Happiness Not Guaranteed

‘Retail therapy’ is the act of shopping as a way to relieve emotional distress in our own lives. These purchases may result in temporary joy for some, but the happiness felt from buying a new item rarely lasts longer than a few days. This cycle of shop, feel good, shop, feel good which we refer to as ‘retail therapy’ not only fails to serve a long-term solution to our own problems but also contributes to the detrimental consequences of over-consumption.

The campaign aims to educate consumers on the danger of overconsumption. Targeting the term ‘retail therapy’, this campaign highlights that false emotion of happiness that is brought about by the purchase of physical possession. The aim of the campaign is to reveal some of the obvious ploys and tactics used by online stores to entice consumers to succumb to retail therapy. The need to shop can be directly linked to the digital media and online advertising that bombards us with messages urging us to shop. Consumer education is the most effective way to alter consumers’ patterns from a quantity-based consumption to a quality-based one and to change our increasing consumption levels. This campaign aims to highlight and acknowledge the messages that retailers use to entice consumers to shop and keep shopping. The campaign directs the audience’s attention towards these ploys in a means to educate consumers and create a more conscious consumer culture.



My process began by researching and dissecting the issue of overconsumption. From this, I found that digital media plays a huge role in enabling this overconsumption by continually encouraging us to buy more, particularly with targeted ads on retail sites. This research helped me in my decision to utilise pop-up ads in a way that highlights and acknowledges messages that are used to entice consumers to succumb to retail therapy. I decided to combine photographic and digital imagery with messages from pop ups that a general person would encounter while browsing a retail site. The ads were an element that interrupted the typography showcasing the obstructive nature of digital advertising. This approach helped to create an overwhelming visual style that was reflective of the nature of advertising. The main message of the campaign is showcased in the title, ‘Happiness Not Guaranteed’. This title emphasises that the joy we feel from consumerism is temporary. One obstacle I faced while creating this campaign was the struggle to maintain a clear message throughout. To do this I made sure to regularly ask myself, ‘what am I trying to say?’ and often reflected on the level of communication of the message.