Advertising design and its ability to initiate social change
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The modern world is faced with countless questions surrounding the sustainability of many fields ranging from the environment, to societal and health issues. Changes must be made by vast quantities of individuals to ensure longevity and viability for not only ourselves, but future generations. Campaigning for change plays a fundamental role within the overall process, especially campaigning that is relevant to the modern-day audience. However, an understanding of the most effective way to do this is lacking. This project is centred on one particular aspect of these campaigns, their visual communications. More specifically, the study focuses itself on the digital based visuals of these campaigns that are deployed using social networking sites such as Facebook. The overarching objective of this study is to explore whether the design of these digital communications can influence campaign success, with an aim to understand how social network advertisements can be effectively designed to persuade the modern audience to change their attitudes and behaviours for the better. Within the context of this research, these communications are referred to as social change advertisements. Little academic study has based itself directly on this specific aspect of social change campaigning. Rather, examinations are focused on the development of campaign strategies and messages. To explore these communications sufficiently, a mixed methodology was employed; interviews, a content analysis, focus groups and surveys. Incorporating professional and public perspectives, the combination of responses proved beneficial for uncovering the most successful ways to design, deploy and measure social change campaign effects with a digital focus. In extension, it facilitated an understanding of how to design prosperous digital social change advertisements, informed by practitioners and reaffirmed by the audience. Study results indicate the powerful influence of visual design on social change advertisements that are deployed using Facebook and their campaigns overall. Furthermore, it details the varying design choices that must be made in order to develop these communications most successfully. It is recommended that social campaigners acknowledge visual design as an influential component when developing campaigns. This study proposes a checklist of design elements to aid the digital advertisement creation process. This checklist highlights the many design choices that must be made and the relevant campaign components that should be used to inform these selections for best possible results. The study recommends future research within the area of social change advertising as a direct result of its findings. In conclusion, it highlights future avenues for examination in three areas specifically: 1. Social networking sites as channels for social change campaigning, focusing on algorithms and analytics in particular; 2. Effectively measuring long term behaviour change; 3. Researching social change advertisements with a broader scope.
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