Our thoughts on a fearless brand

Seven years on from their last global campaign, The Guardian recently released the emotionally-charged Hope is power. Speaking to the unique challenges faced by journalism today, this new campaign marks a striking change in tone from 2012’s Three Little Pigs.

Hope is Power: The Guardian’s new global brand campaign

Stemming from editor Katharine Viner’s essay A mission for journalism in a time of crisis, Hope is Power responds to the increasingly polar, and unstable realities of the world today. Their call to action – for readers and journalists to support each other – also marks a break from those positioning themselves as custodians of public attitude and thought. The Times’ Political Jungle campaign, for example, seeks to guide readers through the world, rather than perhaps empowering them to change it.

The core message of action and unity is bolstered by bold, powerful semiotic cues. The iconic Guardian typeface stands printed black, against a vivid yellow surface – conveying urgency and warning. This aesthetic choice also signals clarity amongst the chaos, complementing statements charged with emotion and inspiration. But we find the image of the butterfly most interesting. The delicate, fluttering symbol of beauty and innocence is the hero in The Guardian’s story; both reader and writer together against the malign influences of fake news.

Hope is Power draws on semiotic cues of bold, fearless urgency

The video aspect of the campaign climaxes with the butterfly, trapped in an empty house, breaking through a pane of glass to reach the world outside. Though small, this symbol of good liberates itself from its artificial confines. Drawing on chaos theory’s Butterfly Effect, this moment of triumph could be merely the beginning of a cascade of events – initiated by an unlikely hero. This message seems particularly pertinent to those at the forefront of protest movements today.

This campaign is, we think, a powerful example of how brands can tap into the fault lines between hope & fear in an ever-changing climate of trust. In doing so, The Guardian stands clear in its ambition to speak truth to power, creating a signal of action and genuine empowerment. And at a time when so many feel powerless to effect change, it’s clear that fearlessness is one quality we are all still drawn to.

Saskia Hamilton-Bowker


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