When making an argument or using persuasion, images are useful in that they can be complex and communicate ideas that text alone could not. However, the simultaneous ability of images to be simplistic and natural also makes them ideal for conveying ideas that are modest and stark. The Australian Red Cross combined this ability with text to contradict a common belief among its audience and inspire a specific type of action.
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS) is a humanitarian movement with the International Red Cross that is focused on soliciting donations of two varieties for assistance in medical treatments: cash and blood. The advertisement plays upon this idea of donations by proposing that one is as, if not more, important as the other despite the fact that it may be the less popular of the two.
The overall vision that the ad portrays is blank and void. There are very few colors besides white and the subject matter is reduced to a simple, transparent box with a sign attached. Besides the box, the counter it sits on is plain white and the background is blurred. This has the effect of focusing the viewer’s attention on the donation box and infusing a sense of lacking. ARCBS is communicating that something is needed with the overall tone of the image and pointing to the answer by directing attention to the box.
There are two main elements of the box that the creators of the ad clearly intended on conveying to their audience. The first is the black text attached above the box. The words “Money Isn’t Everything” are purposefully larger than the rest in order to establish the theme of the advertisement. These are the words that relate directly to the main image of the donation box and make an indirect suggestion to the viewers. The subtle message is, “something more is needed from you and the image should tell you what that is.” The second main element is the box itself. The image of the donation box is one that the creators know the public is familiar enough with to understand that it is commonly used to collect financial donations. However, the image of blood within the box, and not money, contradicts this common purpose and informs the audience of the kind of help needed.
The simplicity of an unnatural image like blood within a donation box efficiently grabs attention from the public. Without thinking, people are able to tell that something is “incorrect” about an image like that. So the fact that something is different also tells them that there is an underlying message. If the image was a donation box filled with a few coins, the viewers might not stop to “listen” to the message. Even if the text were more direct and changed to “we also need you to give blood,” the viewer would have turned the magazine page already or turned their eyes to a different billboard. The fact is that an abnormal image, no matter how simple it may seem, perplexes the viewer and draws their interest...