The posters I chose are campaigns for foodbanks. The design of the Ottawa Foodbank poster features a light switch in the centre, which shape is repeated by a slice of cheese above the switch in the upper third of the poster. The copy and logo are in the lower third. There are only three colours used-green (background), white (switch and text) and yellow (cheese), making the design even more clear without any distractions. The objects are represented by photographs with drop shadows which refer to the real-life aspect of the problem and create a sense of immediacy. The viewer is addressed by a powerful, empathy evoking question that refers directly to the images above. Underneath it there is an explanation to the images above, but more to reiterate the message.
The Bank Mazon poster shows a photograph of a sewer, partially filled with clean white plates suggesting it is used as a dish drying rack. The white plates contrast the dark and dirty street and sewer, which also creates an atmosphere of hopelessness and indignity.
There is little text, just a slogan and a reference to the website with a logo. The subject forms leading lines guiding the viewer’s eye to the website and logo in the bottom right corner. Again, the slogan refers directly to and offers an explanation of the image. The plates in the sewer are a powerful metaphor for people that eat on the streets.
The style of the photograph recalls documentary photography, showing the subject not from above, but almost on eye level, as if the viewer sits on the street, making it even more personal. The viewer is transported into the situation by the angle chosen.
Using pathos, both campaigns appeal to us on an emotional level, successfully evoking empathy. Many other foodbank campaigns use imagery of smiling children, cans or helping hands. Those are familiar images, easily associated with the foodbank, but with no real impact and not able to create a sense of urgency and immediacy. These posters above, however, capture the viewers’ attention with a clear layout using realistic and recognisable imagery in an unexpected context.
Fig. 1 50 Strategy and Creative, Social Change campaign, n.D.
Accessed 17 May 2022
Fig. 2 Shalmor Avnon Amichay / Young & Rubicam, Bank Mazon campaign, 2007
Accessed 17 May 2022
“MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.” MAZON. Last modified December 6, 2021. https://mazon.org/.
Ottawa Food Bank. Last modified May 5, 2021. https://www.ottawafoodbank.ca/.
“Social Change.” Fifty Strategy + Creative. Last modified March 11, 2019. https://fifty-sc.com/sectors/social-change/.
“Too Many People Eat on the Streets.” Osocio. Last modified December 7, 2014. https://osocio.org/message/too-many-people-eat-on-the-streets/.