we keep as pets and the animals which are tested on in labs. The latter type of campaign exposes harsh realities to the audience in order to force a negative reaction and urge a movement of change in their actions. These are the kinds of images that will stay in the mind of the audience for the wrong reasons of the hideous treatment of the animals in the images, but the right reason of that it is a great piece of design and a successful campaign. However, it is these types of campaigns that are less distributable for their distressing nature and the age brackets that it therefore cannot be accessible by. The client therefore has a decision to make when outputting campaigns on these kinds of topics – do they want potentially a higher rate of effect on the audience but with inevitable controversy and uproar from certain members of the public, or do they want to play it more safe and PG but with less hard hitting effect? It would be unfair to say that only one type of campaign is effective (as I may have made it sound before, oops). Both emotive and informative campaigns have their advantages and disadvantages in relation to different target audiences and where they are going to be displayed and distributed.

We analysed antifur campaigns by a range of organisations, highlighting the techniques used and the reasons for them, judging their role in the effectiveness of the campaign over all. Most campaigns were emotive, playing on the emotions of the audience by displaying gory imagery or eluding to a disturbing narrative. I found one campaign particularly interesting. Though not (in my opinion) the most effective design, one image from peta using an photograph of Miss Universe lying naked in Autumnal leaves used an angle different to the rest. Whilst most campaigns draw attention to the awful treatment of animals in order to make real fur garments, this campaign commented on the people who buy the fur clothes, eluding to the idea that they have low self esteem and are not comfortable in their own bodies. The use of the nude model suggests being comfortable in your own skin, enough to not desire the skin of other animals. This cannibalistic, ‘Buffalo Bill’ type underlying theory, that human beings crave an animalistic physicality to unleash the cannibal animal within them is a thread used throughout other campaigns also. Another we looked at showed a model leaning against a tombstone, wearing a fur coat and shoes with gold leggings, covered in blood and holding a bloodied knife. The layout was synonymous with editorial advertisements, the tag line selling the coat as a product which will bring out the real you. This, teamed with the image of the model wearing the coat with blood around her mouth and hands eludes to a predatory animal nature, unleashed by wearing the coat. It suggests that by wearing the animal you allow yourself to become one. It is hard to tell whether the intention is for the audience to believe the model killed the animals herself, or a human, but it advertises the fur coat as something which grants non human abilities to humans, playing on the idea that we are animals for being so brutally unkind to our fellow beings on earth and also that if we would kill animals, why not each other?

We discussed how animal testing and hunting are considered ‘legal crimes’, things that campaigners believe should surely be illegal and are shocked and disgusted by the fact they are not, considering far less offensive crimes which are illegal. These legal crimes can be thought of as crimes against human nature or morality, being legal as far as the law of the land is concerned but desperately unethical and immoral. The idea of legal crimes span across a multitude of topics and themes, motivating many organisations to create campaigns to fight a cause that is widely believed to be wrong. From the exercise in Cath’s lecture it was clear to see that, though visually campaigns differ widely, the underlying techniques used are very similar and varyingly effective.

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