Posters: so hard to do well. Is it possible to communicate a big message with real impact using as few elements as possible? Sometimes it is, and here’s a case in point…
There were a few questions in the comments section, so I asked Paul for a bit more context:
The work is aimed at MPs; no one else. So to answer the question of Anon, you are not supposed to do anything (unless you are an MP).
The Social Economy Alliance is a new organisation. They want to get on MPs’ radars so that all major political parties incorporate the SEA’s ideas into their election manifestos. This campaign coincides with every MP receiving the SEA manifesto on their desks. The cover of the manifesto looks like the posters, so MPs are more likely to take the manifesto seriously if they have seen the ads.
The SEA wants to say something memorable about what they stand for, and the ads need to work in a second because they’re posters in a busy tube station. The choice of the poster sites is based on a package, sold by Exterion Media, that’s designed to influence MPs – that’s why many of the posters are up in the Westminster tube station. The package was bought by SEA before the work was created.
SEA paid Paul ‘a lot of money’, and the ads are up in proper sites on the tube, so they’re obviously not scam (and, needless to say, SEA is a real organisation).
Boris Johnson’s beard is Karl Marx’s beard (I thought that was obvious. Silly me).
Paul is also happy with the tube barriers (see New Statesman link below) but says that the 6-sheets are better because the technique is more elegant and therefore the images are stronger.
Regarding the topicality of the images, of course, the main thing is that the images are iconic and recognisable, and clearly from the left and right. (One commenter thought that the use of Reagan was ‘dated’ but didn’t seem to mind the use of Karl Marx, who’s around 100 years older.)
I hope that clears things up!
The campaign supports the launch of the Social Economy Alliance’s 2015 manifesto, which calls for politicians to ditch traditional left/right notions of businesses against society or markets against the state. As you can see, it’s jolly good.