The Design Block

If you're looking for the latest in advertising and marketing, design related technology and lifestyle tips, and art or design highlights then you're in the right place. Find all this and more with the Design Block blog.

Anti-cruelty campaign shows animals get no pleasure from suffering

How do you push people to action when it comes to anti-cruelty? You create controversy.

Russian start-up plans to deploy space-based billboards

A Russian startup, StartRocket, plans massive billboards to beam advertisements to Earth from space.

BK uses actual photos of car crashes to encourage home delivery

Some people are so hungry for a Whopper that they don’t just go through the drive-thru, they go through the entire restaurant. And that’s what led Burger King to create this campaign by Lola MullenLowe, promoting home delivery with images of real car crashes that occurred…

Volkswagen’s ad about avoiding advertising bans ironically gets banned

Volkswagen’s “Too powerful for TV“ commercial was, apparently, too powerful for television in Australia. The humorous commercial was banned in the country for breaking advertising codes of conduct and for being “unsafe”.

Organ donation ad featuring Jesus at the crucifixion sparks controversy

An Australian group has released a new ad to promote organ donation. And as they point out in the ad, organ donation can save lives. However, the number of people who register for organ donation remains relatively low.

Burger King’s AI-written ads prove tech can’t substitute great ideas

Using artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionize the future of marketing might be a threat to certain jobs, but Burger King isn’t buying into it yet.

Lingerie campaign celebrates models of all sizes and bans airbrushing

UK-based lingerie brand Figleaves has released its latest campaign that includes a cast models of different sizes, shapes and ethnicities. What also makes this campaign special is that Figleaves is the latest brand to ban airbrushing in their ads.

Over-the-top Toyota ad replaces Chuck Norris with a truck

Chuck Norris is so tough that there’s no chin under his beard, only another fist. But this new commercial by Toyota sees the roundhouse kicking actor being replaced by a truck.

People aren’t happy with the new Jack in the Box commercial

The burger chain Jack in the Box has recently drawn criticism for its new TV commercial. The ad for the company’s new Teriyaki Bowls riffs off the word “bowls” and features not-so-subtle references to male genitalia.

Burger brand apologizes for using beheaded photojournalist in ad

Washington DC-based Z-Burger has apologized after causing a stir for its inappropriate use of an image for its marketing.

Ad agency leases women’s armpits as advertising space

We’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970’s to as many as 5,000 a day today. But, if you think the saturation of advertisements in cities like London, New York or Japan are heavy now, just wait. An idea that literally goes to the…

Shutterstock comes to the rescue in witty print ad campaign

Stock photography website, Shutterstock is used by designers and agencies the world over. And to highlight their coming to the rescue of those creatives, Dominican Republic ad agency Cazar DDB has created a trio of witty print ads to promote the stock photography company and its offerings.

Fruit of the Loom has a message for shirtless selfie men on Instagram

For men on social media, the shirtless selfie has become a ubiquitous calling card, shamelessly saying, “Here I am! See me! Notice me! ‘Like’ me!” Clothing brand Fruit of the Loom has taken notice and are worried that men’s lower-quality shirts are being #ripped and #shredded.

New survey finds people cannot correctly remember food brand logos

Despite millions spent on marketing, a new study by Kitchen Cabinet Kings finds that very few consumers can accurately remember food brand logos of the most well-known companies.

Spice up your Valentine’s with KFC’s chicken scratch & sniff cards

This Valentine’s Day, KFC wants you to send your crush a special card. To show your loved ones how much you care, give them a fried chicken scratch & sniff Valentine’s Day card featuring Colonel Sanders.

The top 5 commercials from the 2018 Super Bowl

By now you probably know that the Eagles upset the Super Bowl favourites, the Patriots. But, if you watched the Super Bowl mainly for the new commercials, you probably got to see the best and worst that money can buy.

Spotify reveals 2017 users’ most embarrassing listening habits

The popular streaming service Spotify has once again erected a number of billboards that expose the shameless listening habits of some of its users. Titled 2018 Goals, the new campaign proves that clearing out your “recently played” just isn’t enough anymore. 

