A group of students from Bournemouth have had their designs accepted to an art exhibition which will explore how the advertising industry can change our perceptions of what makes a “good life.”
The "Good Life 2030 Exhibition" was launched by advertising reformers, Purpose Disruptors, at their Earth Day Advertising Summit on 25th April at the Tate Modern in London.
200 groups and individuals created ‘ads for the future’ for Purpose Disruptors' fictional client - ‘The year 2030’. The brief was to help people connect with what matters most in life - a deeper connection to themselves, to others and to nature.
Purpose Disruptors designed the campaign as an antithesis to the current focus of the advertising industry which they say fuels consumption driven, unsustainable lifestyles.
Five works designed by students on BU’s Marketing Communications with Advertising course are amongst the final 22 chosen for the exhibition. Students from Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) helped to bring three of their works to life.
BU Student Ellie Wheel worked with Charlie Coughtrey from AUB on her design which featured a charity shop window, designed to impress passers-by who may not usually think of shopping second hand.
“I chose the theme ‘From have it all to do more with less’ because I was thinking about how much potential charity shops have,” said Ellie. “Often charity shop windows are not styled or do not display their stock in the best light, so I created a poster to highlight how they could appear more enticing,” she added.
When asked about the role the advertising industry can play in shaping a new version of a good life, Ellie said, “Advertising has typically encouraged people to consume more, but the public also wants to do more with less. I believe the advertising industry can effectively depict that a sustainable and healthy lifestyle does not have to imply a reduced quality of life and that we can still enjoy life in a sustainable manner.
“Earth Day is an excellent example of how advertising can give positive messages to the public through its communications and, rather than selling more, teach the public how to become more sustainable by making simple but effective adjustments to our lifestyles.”
Emma Dodds and Charlotte Hardy chose the theme of turning nature from a distant relative to a close family member. They showed this through the motif of a family tree with the help of AUB student Vanya Vasileva who created and sourced the visuals for their poster.
“As a team we were inspired by the naturalistic vocabulary often used when talking about family like ‘our roots’ and ‘family trees’, said Emma. “But were saddened when reflecting on how removed society has become from nature. We wanted to inspire people to cherish nature as they do their family,” she continued.
Reflecting on the fact she will have her work on display in one of the country’s most popular art institutions, Emma said, “I've had a passion for art from a young age and to be displayed in my favourite gallery feels like a dream. It's amazing that we have worked on a live brief that has the potential to create real change for the better of our planet.”
For their work, Gabriella Fisher and Beth Harris from BU and Flora Searle from AUB, depicted a world that promotes living in the present and appreciating the things that add genuine value to our lives.
“We want people to step out of the confines of their digital image and step towards a safe, secure, connected 2030,” Gabriella explained. “Sometimes social media can be a lonely place. People can get wrapped up in their idealised self that they want to portray to the world for artificial likes and comments. Especially young people are easily influenced by what they see social media, which promotes unhealthy self-comparison, taking a toll on their mental health. We need to remember that our true selves, true friends, and true lives exist in the real world.”
Gabriella also agreed that the advertising industry has an important role to play in helping people live healthier and sustainable lives. “Advertising has the capacity to change way people think, feel and act. Whilst advertisers may have their own KPIs to meet, we need to remember that advertising also has the power to create small positive behavioural changes, that could have a substantial impact on what our 2030 will look like,” she said.