Applied Metaphor Campaign

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Applied Metaphor Ad Campaign (your assignment)

Your task is to incorporate metaphor into a unifying graphic design series of applications. Think of this series as a campaign. For our purpose, a campaign could take the form of advertising or be purely informational, be for a company/firm or an individual, a “cause” or an event. You can also choose to do the campaign for a new single “line” of products within the company or for the entire company. The key here is that all applications are integrated as a part of a common purpose. In other words there is a cohesive well-thought-out strategy as to what applications are made and in what order (sequence) they are delivered and how they would be released to the public. Each part of the campaign has a specific role to play in addressing key selling points for the client.

Take your main clues for the campaign from the mission statement of the company. The company may have both a vision statement as well as a mission statement. If so, look at both of them for words that describe the aspirations, goals or qualities that the company is trying to achieve with whatever they make. Those words are what you will be trying to  illustrate or describe metaphorically. This is necessary because the words themselves are abstract, they are not actual objects or things themselves.

The term lifestyle can denote the interests, opinions, behaviors, and behavioral orientations of an individual, group, or culture. It is a choice a person makes about how they prefer to live and behave, according to their attitudes, tastes, and values. It is many times the single most motivating factor influencing individual decisions on purchasing, attendance or participation.


  • Metaphor discussion in class—
    • What is it?
    • How do I use it?
    • Why use it?
  • Brainstorming exercise in class
    • 5 written Metaphors for your product/service for each of the five senses.(a total of 25) Apply these to your “company”. If you can fairly easily see some sort of sensory association, then this is a good indication that your “company” goals can be represented metaphorically. If you cannot easily do this, then you may need to pick a different “company” for this assignment.
      • Smell
      • Sight
      • Touch
      • Hearing
      • Taste
  • Define your target audience using at least 4 “defining” characteristics. A defining characteristic is one which will influence what you do or not do design-wise. Examples of these are:
    • age range (ex. 30-50 years old)
    • gender
    • education (ex. college degree)
    • geographical region (ex. northern Cali)
    • urban/rural
  • Identify 4-5 major characteristics or selling points about your company or product. Examples of these might be:
    • Honesty
    • Durability
    • Safety
    • Cost Effective
    • Efficient
    • Environmentally Friendly
    • Organic


  • Examples of these are:
    • My product is as Honest as ___________________.
    • My product is as Durable as ___________________.
    • My product is as Efficient as ___________________.
    • My product is as Environmentally Friendly as ___________________.
  • Fill in the blank with what comes to mind as a a well-know representation of the particular selling point.
  • If that representation is something that your target audience can be expected to know or understand then you have found a possible metaphor.
  • Now you must illustrate that choice in a style that will be appealing to your target audience. This is where your defining characteristics will influence what you do. Examples of things that can be influenced by target audience characteristics are:
    • Color choices
    • Image treatments (graphic, photographic, illustration, computer, etc.)
    • Symbol choices
    • Visual References (people, places, things, situation, etc.)

Create a tagline or slogan which will help make the connection between the product/company/issue and the metaphor image. This slogan might be one or two words, a phrase or a complete sentence. The key is how the words interact with the image. They should not both “say” the same thing. Instead both should compliment each other to create an effective Gestalt.


  • Design applications can take many forms (website, poster, magazine ad, billboard, media spot, flyer, etc.)
  • Three is a minimum number for any campaign.
  • Your choices should be decided on according to several variables:
    • Target audience (what applications are most effective for your chosen audience)
    • What specific characteristic or selling point are you trying to emphasize?
    • What is the “Story” you are trying to tell?
    • Overall timeline
    • Budget (what would you expect you company to have available)

Two Student examples of visual metaphor:

Process, PART TWO

  • Know your product/service, target audience and client—the mission statement is your primary source for this, but it is not the only source. Look at customer reviews, Yelp, ratings, interviews, articles in papers or magazines, reports on Utube and other social media to get a more complete view.
  • Identify a specific audience for your campaign. Characterize this audience (demographic) with at least 5 different criteria (education level, age range, gender, lifestyle choices, where they live, etc)
  • Develop campaign concept or theme. You will need to give this concept form by developing a slogan or catch phrase/tagline as well as a unifying visual look to “Drive” or brand the campaign, making it both visually and verbally memorable. This is perhaps the most important single aspect of the entire campaign. Successful concepts are built on a strong foundation of understanding client, product and audience paired with a unique clever and creative new approach to “getting the word out”.
  • Storyboard the sequence and nature of what you need to create in order to have a successful campaign.
  • Document your entire process
  • Final formal presentation

Concept Statement: (develop a meaningful one)

Your concept statement is a phrase/sentence which distills the overriding theme into a few words. But first you must have a well-thought out theme to drive the campaign.

