In the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) approach towards raising awareness of global epidemics, the first thing that drew my attention to this advertisement was the manner in which the ice cream cone contained some swirling colorful ice cream. It looked like a delicious mouthwatering mixture of blueberry and vanilla flavors, although what was interesting was that it was dripping down the sides of the cone. It was only upon closer inspection that I realized that this was in fact a globe that was melting. This hugely significant image quickly becomes the focal point of the advertisement and is further emphasized by the solid dark background, solid plain color of the cone and the somewhat surreal halo of light that appears to emit from it. Created by the advertising agency VVL BBDO, the mission or the purpose behind this complex ad is “to halt and reverse the destruction of our environment”.
The creator’s unique choice of symbols in portraying the earth as a scoop of ice cream melting on a cone is a literal way of expressing the issue of global warming. The globe appears to be in motion, with the ocean and land blending into one another, partially dripping down the cone and slowly dissolving away symbolizing the devastating impact of climate change. The use of certain color palettes, movement techniques and textures, serves to create an aura of depression and sorrow. This, in combination with the gradation of blue hues and values around the cone, adds to the dramatic effect of a crisis that is gradually unfolding. In addition to these elements, the employment of a dark plain matte background evokes a sense of balance and unity within the picture. It serves to simplify the message it is trying to convey, by avoiding the chaos of different colors in the background. It also provides the stark contrast that is needed to highlight the importance of the issue and lends the picture an almost eerie quality.
Naturally, an excellent graphic ad would not require words or texts to convey its message. At first glance, this advertisement gives the viewer a sense of reassurance because of the food it is depicting. It plays on the fact that everyone loves ice cream, a traditional comfort food in most societies, and so immediately draws the attention of the onlooker towards this apparently surreal melting ice cream cone surrounded by a halo of light. Ice cream is typically associated with frivolity, feeling good and enjoyment. That’s why I think the semiotic devices that are embodied within this concept are so clever and thought provoking. On the one hand, you have a symbol that is associated with light-heartedness and joy and yet it is being used to dramatic effect by denoting an issue that is extremely serious and depressing. The signifier in the piece is the image of planet earth as being the ice cream part of the cone and what is signified is the concept of global warming. This is something easily and immediately perceived by all the people exposed to this advertisement, which is what makes the ad so very effective.
Another part, which I found very intelligent and interesting, is that there is almost a naive carelessness that has allowed the ice cream to melt and drip in the first place. This is symbolic of the casual approach that we have had towards the issues of pollution, burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. An adult’s instinct when he/she would see their cone dripping would be to immediately wipe the drips from the side. This is exactly what the ad wants us to do. It wants us to act with urgency before the whole scoop of ice cream melts away. It appeals successfully to our instinct to act.
When it comes to judging the piece, just the mere ability of capturing and drawing in the audience would classify it as a good advertisement. It’s evident that a lot of thought and planning went into displaying the overall concept that shows in its execution. Although the subject matter is far from unimaginative, it conveys a valuable principle and idea effectively. The layout of the issue simplifies the concept to a range of viewers, without any limitations such as gender, nationality or age. That being said, it affects the audience in a way where it urges them to expand their knowledge on the topic and inspires them to help reach out for the solution. All in all, the ad effectively proves one of many WWF missions, contains various elements and principles of design, illustrates a clear statement and most importantly, provokes the audience to make a change.
Source (for the picture): http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/environmental-ads-44102408