“In 2008, a study found that approximately 35% of the fish studied had ingested plastic, averaging 2.1 pieces per fish.” (OceanUnitelp) Around 34 years ago, a group of surfers grouped together and formed the Surfrider Foundation, an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to protect the oceans and beaches all over the world. The Surfrider foundation created and posted the following ad to bring awareness to the effects of our pollution especially in the ocean. The message of the ad is created through showing the effects pollution has on the food we eat, by the substitution of the familiar with something absurd to show how what was once natural has been contaminated, and through color contrast of natural and artificial items.
At the top of the image there is an image of sushi but it’s not regular sushi because the wrap that we know usually comes from the ocean, such as the seaweed and fish, is replaced by plastic bags while the rice remains as rice. There are wood chopsticks which we can assume is for the sushi. Near the sushi there is a big bold blue text saying, “what goes into the ocean goes into you”, which is the main message of the ad. There is a set of smaller black text stating statistics on how much trash enters the ocean which explain more into detail the importance of bringing such awareness. In the bottom right corner of the ad, there is a Surfrider foundation logo with a blue bottle with text on it saying, “Rise above plastics”.
The most compelling part of the image is how it renders something viewers normally eat and enjoy as being no longer safe. Displaying the sushi on a plastic bag creates an emotion of guilt. When people see the ad, they think back on all the times they have polluted our environment. The audience will feel bad for throwing trash into the sea and they will realize where it ends up at the end. If more people understand that the trash ultimately ends in the food, they will think twice before polluting. No one wants to eat trash so ultimately it will decrease. The audience will also think of it as instant karma. The ad can also be the saying ‘what goes around comes around’. When people pollute the environment, it ends back in their food so its karma. The audience will realize they are the ones who are causing the problem by polluting.
The message of the ad is helped established by the color contrasts of the image versus that of actual sushi. People view the colors of sushi as natural, given that it is made from natural resources such as seaweed and fish. Such things have their natural colors and textures, as for trash, have more artificial looks and colors. Given the stigma of today’s society, what is natural is good and seeing the natural parts of seafood contaminated with what is artificial, it creates a sense of discomfort and restlessness. The white color in the background also help the main point be clear. The plain and simple background makes the audience focus more on the sushi itself and the blue text. The color of the text also allowed the information to be read and understood clearly.
Overall the ad from the Surfrider Foundation is trying to bring awareness to the ocean pollution. The ad creates such message by displaying the effects pollution has on the food we eat and color contrast. By creating such ad, the audience will feel guilt and think twice about pollution. The colors on the ad also make main message clear to understand.
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