Photography in Billboard Advertising

Macmillan Advertisement

Fig 1. Macmillan Billboard Advertisement. 2015

This week, I have been looking at how space is used in commercial advertising.  The first of which I find particularly influential is the Macmillan campaign advertisement.  The film commercial/ still photography brings the message of ensuring support for the individual in which we see a male patient wondering through a vast winter landscape.  The commercial represents emotionally how people with health problems are put through a struggle and should not be made to feel alone.  I find this advertisement demonstrates well how open exterior spaces can reflect someone mentally and physically.  The colour scheme works well with this commercial as cold colours are seen with both the subject and the background and this relates well to the concept of feeling lost in an empty and lonely environment.  I find this advertisement influential as it is a good example of how a relationship is built between the subject and the space and how this gives insight into the individual’s mental space.  The audience is made to feel as if we are exploring the mind of this man as his feelings are represented through the surroundings. This conveys an interesting twist on how a place can represent the subject matter itself as well as being used for a supporting platform.  The way in which this advertisement is brought into the public eye is through billboard posters, the televised commercial and photography.  The photographic representation of this campaign presents the image as a panoramic and using billboards to advertise the campaign takes advantage of the space in an effective way.

John Lewis Advertisement

Fig 2. John Lewis Christmas Ad. 2015

The popular christmas advertisement for the department store John Lewis is another strong example of relating space to the individual.  Commonly known as ‘The Man on the Moon’,  this sweet commercial presents a short story of children wishing an elderly gentleman on the moon a merry christmas. The story gives a moral that we must stay in touch with the ones we care about,  no matter how far away they may be.  I find this commercial, although it appears to be filmed in a very staged ‘unreal’ setting,  uses props well in a way that this gives a nice ‘filling’ to the empty environment of outer space.  For example one shot which sees a balloon package floating towards the man on the moon places an even set up for all participants with the man sitting on a bench on the far left as the balloon package comes into view from the right side.  This presents a strong example of how objects can be used to create balance of subject matter in a scene and I find this influential as it also highlights how props can be used to contrast against a background (in this commercial we see colourful balloons against a black sky).

Reflecting upon these, I have come to realise how photographic or moving imagery that presents a wide space is viewed best when placed on a large scale.  I find both these examples do this in a powerful way that draws the public audience into a space that is almost inviting as we are given personal perspective of the individual where we are standing in their shoes.  As I am currently using props within my work, I find this gives me initiative to be selective about what props will be used and how best to use them against a particular background setting.



Macmillan Cancer Support (2015) Our Not Alone Campaign [Online] Available from: [Accessed 05/11/2015]

Youtube GB (2015) John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015- ManOnTheMoon-Youtube [Online] Available from: [Accessed 05/11/2015]


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