I started my research for this blog post by casually asking our Senior Creative, John, if he had seen any ads recently that made an impact. Jade, our Head of Media Planning and Buying, didn’t hesitate with her contribution and before we knew it, we were huddled around my computer trawling through Youtube trying to one up each other with “the funniest ad I have EVER seen”. Things escalated.


In this article, John reviews his favourite outdoor campaign for Stonewall by The Gate London, critiquing the work with a designer’s eye. Contrastingly, Jade will be commenting on her favourite TV campaign from Aldi – not quite as heavy content-wise but equally as effective at engaging the audience.


Fighting for Equality, Stonewall’s most recent outdoor work sees the faces of two professionals captioned with the headline “One is gay . If that bothers people, our work continues”.


John’s initial comment is that the imagery reminds him of the artwork of feminist post-modern artist, Barbara Kruger. No frills. Black and white, with the flash of red. Aggressive and powerful. This compliments the unapologetic copy. The gritty message is encompassed in the gritty design.  John also references the visual hierarchy, stating that it lends itself well to the bold message.


We both agree that the text draws the audience in by putting a question mark into their mind (which one is gay?) without directly asking a thing. The answer is irrelevant.  The lure of mystery is compelling and this is what makes the advert so engaging.


First time mother-to-be, Jade, can’t get enough of these cuties in the Aldi ads. McCann Manchester’s “Like Brands” campaign has enjoyed great success since its launch at the end of 2011.


Jade describes the ad as natural, endearing and entertaining. The down-to-earth tone offers an honest representation of the Aldi brand. They have avoided the overly-sentimental-and-glamorised portrayal that so many  supermarkets invest in nowadays (settle down M&S). Jade comments on the gentle prompts used to encourage the audience to be price-conscious whilst shopping. Whilst the ad does make direct comparisons between branded items and the Aldi equivalents, the focus is on the characters and their story, allowing the small yellow price stickers to speak for themselves. No aggressive narrative necessary.


Adorable kids. Hilarious nans. Real mums. The campaign targets the desired audience,  domestic goddesses, a dream.


Jade says that the strength of the ad is in the humour. The series makes you laugh, and is therefore memorable and thus effective.


Two very different campaigns. Two very different perspectives. One conclusive argument – both advertisements are memorable and effective because they generate an emotive response in the audience. And we know this is the most powerful way of communicating with people.


Everyone on the Hello Starling team has a clear understanding of the power of emotive communication, from our designers to our media planners. Please get in contact with us if you would like to discuss how we can help you engage with your audience, emotionally.


By Angharad Edwards