Look at these three print posters.

Do you notice a pattern?

In the first ad, the main object being marketed is McD’s french fries. But they’ve used the idea of mobile phones (stacked like fries) to convey that people can now order their favorite menu through mobile apps/calling.

In the second one, the creators want to convey that the freedom and rights of the press are in danger. So they’ve married the image of a journalist’s hands being tied with the outline of a pen’s nip. The pen represents journalism and the tied hands represent the shackling of freedom.

In the third poster, the NY Film Academy wanted to convey that avid film writers can apply for their program. So they’ve used the observation that many writers throw hundreds of raw ideas in the dustbin before arriving at their final draft. Then using smart colors (red and cream) they’ve married it with the image of a popcorn tub to signify film writing.

In all cases, we have two objects being blended/married/remixed together to create a special “aha” moment.

While this is not the only technique used in all ads or creative posters, it’s one of the most common ones. It’s also easy to practice and replicate, so that’s good news for beginners.

The simple formula is:

  • Message: What feature, benefit or message do you want to convey?
  • Base: What’s your base product or most recognizable brand-related object?
  • Manipulation (where the magic happens): Which other object or effect can you blend/mix it with to convey the intended effect?

Let’s see some more examples.

  • Message: Nescafe wakes you up!
  • Object & Analogy: Use Nescafe’s distinctly shaped coffee cup as the eye in a rooster (poster 1) or in an alarm clock (poster 2). This is because the rooster and alarm clock are commonly associated with morning wake-up calls.
  • Message: Apply the new Nivea Night Cream before bedtime for smooth skin.
  • Object & Analogy: Use a top shot of the cream box and slightly remove the lid/cap to form the crescent shape between the white cream and the dark cap, the crescent signifying nighttime usage.
  • Message: People are dying of hunger. Donate now on World Food Day.
  • Object & Analogy: Use a fork to create the illusion of a child’s hand begging for food.
  • Message: Eating lollipops/candies rots your teeth.
  • Object & Analogy: Use the pop culture reference of the old classic Pacman game, with the lollipop as Pacman hunting down teeth in place of coins or points, signifying that if you choose candies, it’s “Game Over” for your teeth.

As I mentioned, this is far from the only technique, but it’s quite common and now you’ll start seeing it everywhere.

Try to guess the message, base object, and analogy/creative reference used in the below posters.

I think you’ve caught the drift by now.

So next time you want to get creative, just blend/remix/marry two unrelated objects, concepts, or visual references – it’s that simple!

If you have more examples of this, do share them in the comments below…

One Comment

  1. nandini August 18, 2023 at 2:51 PM - Reply

    this is crazzy!!!

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