A great ad design is a powerful medium that can open our eyes and make us think in one fell swoop. In a world that’s saturated by generic marketing, it can help a brand cut through the noise and can completely change the way we see a product or campaign.
The very best ad designs connect with us on an emotional level. They use hard-hitting messages, striking imagery and clever taglines to evoke feeling and inspire action. To give you an example of what we mean and inspire your next campaign, we’ve gathered together 10 of our favourite ad designs that are sure to leave a lasting mark…
Designed by a team at McCann Worldgroup India, this brilliant ad campaign was used by Penguin Books to promote its audiobooks. It features striking illustrations of authors William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain shaped as headphones, whispering their tales into the ears of listeners.
Moms Demand Action
This hard-hitting campaign was devised by Moms Demand Action to address the ludicrous ironies that surround gun law in America. Each poster in the series features two children, one carrying a gun and one carrying an object which has been banned in the US in order to ‘protect them’. The tagline ‘Guess which one’ highlights how absurd it is that a harmless object such as a Kinder Surprise or a book (in this case of this campaign, Little Red Riding Hood, which was banned in two California school districts due to its brief reference to alcohol) can be deemed dangerous when children can so easily access a gun.
This fantastic campaign from Whiskas features a domestic cat doing anything a big cat can do, all thanks to its basic instincts (and a good dollop of the right cat food!). Developed by Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO and shot by photographer George Logan, it’s a concept we can’t get enough of. We particularly love the shot below, where our furry feline is seemingly chasing down a gazelle with the speed, agility and determination of a full-grown cheetah!
With the help of advertising agency Bittersuite, non-profit organisation SANCCOB developed a creative series of print ads to highlight the rapid and critical decline of the African penguin. Using a clever optical illusion to grab the viewer’s attention, the design draws inspiration from an optician’s eye chart, filtering the images towards the bottom of the page where the tagline reads: ‘See the reality before it’s too late’.
A poster campaign with great delivery (pun intended!), Fed Ex have created a brilliant visual to promote their express service. Using a map of the world painted onto a wall with a parcel being passed easily across two ‘continents’, it suggests to viewers that their worldwide delivery service is quick and easy, and it doesn’t even need a tagline to get the message across.
There’s nothing like a good love story to sell a product! Scrabble teamed up with marketing agency Lola Madrid for a series of ads that use anagrams to capture the imaginations of their audience. Their primary goal was ‘to convey that words are magical and powerful and that they connect us with people.’ They certainly achieved that with this, we were hooked from the very first letter!
If you’re looking for motivation to go for a run, just check out this incredible ad from muscle relief spray, Reflex. In association with the London Marathon, it features a mini re-creation of London on the sole of a running shoe, suggesting that no matter how many aches and pains you get while running, you’re bound to go the distance with Reflex spray.
To advertise the fact that a VW Amarok can get more than 620 miles from a single tank of fuel, Volkswagen teamed up with ad agency Below. Their concept features a car key with images such as a mountain landscape or safari carved from its grooves. Pair that with the tagline ‘turn on your adventure’ and the result is clean, effective and completely inspired.
This hard-to-swallow campaign from environmental organisation WWF conveys how dangerously close we are to destroying our ecosystem. Using haunting imagery and cut-throat copy, it turns our fear of sharks into a fear of something much more terrifying – the notion that these incredible creatures, along with many others, will soon be gone forever.
In November 2012, Melbourne Australia’s Metro train system released a public safety video that was like no other. ‘Dumb Ways To Die’ featured animated characters put in idiotically fatal situations and set it to a comedic theme tune. While its content is bright and funny, its purpose is to warn people of the dangers of trains. The video very quickly became a viral hit and won countless awards for its creativity. To this day the campaign is still going strong, with print ads, apps and even a collection of plush toys helping to bring the message home.
Do you have a favourite ad design that has helped to inspire your work? Let us know!