Four Negatives Make a Positive

Monocle, September 2010 (Click to enlarge) I love this simple ad for Philips lighting solutions; a truffle amid mushrooms of mediocre print advertising.

Part of the company’s larger “livable cities” campaign, the ad transforms a banal message (lighting makes streets safer) into something brilliant.

One of the reasons why: The client wasn’t afraid to break one of the time-worn taboos of consensus-driven groups—Never put a negative into a headline.

OK then, this ad seems to ask, how about four? Just imagine how a committee would have re-written this: “Because visitors and tourists feel safer and more secure in well-lit neighborhoods.”

So-called negative words don’t carry negative connotation when placed in a strongly positive context. That’s just negative thinking. This ad helps me see Philips in a refreshingly positive light.