Get Mass Exposure For Your Brand Via Contrast Marketing

Contrast is used in advertising to pull a viewer’s attention to a product or brand. It is often used to separate the subject from the background in order to create more visual space for the brand itself.

Many companies employ this technique because of its effectiveness to promote a product. When a product is able to stand out from the background, it appears more dominant and therefore important. Adversely, the ground—or background—is hazy and vague and appears more submissive and therefore less important. Juxtaposing the foreground (product) with the background (blurred or indistinct imagery) can really help push a brand’s message forth.

For example, Crest created an ad campaign promoting their 3D White toothpaste in which everyday items were in all white. The message that Crest was trying to relay was that their toothpaste has the ability to whiten the harshest of stains, including cherries and coffee. In order for Crest to successfully convey their message to consumers, they created a visually appealing ad that contained two items that we know not to be white, cherries and coffee. This type of advertising is used all over the place, from print to billboards to digital and everywhere in between. Its effectiveness is obvious. The longer your eyes remain on the image, the more time you will spend navigating around the advertisement, which is exactly what Crest intended! 

Our eyes are naturally drawn to images that we perceive to be out of place, confusing, or shocking. Take, for example, this advertisement for ice cream by the company Antonio Federici with the text, “Immaculately Conceived.” The implication here is that this delicious ice cream was immaculately conceived just like Jesus Christ. There are ethical implications of creating such a controversial ad, though. Although the brand might be talked about because of its imagery, it may not be referenced in a good way. Some potential customers may find this message highly offensive and stay away from the product out of principle. This may not be the message that the company necessarily wants to send to its customers no matter how much press they receive.

The next image for Mom’s Demand Action shows two people, a little girl with an ice cream cone and a man with a rifle. The text reads, “One of them isn’t welcome at Kroger. Guess which one.” The advertisement is sending a message that a person is not allowed in the store without a shirt, so why would someone be allowed inside with a gun? The image of a man with a gun and a girl eating ice cream is interesting, especially since they are set against a grocery store background. It makes the reader curious as to what the message is and is a bit over the top. They are asking the reader to question why this scenario is acceptable. It works because it is visually interesting without being too obscene.

The final example is a fitness advertisement by the company Companhia Athletica. The ad is not in English, but the message is clear: workout and stay in shape. The image shows a young, fit female athlete jumping in the air within a silhouette of a fat person eating what appears to be a chicken leg. The message contrasts the obese, junk food consuming couch potato with the young woman whose life is great and full of zest because of her choice to exercise. The message is clear and it is strong and relatable. Many people want to look better and feel better and by looking at how happy and fit this woman is compared to her fat former self, it makes the reader want to join in on the fun.

Regardless of your feelings on the merits of contrast advertising, it is undeniably effective in creating interest and dialogue. People want to talk about stuff they find visually appealing and share it with their friends! It's that kind of advertising that works well generate a wave of word-of-mouth impressions and as we all know, that usually equals revenue.

If you have any more examples of contrast advertising, feel free to add them in the comments section. To contact us about how we can help you advertise, email us at info@foundingcitysocial.com or click here.