studiotwentysix2 the art + design of tom davie

Friday, May 25, 2007

Every Picture Tells a Story

Ah, the rebus, assembled using the pictograph, which is based off the hieroglyph, who just happens to be the second cousin of the cave drawing. Wait, what was I talking about?

Oh yes, rebus. Just in case you think it’s a made-up word, here is the meaning: a puzzle in which words are represented by combinations of pictures and individual letters.

I bring up rebus because it’s the foundation for this saucy little ad campaign created by Saatchi & Saatchi, New York. Saatchi utilizes a series of pictographs, organized in timeline fashion, to cleverly position 42 Below Vodka.

A few things I really like about this campaign: first, no text or photographs — it’s rare to find a set of ads with concepts and depictions so tight that any additional elements would be viewed as overkill. Second, the reward is worth the effort — the entire series is like an adult-oriented decoder ring, only those willing to participate and decipher get to enjoy the hidden meanings. Third, the ads are seemingly innocent, but unquestionably racy — my initial reaction, there is no way these ads would show up in mainstream US publications (with the possible exception of Playboy or Maxim), however, after learning that 42 Below is a New Zealand-based company, I would guess the ads are geared less at the US and more towards a less conservative global market. Fourth, and most importantly, the use of the kitty pictographs are brilliant — outstanding way to make a not-so-subtle allusion, without having to cross into vulgarity. Meow.

I have included my two favorite ads as examples, the following link will allow you to check out the entire 42 Below collection.

42 Below Campaign

P.S. — Since I’m on the pictograph topic, here is a little gem from the 1830s. Historic rebus, if you will.

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