If you live in New York City, or any other major market, you’ve likely seen the new posters for the new Jason Statham flick The Mechanic. I noticed them, of course, but Pierres Fawkes at PSFK made me really consider the political and social responsibilities of such design, especially considering the horrific shootings in Arizona on January 8th.
For those who haven’t seen the posters promoting the film its essentially a collection of guns, drawn in outline form, forming the larger visual of an even bigger gun that takes up the larger part of the poster. The plot of the film is beside the point. Its selling point is violence, pure and simple, as a solution to a problem. Yet, the advertising is no more outrageous or in anyway more irresponsible than past film campaigns have been, except for the timeliness of its launch.
On January 8th, of this month 19 people were shot at a political gathering in Tucson by Arizona, including a member of congress: Gabrielle Giffords. Six of those victims were fatally wounded, one of them who was born on September 11th, 2001. What responsibility does the film industry have in the use of design to promote its product in light of such serious events? The triple bottom line includes considering the impact of design and business on end users. Surely desensitizing the public to the impact of violent imagery should be included in such considerations.
Obama’s Memorial Address in Arizona
So does design only have a social or political responsibility when something potentially tragic happens? How can strategic design managers ensure adherence to cultural sensitivities at all times, not only when tragedy strikes?