Sunday, 18 November 2012

Advertising Campaign

This is a project that I did over a period of 1 year for my B-Tech degree in Visual Communication Design. 

You're right, it'll never be you :)

The youth don't donate blood as often as they should and if they do, they do so once every year or two. After school, life just gets too complicated. There are jobs to adhere to and parties to attend to. It's easy to forget that there are people out there who need us, who need you. If you don't see or hear about it, why care? And heaven forbid if it's 5 minutes out of the way. Donating blood regularly is actually important, it keeps people alive.

This advertising campaign shows scenes of death or where death has been. This is the result of in depth research and a survey conducted in and around the Durban area. The biggest motivator for people to donate, is seeing someone in serious need or even dying. There are 8 different scenes that signifies death as there are 8 different blood types. Each scene reveals a different blood type in a unique manner, subject to the nature of the scene. Detailed body copy, describing the atmosphere of the scene adds to the impact. The catch phrase " You're right, it'll never be you :)" is as a result of the youth believing they will never be in a situation like the scenes demonstrated. Reminiscent of them never needing blood or having a family member or someone close pass away from not getting the  right blood.
This IS the reality of it and the youth's conscience should get them to a donor clinic soon...

The thought of being able to help someone through the traits and skills I've obtained throughout the years, was the first thing that came to my mind when I started this (2012) year. As a graphic designer with a passion for photography, it was only fitting that I do my BTECH based on this notion.

After going to the South African National Blood Service's (SANBS) head office in Pinetown, I found out what their main objectives are for 2012 / 2013. On the top of the list, was: 'how to retain scholars after school to donate blood and what would do so?' This meant convincing 18 to 25 year olds to go and donate blood continuously. Because I fall in that age group and also stopped donating after I left school, it just felt even more fitting that I rise to the challenge. 

Once I started researching the areas of blood donation, it quickly became clear that donor recruitment was a topic that was well covered and donor retention not so much. Information was there, but it was extremely outdated. Most which date back to the 1990's. This is a problem as times have changed and most of the information would be irrelevant today. Updated and good information was hard to find and dealt more with the experience donors should have rather than the marketing aspects. The message behind the marketing campaign is what I was after. This I found very safe and restricted as there are rules and guidelines on what to use and what not to. Many of these are set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and others are guidelines stated in various Journals from previous research. For this campaign to work, I knew I would have to come very close to breaking some of these rules for it to be contemporary, but still stay within the guidelines.

This campaign is aimed at getting young adults that have finished school back into the habit of regularly donating blood. Whilst in school, blood donation is simple. The SANBS frequently have blood drives at various schools, which makes it easily accessible for scholars. When they do donate, it allows for them to skip a class, which is often the main reason for donating. For an added bonus, they also receive some free juice and biscuits. Now after school, this changes entirely. The objective now becomes more complex and difficult. These young adults now need to be motivated in a different way to donate blood and continue to do so regularly. Incentives can help, but only to a certain extent. There are very strict rules set by the WHO when using any sort of reward, as individual incentives aren't allowed, especially things like cell phones, vouchers or money. Region based competition incentives are fine, but the items' value must be very low. This is where a successful advertising campaign is needed. After extensive market research, it became clear that this campaign needs to speak to a target market of 18 - 25 year olds, who are African, Caucasian, Indian, Coloured, religious, non-religious, rich, poor, working, unemployed and studying.

This is challenging, as the concept needs to be powerful enough to reach all the intended targeted audiences, yet subtle and neutral in terms of not offending anyone. This is done as a standard advertising campaign with the use of photography. This includes planning of scenes, locations, props, crafting and lighting. Playing the role of an Art Director, Photographer and Copywriter. After concluding my research, I started to plan what exactly I'm going to be photographing. Once I finalized my ideas, it was time to decide on locations. Some requiring more effort than others to organize. As each photo shoot and location is different, each prop had to be unique. These were made with a specific blood type in mind. After this, the photo shoots started, each with their own challenges. Finally, the process of editing followed. The finishing touches were added along with slogans/body copy completing my "Death will come" campaign.

