//** * * */

The Flags: Meet the world.

Icaro Doria, a 25 year young Brazilian who works for the magazine Grande Reportagem in Lisbon via FCB Publicidade (*the ad agency) created this poster campaign of flags together with Luis Silva Dias, Joso Roque and Andrea Vallenti.


The flag campaign is for Revista Grande Reportagem, and the idea is to 'bring across concept that the magazine offers profound journalism about topics of real importance to the world of today.'

The flags have hit a nerve as they've circled the earth once or twice already in chain letter emails even though they were only intended to be a poster campaign, won a well-deserved gold at the One Show, and over at Brazilian artist .net they have a short email chat with Icaro Doria where he explains that they used data from Amnesty International and the UN. Because the UN apparently keeps lists of how many Americans don't know where Iraq is.


Update: a slight change in the above text, just adding the *asterix to make it clear that FCB Publicidade is an advertising agency in Lisbon (a good and quite famous one at that).

It seemed necessary as this post about the flag ads for Grande Reportagem (Portugals "TIME" magazine) has been all over the web described as anything but an ad campaign.

It's either "art" or a "political statement" and it's even (gasp!) been fictitiously nominated as "an entry for contention in the Nobel Prize of Political Marketing." (see here). There's no such thing.

Well, kids, if it's on Adland you can be damn sure it ain't nothing but a good old-fashioned ad campaign. ;)

Grande Reportagem is the client, Icaro Doria is one of the creatives and FCB is the ad agency.

Client: Grande Reportagem
Ad agency: FCB Publicidade
Creative: Icaro Doria, Luis Silva Dias, Joso Roque and Andrea Vallenti.

Adland® is supported by your donations alone. You can help us out by donating via Paypal.
Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
Files must be less than 1 MB.
Allowed file types: jpg jpeg gif png wav avi mpeg mpg mov rm flv wmv 3gp mp4 m4v.
caffeinegoddess's picture

I found the person who claimed they counted the pixels in the image rather amusing. They sure are being extremely nitpicky and way over analytical.

I like the ads. I think they work.

Dabitch's picture

reminded me of a few clients I've had to be honest. Why count pixels when that wasn't even the point? *shrug*

AnonymousCoward's picture

Brilliant campaign. Doesn't matter if the 'figures' are accurate or not. The point is made.

Wish I'd done it.

Hidden Persuader's picture

One campaign. One shot. Congrats Icaro (and Joso Roque). Curiosly I've met Icaro 3 years ago at Leo Burnett Lisbon and then TBWALisbon, before he moved to FCB Lisbon last year (he then moved back again to FCB S. Paulo). He's a young ambitious creative with great talent. Congrats again, 2005 will be his year. PS:: By the way, he won the Young Creatives 2005 in Brazil, therefore will be at Cannes this year.

James Trickery's picture

Good! Then he'll give some of the mediocre teams that I know are going there some stuff competition. ;)

Dabitch's picture

Hidden�, you've met this guy? I suspected that you might have... What a small little world it is after all, this little adland of ours. ;)

Dabitch's picture

If anyone wants to see the "man on the street" regular joe punters reactions to this campaign have a look at the little chat over at Metafilter where they seem convinced that this is some artist project rather than the ad campaign for the Portuguese version of TIME that is is. Heh.

dandv's picture

This misses the Angola Meet the World flag.

AnonymousTurtle's picture

The American flag one doesn't work. If only 25% of Americans couldn't locate Iraq on a world map that would be extremely impressive.

Dabitch's picture

Kinda surprised that despite this campaigns newfound popularity, nobody has gone all typo-GRAR on the "dolars a month" thing in the Brazilian flag. Typos in translations are funny. :) It won a One Show award anyway

(and the Angola flag is there, for those who know how to click "previous" and "next" underneath the larger images)

AnonymousCoward's picture

What country is the green\red one with 1 yellow star?

Mearon's picture


Anonymous Reader's picture

This is really interesting. The only thing that caught me up was the Brazilian flag. I think the key would be clearer with amounts expressed mathematically (ex: 10>100).

Dabitch's picture

I've seen this type comment before, and every time I wonder: why are y'all assuming this to be as accurate as a Venn Diagram?

