Applied Metaphor Campaign

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Assignment: Applied Metaphor Ad Campaign

Your task is to incorporate metaphor as a means of visually unifying a marketing campaign. Your campaign needs to include a series of at least three applications. Be careful to define your visual campaign theme broadly enough to allow for variations between applications yet specific enough to be understood as a “series” of related information. The key here is that the underlying purpose of the metaphor is twofold; 1) to be eye catching/unique and 2) be unifying across all applications.

The subject of your campaign could be in the form of advertising or be purely informational. It could 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 a company or for the entire company itself. The key here is that all applications are cleverly united by the use of visual metaphor and integrated as a part of a common purpose. In other words, each application has a very specific purpose or role to play in the overall campaign. 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 then addresses key selling points for the client.

The term lifestyle choices 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. Lifestyle choices are largely driven by aspiration. In other words, choices we make about how we want to live, not necessarily how we are currently living. It is many times the single most motivating factor influencing individual decisions on purchasing, attendance or participation.

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PROCESS—what steps to take 

WHAT IS VISUAL METAPHOR?—an image used to clarify an otherwise abstract idea

  • 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


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MARKETING ANALYSIS—a close look at the variables affecting the target market

  • Determine feasibility and costs—what is achievable and appropriate for your company? Generally speaking the smaller the company is the smaller their budget for advertising and promotion. Also smaller companies generally require more concrete/realistic approaches because they will not be able to afford a wide distribution of their marketing materials and their message must be understandable at first sight.
  • Know the company, product or service market niché.
    • For this assignment the market niché is your choice. You might go out and interview a company (similar to what we did in GDII). This step of course will make your experience even more real but you also have the choice of simply making up the company or using a real company but not actually talking to them.
    • identify similar products, the direct competition
    • identify alternative choices, the indirect competition
    • who is the competition
  • Identify a specific audience for your campaign. This is your target audience (demographic) using at least 4 “defining” characteristics. Ask yourself, who is your campaign specifically trying to reach, or currently not reaching? Then, pick characteristics which will influence what you do or not do design-wise to effectively reach them. These are characteristics which will help you make decisions about color, type, composition, applications, wording, image treatment, style, etc. Examples of some of these defining characteristics are:
    • lifestyle choices (you must use this characteristic)
    • age range (ex. 30-50 years old)
    • gender
    • education (ex. college degree)
    • geographical region (ex. northern Cali)
    • urban/rural
    • Your goal is to “know” this target group as you would your group of best friends. If you were to give the members of the target audience a birthday gift you would know what choices would be exactly perfect for them, much like you would when giving a gift to your best friend. Feel it
    • 6 Steps to Define Your Audience—how to define your target audience
  • What story are you trying to tell for your client? Know what specific quality or characteristic of your product or service you are emphasizing. Know your product/service, target audience and 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 statement of philosophy, they are not actual objects or things themselves. Again, the mission statement is your primary source, 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.


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.


These are the points that your client wants to emphasize and believe make her/his products unique, stand out from competition and appeal the most to the target audience. Examples of these might be:

  • Honesty
  • Durability
  • Safety
  • Cost Effective
  • Efficient
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Organic
  • Weight/portability
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Coolness, Trendy
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Aspirations, Desires, “What I want to be when I grow up.”


  • 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 ___________________.
  • Pick a specific selling point and create your own simile sentence. Fill in the blank with what comes to mind as a well-know representation. Many times your first thoughts are cliché answers. (strong as an ox, quick as a rabbit). Try to push beyond the cliché for something meaningful but unique by either tweaking the cliché or continuing to explore alternative solutions. Do not settle for cliché.
  • If that representation is something that your target audience can be expected to know or understand then you have found a possible metaphor.
  • 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. Create a unique connection between word and picture—tagline (slogan) and image. 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”. Create a tagline or slogan which will help make the connection between the product/company/issue and the metaphor image. A slogan is an advertising tagline or phrase that advertisers create to verbally expresses the importance and core idea of their product or service. By and large, it’s a theme of a campaign that usually has a genuine role in people’s lives. It has the ability to loan people’s time and attention by putting consumers at the heart of the solution. This slogan might be one or two words, a phrase or a complete sentence. The key is how the words interact with the image. Both should not “say” the same thing. Instead each should compliment the other to create an effective Gestalt.
    Slogans should:

    • Be Memorable
    • Define a key Benefit
    • Differentiate the Brand
    • Solidify the Brand
    • Give Brand some “Zing”
    • Have Emotional Impact
  • 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


  • Got Milk?—California Milk Processors
  • Think Different—Apple
  • Because You’re Worth It—L’Oréal
  • Just Do It—Nike

  • Now, following your theme, you must illustrate your choices in a style that will be appealing to your target audience. This is where your defining characteristics will influence what you do. Design decisions 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.)
    • Style
    • Wording
    • Typography


  • Carefully plan out the specific design applications and how they relate between each other in delivering the message or information to the target audience.


  • App
  • Poster
  • Print ad
  • Media spot
  • Print Collateral (flyers, brochures, direct mail, etc.)
  • Packaging
  • Media
  • Outdoor advertising
  • Wearables
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Publications
  • etc.)

  • A minimum of three applications (kind and number of) should be decided upon 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)
  • Storyboard the sequence and nature of what you need to create in order to have a successful campaign. Tell A Compelling Story. Not only what you choose to make, but how each relates to the other parts of the campaign is what creates the magic.
  • Document your entire process. Include thumbnail sketches, rough comps, possible slogan options, etc. in a process booklet.


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

  •  Process booklet or other form of documentation of process development
    •  Thumbnails
    •  Development sketches
    •  Typography specs
    •  Color applications
    •  Written stages
  • Ad Concept driven by metaphor
  • A minimum of three design applications
  • Tagline or slogan
  • Target Market Analysis
  • Apply Basic Branding and Visual Identity Principles to all.

 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
    • Presentation
      • 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


Universal Design Brief

Express the Essence

Create Emotional Impact

Deliver the gift of delight

Compel people to think

Inspire people to act


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.

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Jafflechutes Campaign


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