Applied design:
After final conceptualization, in depth planning for each scene followed. This includes location, lighting, props and composition. Finding the perfect location can often be the most challenging of these categories. Even after finding the location, getting the correct authorization can prove next to impossible if not a complete dead end. Choosing the right time of day is the next obstacle which will form the appropriate atmosphere for the scene. One hour after sunrise or one hour before sunset is perfect for outdoor scenes. Some indoor shoots where outside or window light is necessary, also depend on the time of day. Otherwise, you have complete reliance on camera flash equipment. Well before each photo shoot, the correct props need to be crafted or prepared. These will be explained with each scene for the campaign. Lastly, the composition needs to be creative, yet structured for the scene to be aesthetically pleasing and communicate.

Once the image is completed, along with the illustration, logo and slogan, appropriate body copy was added to every individual photo. Each scene’s body copy is unique and deals with its content in a descriptive and even poetic style. It reads in first person, as if you were right there at the scene.

Empty Spaces scene:
This scene, depicts a space, which used to be an area of comfort to an elderly person. A space now left with nothing more than the materials left behind, completely lifeless.

For this scene to work, it needed to look like an elderly person’s home, complete with furnisher and decorations. Visible right in front, is the crafted book cover prop with the wording: Blood Type AB+ Availability 0%. This plays as the last book this person read before they passed away due to the lack of this particular blood type. 

Body copy:  
The day is bright and pleasant. Birds are singing in the trees. The garden is full of life, yet there’s a very unsettling feeling inside. No voices, no laughter, no life at all. Just the space of an old man, left to gather dust. So close, but yet so far. The battle for cancer almost won, if only the AB positive wasn’t all gone... 

Final Image:


Crash scene:
In this scene, an area of a car crash that has recently happened is seen. All that remains is the memory of what has happened here just a few days ago.

To make this scene look authentic, there needed to be tire marks on the grass with a cliff that follows. These skid marks needed to be self made with my own vehicle. To complete the scene, the appropriate props needed to be added. First a cross and flowers to symbolize some has passed away at this site. Secondly some crash debris. Broken taillight and glass needed to be obtained and scattered across the area. Finally, a worn and bent number plate needed to be present to complete the scene. Designed and crafted carefully, as the number of letters and spaces used were limited. This prop shows the wording: B- AVAIL 0 (Blood Type B- Availability 0%) This is the required blood type that could’ve saved this the deceased in this case.

Body copy:
You wake up in your vehicle. There are shards of glass in your neck. You are upside down. Your legs are stuck between the dashboard and the seat. You can’t feel them. You can’t move them. You hear voices. It’s the EMT’s. You try to hear what they’re saying. It sounds like they’re talking over the radio. You clearly hear them saying: “What do you mean there’s no B negative?...” 

Final Image: 

Coffin scene:
For this next scene, the thought of a child passing away, needed to be clear. This scene is inside a small funeral home chapel with a baby/child’s coffin on display.

This scene is very straight forward. It’s a traditional funeral service where the coffin is put on view. The room needed to look authentic with real flower bouquets and complete with a real baby/child coffin. On top of the coffin, is a crafted Perspex sign that reads: Blood Type O neg Availability 0%. This is the blood type that could’ve saved this child. 

Body copy:
The smell of lavender fills the room. Outside it’s sunny, but yet a little gloom. You hear the beautiful tune of a piano, but it’s muffled by the cries of those around you. Some you have never seen in your life. It’s a sad gathering of young and old, but if there had only been A negative, maybe the child in the box’s story could’ve been told... 

Final Image: 

Cemetery scene:
Depicted in this scene, is a gravestone in a cemetery. The final resting place for this person and many others.

This scene relies 100% on the location and the atmosphere. It needed to have a perfect, lifeless surrounding. Picking the correct gravestone proved challenging as the correct letters needed to be one the gravestone already. For this scene no prop was crafted, but instead the message is retouched onto the stone itself. The lettering for the used image came from another gravestone I shot as a backup. The lettering reads: Blood Type B pos Availability 0. That is the blood type essential for saving this person, yet he/she now lies 6 feet under. 

Body copy:
The air is still. The trees are quiet. The digger has been busy as the smell of fresh soil is ever present. The atmosphere is dark, just as the peoples outfits. Tears are falling, more than their umbrellas would cover and none that their dark shades could hide. Beautiful flowers placed on this day, if there had been B Positive, no life would’ve had to wither away... 

Final Image: 

Crematorium scene:
This scene, shows the inside of an incinerator at a crematorium. If chosen not to get buried, this is the last place you visit while your body is still recognizable.

