Greenpeace have definitely set out to shock with this print ad they placed in Vice magazine recently to promote their ‘Change your tuna’ campaign.
The take-a-second-look approach certainly gets you to look deeply into what the advert is trying to convey. The uncluttered design draws the focus immediately on to the sandwich which is not what it immediately appears, revealing a tough central message. I, for one, needed to look twice. (There’s a turtle in the sandwich if you haven’t already noticed…)
Whether or not this investment in advertising works is difficult to ascertain. The campaign aims to encourage retailers and brands around the world to move away from destructive and de-populating fishing methods by making consumers aware of the disastrous consequences of poor practice. Obviously the advert does not communicate all these messages in one go, but hopes to spark an interest in the provenance of a lunchtime staple.
The use of strong images to provoke consumer discussion is reminiscent of the pictures of damaged lungs in anti-smoking campaigns. Of course, anti-smoking campaigns are trying to convince addicts to change their behaviour and, however delicious tuna might be, I don’t know many who are addicted to it. But, where anti-smoking initiatives have been successful is where images fit into a wider education of consumers about smoking’s harmful effects, using the likes of education at school and television documentaries.
Greenpeace is focusing this campaign in print, but if they can communicate with consumers through other channels, such as education, they might have a chance to make a more substantial impact on fishing practices.