APP Research – Counter Smoking Adverts

I looked at counter advertising to see what approach other designers have taken to entice people to stop smoking.

Many focus on mortality, suggesting the effects smoking has on health in a shocking visual representation. The shock effect entices the audience to read further into the advert to understand the context further.

The design below shows a person smoking a cigarette with a mutation growing out of the cigarette. This demonstrates the effects smoking has on health. The overall tone of the design is very dull and glum, with saturation reduced. The first thing that catches the eye is the colour red used to depict the mutation. The minimal text justifies the image in a short concise way, outlining the issue with a statement and direction to information to quit.

Anti-smoking ad

I found this visual very striking. It shows the inevitable consequences of smoking. It shows that this person was just one of a growing number of people dying from diseases related to smoking. Interestingly, the feet look quite young and healthy, implying smokers die young. The tag around the foot simply says “smoking kills” with a well known brand logo positioned above.


This idea actually came into my head too and sketched the idea before finding this. It exploits the monetary value of a pack of cigarettes, and asks the audience to consider, is it really worth the money? The image of money going up in smoke symbolises what people are doing when they smoke.


The style used below is something that interests me quite a lot. I have tried similar techniques before, and might be a path I may pursue. The image of the cigarette positioned at the bottom of the page creates smoke to form a spooky skull figure. This is a symbol of death that can be identified by the audience, attempting to evoke fear to the audience.


I thought the design below was quite a clever play on words. It communicates with the audience with terminology that can be easily recognised. The idea of addiction and becoming “hooked” is commonly associated with smokers. The tagline “get unhooked” is a clever play on words that provides the audience to seek help.



This process has made me look at what other designers have produced previously is discourage smokers from smoking. I found it interesting how simplistic some of the ideas were, yet they were so impactful. The message was always clear and concise, with one or two symbols justifying the point of the advert. The clever copy in some cases speaks to the audience in a way that they feel comfortable. Often shock advertising has quite a sinister tone of voice, however, the information often is more light hearted and offers help and support. The habitual nature smoking daily is often portrayed by taking out the saturation out of the visuals, showing age and glumness, in contrast to a brighter, vibrant future.


Dissertation – Literature Review

I have never written a literature review before, and I’ve found it difficult to understand what the purpose and relationship it has with the rest of the essay. However, I initially created a document of all the interesting quotes I had found throughout my ongoing research, and began thinking about the overarching themes of each quote, and began collating them into groups of topics. This gave me a better understanding of what direction and structure I was moving forward with. This then gave me the bones to start writing my literature review. I was also uncertain about the length of the literature review. I noticed mine was one of the longest out of everybody, and I could have even written more!

We had an initial hand in today for tutor review. From what I gather, this is just for them to get an idea of our essays direction and structure, so they can give us a steer if necessary to other sources or topics we may be missing. I’ve set myself a target of 1500 words a week until the first draft hand in on December 8th, which allows me a week to fine tune and get every last detail done and printed correctly.

Below is a link to the version of literature review handed to my tutor today. This is obviously very embryonic at this stage, and will change by the final draft hand in.

Literature Review

APP Research – Volkswagen “Think Small” Advert Dissection

During the 50s & 60s, cars were used not only to just get from A to B. They were fashion statements, ego-boosting, testosterone guzzling, muscle on wheels. Volkswagen were tasked with marketing a German car in America, post World War 2. The car was very much the car of the Nazi’s, labelled “the people’s car” and its development has ties to Adolf Hitler himself. The company went against the status quo, creating a campaign asking the audience to “Think Small”.

The main image was simply a dot surrounded with white space, isolating the car and giving it perspective. Why would the company take this approach? Well, if someone were to open the paper in the 60s, and found the complete opposite of the normal conventions, they want to find out more.

The tagline is shot but punchy, “Think Small”, whilst the main body of text seems to mock the cars sluggishness and ugly looks, creating purposeful confusion to hook the reader to read more. The clever copy spins these flaws in the car to create contrast with the other cars out there, “There are some new cars around with very streamlined roofs. But they are not Volkswagens”. This created a trend of individualism, breaking free of social norms and standing out. The texts goes on to talk about the car barely reaching 72mph, so you can cruise past the gas stations, repair shops and tire stores, showing the car is reliable a cost efficient.

