Critique of Graphic Advertisement

This ad was featured on various shopping bags in parts of Asia. It was created by the advertising agency Lem, Shanghai, China. Published in 2007, the creative director of this project was Vivo. This advertisement is for the Red Cross as seen by their logo in the bottom right corner. One notices the large bag of blood when first looking at the advertisement. Blood is shocking, something many people don’t like to see and this ad is throwing it in your face. It is the idea of giving blood and giving life. This advertisement is very simple, made up of a photo, a line of text and a logo. The viewers eyes are immediately drawn to the bag of blood and soon after see the tag line “volunteers needed.” This ad is constructed in such a way that it appears the tube to the blood bag is connected to the holder of the actual bag’s hand. This ad is shocking, clearly making a statement that something most everyone has to give is greatly needed. If these shopping bags were distributed at numerous retail locations, many people would be walking around with this, proving the point that there is so much potential for people to give blood but it’s not being done. Giving to the red cross doesn’t necessarily mean monetary donations. Not only is the ad shocking, it’s also sad. People are dying from complications that could be solved by a blood transfusion but because people are not giving enough blood, a life that could be easily saved is lost.

There are many visual components of this design that help further its cause. The line of the blood bag to the carrier’s hand is simple and authentic , giving the viewer an almost cringing feeling of reality. It’s that single line that transfers something so lifesaving. The form in this picture is the bag of blood. It’s very realistic and takes up most of the design. The ad is only 2 colors, red and white. The red of the text has a lower value than the blood. This ad is balanced, with the blood bag and text both centered. The bag is generally symmetrical and acts as the unifier, pulling the whole image together. Red symbolizes blood, love, strength danger or passion – all things that greatly speak to the cause of the red cross. The blankness or whiteness of the background represents reverence and purity but also cold, clinical and sterile, evoking images of a hospital or white lab coat.

This ad is speaking out to the common man saying ‘you too can be a volunteer.’ It’s about untapped potential, but also serious importance. It’s about something simple, yet something so complex. It’s about life, death, the common man and the act of giving. This is not a bag of blood. It’s a symbol. Nor is this literally life but signs and symbols may have many more significant social implications than the actual object. The semiotics calls attention to the cultural aspects of this image. What does it mean in today’s culture? Not enough people care or enough isn’t being done. This advertisement makes meaning, it goes beyond the actual image of a blood bag. Both the blood and the text are signifiers. What is signified is images of people helping, people dying, hardship, strife, love, giving. The ad brings to mind many different images. Blood has a connotation of death. One associates health and wellness or serious loss with blood. The narrative this design invokes is the fight for life and the chance people can give to others. This ad can relate to everyone. It’s an act everyone can engage in, giving or receiving blood. When I look at it, I think of the opportunities I’ve had to give blood, but have been too scared to because of the large needle. I look at this ad and think how silly it is that the minor detail of a needle deters me from doing an act that could restore someone’s health. I feel remorse but know I can still give, I can still make a difference.

The design of this ad is effective and visually stimulating. It’s simple, yet profound. It makes the viewer think about it’s meaning. The solution to the problem is so simple, just like this ad. It effectively communicates a message and leaves it resounding in the viewer’s mind and imagination. Life and death is a message that everyone has some sort of experience with, so this ad can relate to everyone in some way or another.


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