For this scene, a willing crematorium was vital. Once found, the shooting proved extremely challenging. The heat coming out of the incinerator, even whilst off, is absolutely unbearable. The shoot had to be rushed as the heat would damage equipment and bodies needed to be incinerated. Lighting and composition was key in this shoot. The prop crafted here, is a pair of dog tags on a neck chain left behind by the deceased. The tags reads as follows: Blood type O neg Availability 0%. This is the blood type needed in this case to save the person incinerated.

Body copy:
A sauna comes to mind, but not today, as this place is not for play. Many come through here, big and small, the way they leave though, isn’t the same at all. Prepped and suited, in with the casket, parting as bone and dust, ready to be compacted. Finely crushed to fit the urn, if there had been O Negative, there’d be no need for this flesh to burn... 

Final Image: 

Morgue scene:
For this last scene, the inside of a morgue’s drawers/fridges/trays are displayed. The body’s last stop before the funeral takes place.

The cold steel of the many trays are vital for it to work, thus a willing mortuary is essential. In this case, DUT sister campus, Ritson, had a morgue that allowed me to create this scene. Displayed are cadavers wrapped up on trays and blurred in the background, but still distinguishable. Good composition and lighting complete the scene with a gurney close up with a name tag reading: Blood Type A neg Availability 0%. This is the blood type that was needed to save one of the persons’ life in this case.

Body copy:
The room is cold, almost freezing. It’s dead quite, like everyone is sleeping. The light illuminates the surgical steel, incredibly neat and clean, no dust you can feel. Chemicals are used to preserve, but the smell haunts and is disgusting.If there had been AB Negative, there wouldn’t be so many bodies and counting... 

Final Image: 


Gurney scene:
In this scene, the end of a gurney used in a morgue is displayed with the feet of a child sticking out from under the blanket.

The only way this scene can work, is with the use of a real gurney used in mortuaries. Finding a willing mortuary proved nearly impossible. Again I was able to photograph this scene thanks to DUT’s Ritson campus. Composition was the key element for this scene. In the original photo, a strange shadow kept coming up on the photos, so I had to reposition the gurney to compensate for this. After the photo shoot, the shadow never returned... Lighting was used to focus right in front, where the feet of a child with a crafted toe tag prop that reads: Blood Type A pos Availability 0% is visible. This is the blood type that could’ve saved this child’s life in this case. 

Body copy:
You regain conscientiousness. You try to move, but you can’t. Your vision is blurred. There are Doctors all around you, with scalpels and drills in hand. The bright lights make it even harder to see. You can make out there’s blood, it’s everywhere. Can this really be happening to me? You hear the Doctor shouting: “We need A Positive right away!” You feel tired. You can’t stay awake. Your eyes start to close as the light fades to grey... 

Final Image:

Ukuzila scene:
This scene depicts African culture when a family member has passed away. The placing of a black piece of fabric on the shoulder is traditional.

Shown is a young African male with a black piece of fabric on his shoulder. Traditional customs aren’t always used in today’s  modern society. Staying inside the house is also traditional for family members. As seen, the young man in the scene is more contemporary and modern, though still wearing darker clothing. Right underneath the piece of fabric is a crafted, shirt design, which states: Blood Type O+ Availability 0%. In this case, this is the required blood type that could’ve saved his loved one.

Body copy:
This house is quiet, yet many are present. The sun is bright, but  inside is dark and depressant. You have no appetite and you can’t sleep, you feel empty like a part of you is missing and it hurts  deep. No will for fun, no will for games. A mind that’s broken,  only bittersweet memories it contains. Nothing’s right, everything feels wrong, why wasn’t there any O Positive, then mom wouldn’t have gone?.... 

Final Image: 


Taking on a campaign like this has definitely challenged me as a designer, especially as I was the only person working on this project. Accommodating various roles like, art director, photographer, copy writer and various other design roles. I needed to know exactly what I needed to do, how to do it and when I needed to do it by. My general knowledge when it comes to design, keeping on schedule and making sure I manage my time correctly and photographic skills / knowledge has significantly improved. I believe have successfully completed what I set out to do. This project has made me an improved all rounded graphic designer. I now have greater confidence as a designer / photographer to take on any job that comes my way. 

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