Anonymous Reader's picture

Your reply does shine a light on why this type of comment happens: This series is being posted to various forums, and out of context, the original intent of this series is unclear. It is thereby often taken at face value to be a visual representation of statistics. Looking up those statistics does quickly bring some of these visuals into question though. While apparently the original intent of the magazine was to "bring across the concept that the magazine offers profound journalism about topics of real importance to the world of today" and use the colors of flags to new effect, that abstract notion isn’t clear apart from the immediate identification of this campaign with their magazine. The viewer is led to interpret the visual as an artistic graphic of actual statistics, and is thereby misled. This is both a poor reflection on journalism and a lesson on how art can be essentially meaningless.

Once it becomes clear that the images and facts have potentially NO correlation at all, the issue itself is easily discarded. Which is terribly alarming considering some of the issues. It's easy to dismiss it as "merely" an ad, or art, or to tell people they're missing the point. But this does show that not only are both sides capable of missing the point, the point isn't even always what you think it is. If this were intended as art, it could be seen as merely inaccurate but more focused on an abstract point. As a graph it's both inaccurate and unclear. As a model of a news magazine's mission statement? It leaves the client potentially open to a ridiculous level of ridicule with it's inaccuracy, but provides an immediate visual punch. It's acclaim and prize status is justifiable, but it's also making it pretty clear that when you put something out in front of the public you no longer control the message.

Anonymous Adgrunt's picture

"This series is being posted to various forums, and out of context, the original intent of this series is unclear."

Tumblr has so much to answer for, like making an entire generation stupid.

kidsleepy's picture

"It's acclaim and prize status is justifiable, but it's also making it pretty clear that when you put something out in front of the public you no longer control the message."

Or the expiration date. I assume you realize this is eight years old, right? This didn't come out yesterday.

As pointed out, it is not art, and it isn't making a political statement. It is an ad. It isn't an actual diagram based on a poll. It is an ad. It is selling a magazine and the wide range of coverage found within. That's it.

And judging by the fact it is still being discussed nearly nine years later, I'd say they did an amazing job at it.

Anonymous Adgrunt's picture

Fair point

Dabitch's picture

I can't believe this article is still getting comments...

Dabitch's picture

How does my reply shine a light on why this happens? You'd think the post itself, which points out that this began touring the world as anything but ads, way back in 2005, would be the light-shining thing. Oh hello coffee-cup, I shall drink thee. I might be misunderstanding. *slurp* Nope, don't think so. Still doesn't make sense.

Yep, I still have a hard time understanding why people are nitpicking this ads idea to carry the exact percentages of oil consumption s vs oil production. The yellow and blue spells out "more consumed than produced" which is accurate enough.

This is one of the campaigns that tours the web every so often, it went viral in 2005 already. But it's an ad campaign, not an education tool. In fact the examples used are uneducated. They are stereotypes! Colombia exports coffee and cocaine, that's a very one-dimensional view. Reading this magazine, you'd get a more nuanced view.

LeFu...'s picture

Did anyone proofread this article? Because none of the images embeded to text are working.

Sport's picture

I still don't understand how people can seriously believe that flags, original flags in the correct colors and with the stripes and colors in the sizes they always are on each countries flag, somehow are exact representations of the numbers presented with them.

The "for Iraq war, Against Iraq war" are stereotypes at best.
The exports or cocaine vs coffee-beans a clear joke.
This is being taken far too seriously, considering how banal ad simplified it actually is.

Dabitch's picture

Well, some don't find it so obvious: "Looking up those statistics does quickly bring some of these visuals into question though." They LOOKED IT UP!
The obvious idea wasn't obvious enough. One has to CHECK THE NUMBERS.

AnonymousCoward's picture

The inaccuracies matter because they perpetuate stereotypes and mislead. The Colombian flag perpetuates the notion that the number #1 Colombia export is cocaine. It isn't, petroleum is (twice as much petroleum as cocaine as a matter of fact).

This stuff then gets to uniformed Americans that proceed to vote for Pro-Drug War candidates. So, no, this campaign does more harm than good.

PS. Colombia exports more flowers than bananas. So why choose bananas? Banana Republic?

Dabitch's picture

This campaign ran in Portugal. What was that you said about inaccuracies? Care to try again?

The idea is simple - if you read the magazine, you'll be better informed.