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Are you sure?


Description of campaign/project

The other day I overheard a conversation between two men in the Valley.
One asked the other...
"Why are you so broke anyway?"

The other replied...
"Credit card payments."

I have always had a grudge against credit cards. I have never owned one and neither has my parents. The thought of money on hand and the thought of paying it back plus more has never appealed to me.
After overhearing this conversation, it really brought to light that too many people have fallen into the credit trap, resulting in them being broke and others shamefully knowing about it. Credit cards debt and the detrimental impacts of it is my focus for my assignment. Rather than force feeding copious amounts of factual information down societies throats, I have applied a playful and ironic view to my work in order to present a persuasive message.

My concept relates directly to debt through the device of credit card use. With knowledge from, Graeber’s Debt: The first 5000 years (2009), debt comes in many forms and affects everyone in some way. Credit cards are an outstanding vessel for debt. Personally, I disagree with the use of such cards because of the detrimental impacts they ensue. The Memefest outline asks to for me to“respond to this position from your gut“, hence I chose this concept for my responsive communication design. I have taken an ironic approach to my designs, in order to voice a serious issue in a new light.
My designs are four advertisements all based upon my hypothetical bank - “Are You Sure“. It has been revealed that “credit card logos have come to symbolise the ability to “buy now, pay later“ - which communicates an ability to commit consequence-free actions“ (Compared for me 2011). It is obvious that credit cards go hand in hand with consequences. This is exactly why people fall into the credit trap and find themselves in too deep. My aim in the creation of the ‘Are You Sure’ bank is to make people question their purchases and think of the reality. The logo incorporates a subtle question mark to reinforce it’s identity and purpose - to question. Banks set out to encourage spending, in turn creating wealthy profits for themselves at the expense of others. The second emotional stage of making a purchase is guilt, therefore hopefully my card would pull on that emotion before the deed is done and there is no going back (Compared for me 2011).
Three of the adverts aim to persuade the public to spend wisely and question using credit options. To ask people to question the use of credit cards is simply not enough, and for this reason my forth advertisement reveals the reality through persuasive, ironic advertisements.

Advertisement 1
Introduction of the Are You Sure Bank.
With a general new card advert persona, my design presents the ‘accurate‘ fine print as part of the advert.

Advertisement 2
The eftpos transaction.
Shows what really should be on an eftpos machine.
Highlights the crucial decisions you make every time you swipe your card.

Advertisment 3
Binge Buying.
A dramatic visual to represent binge buying.
Created to make the viewer see the rational side to overspending.

Advertisment 4
The reality.
Why should you rebel against credit cards?
Created in a shopping receipt format, the impacts that every excess purchase has on people’s mental and physical heath.
Paired in classic fashion with a stream of eye catching adverts on the reverse side, an ironic theme is at play.

I use a visual approach with a humoristic nature. Posters will be placed in the sight of consumerists to raise awareness and curiosity.

Credit cards are extremely harmful to peoples’ mental and physical health, as I have revealed in my designs. I hope that my campaign can raise awareness, therefore reduce credit card use and enhance society’s financial prosperity and stability.

I learnt a great deal from creating my work. The Graeber reading (2009) and the Debtocracy Documentary (2011) opened my eyes to the forms of debt and the detrimental spiralling down effect that is still yet to change. I was aware of the logical impacts of credit card debt, but not aware of the intensity and amount of people tied down by the burden.


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Entry details


Are you sure?


really? really really?

Concept author(s)

Emma Costello

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

Sole Author



Copy author(s)

Emma Costello

Copy author(s) year(s) of birth


Copy author(s) contribution

Sole designer



Competition category


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

Queensland College of Art Bachelor of Design