KFC launches festive bucket designs created by 5 artist collectives

Just in time for the holidays, KFC has unveiled a series of six new limited edition festive bucket design. Forgoing KFC’s typical festive campaign, this year they’ve decided to put their iconic bucket in the spotlight.

Giant London billboard knows your car, even how you’re feeling

Many drivers and pedestrians have become used to tuning out billboard advertisements. But what if those billboards could serve up ads to you based on your vehicle, or even how you’re feeling? One London billboard is trying just that.

Facebook faces backlash after banning ad of a woman shaving her legs

We’ve all heard stories of Facebook and Instagram banning posts and advertisements that contain nudity. Their reasoning is that it’s adult content and not suitable for some of their users. Fair enough. However, sometimes it seems as though they pick and choose which posts they take down. The latest…

Snowbird ski resort cleverly uses 1-star review in its ad

From intermediate to expert skiers, Snowbird ski resort in Utah is renowned for its challenging slopes. However, one guest found the mountains to be a bit too challenging and wrote a 1-star review of his stay.

Controversial KFC Whole Chicken ad will not face an investigation

We all know that the meat we eat used to be a barnyard animal. And as both an Art Director and a farmer, I know that not a lot of people like being reminded of that fact. That, however, is some of the criticism behind…

Award winning ads show how humans are getting dumber

Our world is populated by different kinds of people, all with hugely varying levels of intelligence. And while most consider themselves intelligent, it can be very hard to get an accurate assessment of our own intelligence. After all, our thoughts tend to sound smart in…

Clever ads use optical illusions to encourage pet adoption

Pet adoption is a wonderful thing. Ask any pet owner, and they’ll probably tell you that their furry friend has made their family feel complete. Photographer Amol Jadhav along with art director Pranav Bhide took that concept and transformed a brilliant idea into striking ads that are more than…

LEGO builds its way to award-winning campaign at Cannes festival

After a decade of being nearly forgotten, LEGO has rebuilt itself into a global toy juggernaut. Fuelled in part by The LEGO Movie‘s popularity, the company surpassed rival Mattel to become the biggest toy manufacturer in the world. The LEGO bricks are available in 53 different…

Smirnoff humorously trolls Trump with new transit ad

Whether you like your vodka straight, on the rocks or in your Bloody Mary, there’s a reason Smirnoff received a ton of buzz recently. In its new transit shelter ad campaign, Smirnoff takes a shot at President Donald Trump.

Real estate ad for a $100 million mansion is basically softcore porn

You’ll hear the phrase often when you enter the advertising industry: sex sells. But do people really buy a product just because it has sexually stimulating imagery attached to it? For this US$100 million OPUS mansion in Beverly Hills, half-naked women covered in gold paint star in a…

Penis seat installed on a Mexico City train to highlight sexual harassment

Have you ever been sexually harassed on public transit before? If you’re in Mexico City, it happens quite a bit. The United Nations and Mexico City‘s government have joined together to launch this campaign against the soaring rates of sexual harassment on the city’s public transit. How? By…

Real estate agency In hot water for objectifying women in sexist ad

A transit poster popped up recently in the London Underground that’s turning heads for the wrong reasons. Real estate agency Marsh and Parsons has received severe criticism following the release of an advertisement objectifying women.

Zara’s ‘Love Your Curves’ ad draws harsh criticism and humorous responses

You should always be weary of what you say or post online—especially on Twitter. Clothing brand Zara certainly learned that after posting an ad showing two models with the tagline, “Love your curves.”

New Burger King ad campaign has its restaurants up in flames

Burger King is serious about flame grilling its burgers. So much so that its new print ad campaign has the photos to prove it. Literally burning the house down, Burger King’s latest ads shows its restaurants up in flames; a consequence, according to the ads, of the…

Clever campaign for erotic books gets around censorship

How can you create an advertising campaign for a series of erotic books without getting dealing with censorship? That was the challenge for Brussels-based communications agency Mortierbrigade.