Develop your theme with two main criteria in mind:

  1. How will the concepts inherent in this theme help to sell products? How do the characteristics translate to the parent company through this thematic “atmosphere”?
  2. How does your theme help create a “lifestyle” image that would be typically aspired to or sought by the target audience


Universal Design Brief

Express the Essence

Create Emotional Impact

Deliver the gift of delight

Compel people to think

Inspire people to act

At Sony,
our mission is to be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.

Our unlimited passion for technology, content and services,

and relentless pursuit of innovation,
drives us to deliver

ground-breaking new excitement and entertainment
in ways that only Sony can.

Creating unique new cultures and experiences.

Everything we do, is to move you emotionally.

Be Moved.

(Got Milk?,

Geico Insurance…)

Make a Move Now

A metaphor of Shoes
A through the line campaign for GTB Asset management ltd using ‘the shoe’ as a visual metaphor to elicit in the consumers mind a need to invest today.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 2.58.56 PM

Jafflechutes Campaign

Marketing Analysis

  • identify the target audience
  • Know the product or service market niché—who is the competition
    • identify similar products, the direct competition
    • identify alternative choices, the indirect competition
  • Determine feasibility and costs
  • Know your Product or Service
  • Know what specific quality or characteristic of your product or service you are emphasizing
  • Create a unique connection between word and picture—tagline and image
  • carefully plan out the specific design applications and how they relate between each other in delivering the message or information to the target audience.

Multi-part campaign (examples might include the following design applications, Think of sequence, priority.

Tell A Compelling Story:

  • Packaging
  • Media
  • Outdoor advertising
  • Wearables
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Publications

Final campaign requirements: (you must have a minimum of the following)

Apply Basic Branding and Visual Identity Principles:

  •  Process booklet or other form of documentation of process development
  •  Thumbnails
  •  Development sketches
  •  Typography specs
  •  Color applications
  •  Written stages
  •  Ad Concept driven by metaphor
  • Tagline
  • Target Market Analysis

Formal Presentation  

  1. Use the assignment requirements above (the brief) to tell you want you must cover in your presentation. In other words, I expect (and your client would as well) to see you address each requirement specifically.
  2. This is the stage where you sell the campaign to your client.
  3. Know who your (presentation) audience is (typically your client) and what motivates them as well as what turns them off.
  4. Define the problem clearly and concisely
  5. Outline what the key elements or selling points are and therefore will be emphasized in the campaign.
  6. You will now have to incorporate layout and typographic design into your final presentation as forms of visual organization, style and creativity in making the “sell”.
  7. Consider Powerpoint, Keynote or other digital ways to enhance your presentation.
  8. Dress business casual
  9. Incorporate Public Speaking guidelines
  10. Be sure to Practice!

Presentation Rubric


  • Eye contact
  • Confidence/Presence
  • Knowledge of topic
  • Sequence/order of presentation, logical conclusion
  • Dress appropriate

Campaign Design

  • Clear Statement of underlying Concept
  • Clear and engaging Tagline
  • Clear application of concept to campaign

“Connect the Dots”

  • Sequence
  • Clear understanding of target audience/demographic
  • Logical products of design
  • Assurance that you understand your client’s needs/problem
  • Logical application of metaphor as tool of communication
  • Clear summary

Use of metaphor

  • Convincing persuasive tool of communication
  • Understandable use of metaphor
  • Logical and consistent application throughout campaign
  • Balance between image and words

Creativity and Craftsmanship

  • Uniqueness
  • Attention to detail
  • Creative and consistent use of metaphor

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