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This ingenious billboard ad raises awareness of a serious issue

NFS advertising
(Image credit: Y&R Amsterdam)

Advertising that seeks to raise awareness of how we respond to particular conditions can be difficult to get right, but this creative outdoor campaign seems to have nailed it. Using a strikingly unusual format of three linked vertical street poster billboards, it grabs attention in a light-hearted way while delivering a serious message.

Often non-stuttering people accidentally interrupt people who stutter by finishing their sentences. This campaign for the Dutch Stutter Foundation (NFS) tells us this isn’t necessary, and that instead we should be patient and allow people to speak. See our collection of some of the best billboard advertising for more great examples of outdoor communication.

NFS ad

Y&R Amsterdam's original campaign in Dutch (Image credit: Y&R Amsterdam)

Created by Y&R Amsterdam, the campaign uses the phrase, "Be patient with people who stutter" repeated on overlapping boards to create the visual sense of a stutter. It was run way back in 2011, but it's still being shared and appreciated on Reddit's design porn channel today. It's been particularly praised by people who have a stutter themselves. 

One person commented: "Really appreciate the sign. It's really never talked about, nor are the effects on your life understood." "I love this so much. My childhood was absolutely scourged by my terrible stutter," another person commented. 

Non-stutterers also praised the sign for raising awareness of how they respond in conversations with people who have speech disorders. One person wrote: "I like that this sign calls your attention directly to the full and cut broken version of the sentence. To me, it emphasises that even if someone stutters, you can easily just look/listen right past it and still understand the person without calling attention to their stutter."

This kind of creative reinterpretation of advertising supports can make for eyecatching campaigns. For more inspiration, see our roundup of the best print adverts of all time, and to get started with your own creative ideas, check out the best prices on Adobe's Creative Cloud suite of apps below.

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Joseph is a freelance journalist and translator, as well as a project manager at a design agency based in Buenos Aires. His interests include graphic design and social media. He spends his nights dancing tango and drinking malbec.