Advertisement: Consumerism

These advertisements from Cordaid, were very aggressive I thought. The contents of each picture are basically the same: an impoverished African holding a very materialistic item. The advertisements first grab your attention because to the general public this is ‘unnatural’. The size and placement of the text lead you to look at it second. It is a comparison of two items. The common item that many of us have access to vs the items we take for granted that are unavailable to the African in the picture (according to how the ad presents itself.) Although these ads only state two facts (prices of the two items) they basically jab at the reader accusing them of denying a person access to water or challenging them to provide a person a home for 6.50 euros. I would categorize this as ethos because of the moral approach the designers took trying to take everyone on a guilt trip. I believe its also directed towards the middle class and above because the items the people are holding are all items that are usually common. Moving away from the contents of the ads, the filter on the pictures affects the overall mood of the advertisement. The subtle grey tone gives a very depressing, cold mood, 1. to make the audience serious about the matter presented and I believe 2. it also suggests the corruption brought about by consumerism. Usually african savannas that you see in pictures are very warm and Lion King-ish but once the new element of this commercial product is introduced into the nature, everything becomes cold and lifeless. Although I do admit these advertisements did prick my conscience a bit, I can’t say I felt compelled to donate. The picture seems too surreal to move me any further beyond a prick. The unnatural color as well as the clash of cultures within the picture just threw me off. One of the first thoughts that came to was actually not “Oh maybe I should donate a euro or two” but “Did he or she get to keep that after the photoshoot?”


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