Post A: You can say ‘No’!

As my tutor once said,

Don’t be that guy who designs a betting ad on the Sydney Opera House.

(T. Stoddard 2018, pers. comm., 26 October)

Such advice is important to remember going into the ‘real world’ and realising that with design comes responsibility, especially when you have industries going unchecked like the Australian betting industry or big tobacco in Indonesia.

(Dragfepic n.d.)(PapaTama n.d.)

Integral to the Indonesian tobacco industry’s success is the pervasive nature of their advertisements and the way in which they pinpoint and target specific values like nationalism and modernity. In the upscale Djarum Black’s adverts, the sleek black packet is depicted as elegant and directly appeals to the upper middle class and the modern smoker. It notes that those who smoke Djarum Black are progressive and value new ideas. Similarly, their advert for “New Djarum Black Cappuccino” features a costly drink that isn’t drunk by the masses, linking this refined modern taste with traditional Indonesian kretek (Nichter et al. 2009). It’s this visual freedom that Indonesia’s tobacco design has, compared to somewhere like Australia, that allows it to play such a huge role in its success.


(Sydney Morning Herald 2018)

In Australia, a comparative case where one industry was given overreaching freedom in its advertising medium is the scandal around Racing NSW’s use of the Sydney Opera House for its own advertisement. This kind of promotion comes in breach of the guidelines for the World Heritage-listed structure to be managed in the public interest (The Age 2018), and while Racing NSW is not a private company, it sets precedent for big brands to target landmark sites such as this. While it is unlikely that Racing NSW will attempt to advertise on the sails of Sydney Opera House again (Butson 2018) due to the massive backlash, it is imperative that Australians remain vigilant against such propaganda taking over our beloved landmarks, as has already been demonstrated through active protest.

While we do not always have control, as designers, over the content we design, we do have the choice to design for causes we believe will better humanity or protest as consumers against a design which oversteps its place.


Butson, T. 2018, Racing NSW unlikely to replicate Opera House race projection after backlash, SBS News, viewed 1 February 2019, <>.

Dragfepic n.d., viewed 1 February 2019, <>.

Nichter, M., Padmawati, S., Danardono, M., Ng, N., Pradanbari, Y. & Nichter, M. 2009, ‘Reading culture from tobacco advertisements in Indonesia’, Tobacco Control, vol. 18, viewed 1 February 2019, <>.

PapaTama n.d., Djarum, Pinterest, viewed 1 February 2019, <>.

Sydney Morning Herald, Cheap ads must not tarnish Opera House brand, viewed 1 February 2019, <>.

The Age 2018, Iconic Opera House trashed by betting ad, viewed 1 February 2019, <>.

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