Minimalist WWF ads show the impact of global warming

Climate change is already having a significant impact on global ecosystems and communities. Rising average temperatures don’t simply mean warmer winters. Some regions are already experiencing more extreme heat, cold, flooding and drought. To help raise awareness, Leo Burnett Philippines has come up with a collection of print…

Powerful ads feature animals tied up like garbage bags

An argument can be made that in order to deserve respect from other humans, you need to be human. However, with peoples deep love for animals, it raises fundamental questions about the basis of moral rights. 

Life in an ad agency shown through stock photos

Stock photos get a lot of hate. And most of time, the annoyance makes sense. We’ve all seen our share of cliché images, and there are lots of weird, creepy ones that leave you wondering who would want to use them. Then you see them thrown in…

College student’s photo series protests rapists release

In June of this year, Brock Turner, a former student at Stanford University in California, was sentenced for rape. He received only six months for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at a campus party. As you can probably imagine, many people were understandably…

If ad agency life was represented by bbq items…

No industry in the world is as masochistic as much as the advertising industry. We criticize the work we create and condemn the environments in which we create it. And then we denounce the same award shows whose recognition we covet so much. Finally we disparage the clients who…

The speedy packaging design of KFC Thailand

Did you know that KFC is the number one delivery expert of the food category in Thailand? Probably not. However to celebrate this achievement, the fast food chain created a series of limited edition packaging for its customers.

IKEA ads cleverly remind us of product affordability

Chances are that you probably have at least one item from IKEA somewhere in your home, maybe more. Their products are modern, attractive, and affordable. IKEA Saudi Arabia asked their ad agency, Memac Ogilvy & Mather, to create a reminder to all shop goers of how affordable their furniture is.

Ad industry spoof features Ryan Reynolds hanging off helicopter

Communications service brand BT‘s Behind The Scenes advertising campaign continues to build on the success of the recent up-to 52Mbps ad starring actor Ryan Reynolds.

Dove’s empowering ad spotlights women’s capabilities

It’s a struggle that I’m sure many women can relate to: being judged on looks, rather than personality or experience. Well known for its empowering marketing campaigns, this focus of the new ad by Dove.

The Handy Awards for advertising’s biggest wankers

If you’re in the advertising industry, you probably started out in school sifting through the awards books and dreaming of one day seeing your name on one of those pages. Well, now you might see your name on an award as advertising awards have reached…

Snickers imagined as other candy bars

Continuing on its ‘You Are Not You When You Are Hungry’ campaign, Snickers has debuted three print ads that imagine itself as other candy bars.

The Swedish number: Talk to a random Swede

Sweden has just became the first country to get its very own telephone number. You can now call “The Swedish Number” at +46 771 SWEDEN (+46 771 793 336), which will connect callers from around the world with random Swedes who have signed up to be de facto…

Happy April Fools’ Day from WestJet

Yes it’s another April Fools’ Day. For most of us it’s the most annoying day of the year, with people (and companies) trying hard to prank each other. In their continuing spirit of the day, WestJet has once again released its annual April Fools video.

Snickers pokes fun at Photoshop fails in new ads

Having an ad in a magazine containing major photoshop fails might be a nightmare for many brands, but not Snickers. Its poorly edited ads, created by BBDO New York, were done intentionally.

Coca-Cola’s Marvel themed cans for Super Bowl teaser

Coca-Cola is partnering with Marvel for a Super Bowl spot, as confirmed by Adweek on Friday. Adweek received a package Wednesday containing co-branded mini-cans of Coke.

Advertisers tease us with their Super Bowl 50 ads

In anticipation of the big game, many advertisers have started to tease us with their commercials. Hey, they’ve spent a minimum of $5 Million US for a measly 30 seconds of air time. Laugh or cry, here’s a few of the ads that you’ll see…

Hyundai’s amusing ad is ready for the Super Bowl

Imagine a town where every single man looks like Ryan Reynolds. For some that might be a dream come true and for others it may sound like a scary scene from the Twilight Zone. But this happens to be Hyundai’s Super Bowl ad for its 2017 Elantra.

Ad agency takes bad ideas, turns them into gifts to clients

When it comes to defining a problem, creating as many solutions as possible often leads to a few bad ideas. And while creativity is a trial-and-error process, sometimes good ideas come from the bad. At least, that’s what advertising agency Wax has discovered by brilliantly…