A striking new print campaign from Germany seeks to battle addiction this holiday season with fresh spin on a familiar trick—reversible copywriting.
Each of three short poems—one for alcohol, one for pills, and one for gambling—spirals into total despair when read from top to bottom. But read backwards, from bottom to top, they offer a much brighter picture—of an addict’s path to empowerment.
The ads are designed to raise awareness of Blue Cross Germany—a charitable organization serving those impacted by addiction (and part of the International Blue Cross, a broader non-denominational Christian group founded in 1877 in Switzerland).
Serviceplan created the ads. The illustrations, drawn by Frank Gräfe of Eat, Sleep + Design, bring the copy powerfully to life, with vertical mirror imagery that captures the same dichotomy as the copy—euphoric above, devastated below, and only a fine line between.
It’s an effective strategy in large part because it’s not just a gimmick. As in the Ray Donovan ad earlier this year that flipped its script to convey the titular character’s duality, the two-way copy here speaks to a core idea of the campaign—that an addict’s downward course is not hopeless or inevitable, but can be reversed, with treatment.
Blue Cross’s motto, it’s worth noting, is “Paths out of addiction.”
Some of the artwork does flirt with religious imagery that risks being off-putting to non-Christian audiences. The alcoholism artwork, for example, takes a classic heaven-over-hell depiction (evoking Doom paintings, and that old Samsonite ad out of Shanghai), and modifies it to fit the subject matter—the underworld is crowded drunken nightmare, while in the bright stratum above, angelic statutes stand tall and a Jesus centerpiece smiles.
But if, on balance, it helps people more people get and stay healthy—especially at a time of year when stressors are generally high—then it’s doing well. The campaign will run in lifestyle magazines in December and January. Poster versions have already driven an increase in web traffic for Blue Cross, says the agency.
Client: Blaues Kreuz / Blue Cross Germany
Brand: Blaues Kreuz in Deutschland e. V.
Agency: Serviceplan Campaign, Serviceplan Health & Life
Global Chief Creative Officer: Alexander Schill, Serviceplan
Creative Managing Partner Germany: Matthias Harbeck
Creative Managing Partner, Serviceplan Campaign Till Hohmann,
Executive Creative Director: Sandra Loibl, Serviceplan
Creative Director: Christoph Bolender, Serviceplan
Senior Copywriter: Dr. Sebastian Wolf, Serviceplan
Art Director: Franziska Ströhle, Serviceplan
Senior Art Director: Matthias Jester-Pfadt
Account Director: Florian Trebus, Serviceplan
Accout Manager: Ricarda Jacob, Serviceplan
Media Agency: Mediaplus
Illustration: Eat, Sleep + Design, Berlin
Illustrator: Frank Gräfe, Eat, Sleep + Design