The art of the yell

Johnnie Walker has released a new set of posters as part of its latest Keep Walking campaign. The ads are striking, in part because of how they signal a new, more youthful direction for the brand, but also because of their use of a style of poster ads that has grown increasingly popular over the last few years, a look I like to call ‘shouty elegance’…

Johnnie Walker has released a new set of posters as part of its latest Keep Walking campaign. The ads are striking, in part because of how they signal a new, more youthful direction for the brand, but also because of their use of a style of poster ads that has grown increasingly popular over the last few years, a look I like to call ‘shouty elegance’…

What distinguishes the shouty elegance style is a mix of powerful, full-bleed photography, with bold, usually capital, lettering emblazoned across the centre of it. A dominant proponent of this look is Lurpak butter, in a series of poster ads created by Wieden + Kennedy London over the last few years. The combination of huge, drool-inducing photographs of food with words such as ‘salvation’ blasted across them makes it hard for most people, especially those with a hangover, not to reach for the butter.

While the Lurpak ads have certainly influenced the way that supermarkets and other food purveyors market their wares these days, the shouty elegance look can work for many sectors. See, for example, these new ads for Lloyds bank, below, from RKCR/Y&R. We all know that family matters, people, and Lloyds definitely knows that too, and is not afraid to shout about it.

Another popular use of the style is by sports brands. See for example this poster by Adidas, one of a series released to support Team GB during the London 2012 Olympic Games. The shoutiness is toned down here, due to use of lower caps, but the principle remains the same. The brand wants Tom Daley to do something, and they want him to do it now.

The Johnnie Walker ads, which are by BBH London, are slightly different to the other examples, in that instead of just yelling a command at their audience, they also require a bit of thought to connect all the aspects together, and realise the message. Here are a couple more examples from the campaign:

So why are so many brands taking this approach? As well as a commanding presence on poster boards, the combination of photography and type also gives the ads a cinematic look, tying them into TV spots. This ‘Find Your Greatness’ film for Nike from W+K Portland, for example, is almost like a moving image version of this style of ad, with the end shot serving as a perfect poster image.

So what do you think of the shouty elegance trend, and can you think of any examples we’ve missed?

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