September 2013 ad campaign for Speak Up Magazine: “Is your English still wimpy?” by a Sao Paolo advertising agency. Image taken from

CS2006 Final Project Curation (Speak Up)

This poster advertises a magazine promoting a strong command of English. I was instantly drawn to the bold use of colours and simple, striking question.

The central image of a monarch is a quintessentially English icon — even symbolic as British English is also known as Queen’s English. Perhaps the central image could be more Singaporean; a caricature of our most laughed-at stereotypes (the NS man, the ah lian and more) to add humour and salience, increasing the receptivity of our youthful audience.

Interestingly, half the magazine cover lies outside the blue area. Our eyes are drawn to this misalignment, such that we do not overlook the main product being advertised, nor the link in small print next to the image. We could do this to similarly encourage and direct viewers towards the next step.

Lastly, the question — a repeated campaign slogan — also utilises pathos and logos to persuade viewers. Pathos, because it is almost a challenge that youths, perhaps, will not turn down; and logos because there is logic at the very basis of it: if your English is poor, improve it. Likewise, we would like to stress with our campaign: if we wish to do something concrete, speak up!

The first in a series of videos titled “Speak Up or Else”. Embed video example taken from

This campaign for End Distracted Driving, entitled Speak Up or Else, argues for its cause through the consequences of a person’s actions. This would be an interesting take on our campaign, as people who disapprove of “keyboard STOMP-ers” might not feel that it has any negative effects.

This makes strong use of logos (explaining why failing to speak up can be bad). While speaking up doesn’t result in deaths the way distracted driving can, we can still use emotional appeal on an audience of youths by targeting their fears, conscience, or Singaporean values that we, deep down, strive to uphold.

In terms of technique, the ad was kept short and simple with continuity editing maintaining a coherent narrative. The axis changed only at the end, which drew our attention to the only words placed onscreen that the ad would show — the final message for viewers to take home.

There were notable cleverly-placed close-ups that allowed us to clearly see any characters’ emotions, and made the message more “real”. As the idea of “Speak up!” can be an abstract concept to some, I believe such scenarios would help to make it more understandable for viewers catching a quick commercial or YouTube break.

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