The car went onto be a national icon in America, and a symbol of American freedom and individualism. I like how white space is used to create perspective in the design, whilst shadows also add to the effect. It accentuates the characteristics of the car and spins them into positive attributes to the consumer. The whole message is clear and concise to the audience, with a informal yet sophisticated tone of voice. The company weren’t shy to go against what other companies where doing to promote there products, and the outcome was successful.





This campaign has made me more aware of the importance to stand out from a crowd when advertising a product or service. Its not a bad thing to be different from the competition. In this case, the company were incredibly successful in creating contrast between the competition and themselves, offering a different car for different reasons to the consumers advantage.

I like the ideas of isolation and white space to give perspective and contrast. When thinking about my own project about counter advertising to discourage smoking and encourage quitting, I want to use the shock factor to entice my audience. This has got me thinking about the characteristics of smoking, such as:

  • Ingredients
  • Malicious, poisonous smoke
  • Lung cancer
  • Chemicals
  • Tar
  • Hacking Cough
  • Yellow Fingers & teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Stale smell
  • Hair loss

This has sparked some really interesting ideas, and I wish to explore them in my next stage of creating some small sketches to get all my initial ideas out on paper.

APP – Tutor Tuition

Today I had a one on one session with my tutor, communicating my current concerns and where I’m up to. I’ve found recently that, talking my ideas through with someone creates connections and links to things I hadn’t thought of previously. It’s always been important to think divergently in every project we’ve been given, but I have found previously stuck in my own thoughts and not achieving that eye catching design.

I used Tim, my tutor, as a spring board for new ideas and paths to go down. My discipline I wish to explore is advertising and photo-manipulation, and he gave me a great steer to look at other successful advertising campaigns.

He also asked me questions such as who my target audience might be and where might my design be placed to give greatest exposure. Although I had previously considered this, we spoke in greater depth about tone of voice and characteristics that could be manipulated to make an effective design.


This has been a really important 20 minutes in my design process. It has enabled me to spark new ideas and areas to research to enhance my outcome. My tutor is very good at asking “so what?” and this has made me ask myself questions that can be easily worked out or solved in bitesize chunks. Initially I felt quite concerned about the time constraints of the project, however, as time has gone on and I’ve thought constructively about the process and task, and have been able to chunk my time quiet well and work efficiently. My foundation for my APP is now set and the uncertainty is starting to disappear.

In my next posts, I wish to explore advertising campaigns and analyse their effectiveness and dissect the designs. This will form the body of my research, in which I wish to generate ideas. I also want to use my sketch book more, just doodling thoughts as they come to me instead of retrospectively, containing and illustrating my ideas as they form. My aim is to have a pen and paper next to me at all times whilst working.

APP Research – What Makes a Good Advertising Campaign?

Who is the target audience?

An advertising campaign should be geared toward your niche market. It is a common mistake to create generic ads that do not speak the language or grab the attention of your potential customers.

Establish an Image

Brand recognition is something that sells product and ideology. It’s important to keep a consistent image that constantly communicates with the intended audiences. Brands such as McDonalds have mastered this, encouraging families to “be happy” with an inviting, family feel to their restaurants. The promotion of a good having a good time entices a younger audience to a restaurant, capturing a demographic with constant regeneration and growth. The franchise is one of the biggest in the world, and can be identified by its large yellow “M”, an iconic symbol of the franchise. The colour palette  also encourages eating.


Where and what medium to optimise exposure to my target audience?

Its vital to get a strong understanding of my target audience, and where best to position a campaign to get maximum exposure. It’s an important process to determine the appropriate media to reach the market.



APP – Proposal

Below is a link to my APP proposal. These are the guidelines to my project. Throughout this process, I asked myself a series of questions to refine my intended outcomes and discipline. Although a lot of the thoughts are embryonic at this stage, I think I’ve already begun to get a good direction.


APP Initial Ideas – Mind Maps

To get a focus and a grasp of the direction I wanted to pursue, I drafted some very quick mind maps just to get everything down on paper. This gave me the opportunity to work divergently, and install Intelligent Fast Failure to refine my focus. The proportion of time weighted against the dissertation in terms of credits is much less, so it’s important to consider the time in which I have to do these tasks and create and effective solution to a problem of my creation.



Initially I felt quite anxious about the workload, however this quick process enabled me to settle the nerves and I had already started to narrow down my options. The next stage is to think about my direction further, and create my proposal or brief. This will include answering a series of questions that will eventually give me boundaries in which to explore in my chosen discipline. I will attempt to “chunk” my time and create a rough and realistic time schedule to account for my time spent on the project.