"Historically posters have been inextricably linked with cause-related campaigns. Visually striking, often iconic and frequently iconoclastic, posters grab the attention like no other medium. They effectively help spread a succinct message and in doing so shift attitudes and contribute to significant changes within society." That's the view of Greenpeace Australia Pacific who recently awarded a winner in the Greenpeace Design Awards.
And it seems the winner, out of 1,500 creative entries from 77 countries, did stick to the brief, which was, "to design a poster that delivers the message 'Be a Part of the Action'." The text that accompanies the winning poster, by Sam Dickson, reads "We can't always rely on some else to save the world." Which, I guess, is another way of referencing those famous lines attributed to Mahatma Gandhi:
"Be the change you want to see in the world." or
"You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result"
Though I'm also fond of deaf and blind poliitcal activist Helen Keller's take on personal responsibility:
"I am only one; but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do."
But we digress. Greenpeace had as their aim for the design contest, "to motivate the global creative community to develop visually striking artwork that encourages the public to support Greenpeace and take action on critical environmental issues."
And such visual campaigns have been very effective in the past. The poster child for climate change is the poor beleaguered polar bear. And it largely to Greenpeace that we can attribute this imagery. In 2000 they subverted a Coca Cola advert using polar bears to suggest that Coke's vending machines used HFC gases that were up to 11,000 times more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide (CO2), And that polar bear's ice floes were melting as result.
They also have a lesser profile campaign using that iconic photo of Earth seen from space. With the wording along the lines of: "If you don't care about the environment which planet are you on?"
In related news Greenpeace Australia Pacific are also promoting the moving image, with the Age of Stupid having its Australasian premier release this week (on the 19 August) in Sydney, with a live broadcast to another 50 cinemas in Australia and New Zealand. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring actor Pete Postlethwaite, director Franny Armstrong, Senator Christine Milne (Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) and John Hepburn (Greenpeace Climate Campaign Coordinator).
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