The real cost of an iPhone 5

In simple terms this project involved reading a newspaper article, taking an opinion on it and trying to convey this message to a particular audience. The outcome had to conform to letterbox dimensions in order to be able to be posted through doors. My article uncovered the conditions in Chinese factories that produced supplies for iPhone manufacturing. After backing up the article with further research I was shocked by most of the facts and figures. Many workers end up living in dorms within the factory gates to accommodate for their long continuous shifts – meaning there is no escape from the environment. Reluctance to comply with safety precautions led to factory explosions and the hopelessness felt by some workers pushed them to suicide. There is a lot more to the story and I decided I didn’t want a message saying ‘this is bad, this is bad and this is bad’ in a long monotonous list so I would need to provide a much more simplified message that draws the reader in and then guides them to a source of further information.

I liked the idea of comparing how convenient our lives are to the lives of the Chinese workers who barely meet their basic needs by advertising fictitious apps in an Apple style iPhone promotion. The aim was to appeal to a widespread consumer audience, familiar with Apple’s highly successful visual style, who might pick up the product intrigued as to what the latest feature or gadget was being promoted. Only when looking more closely at the picture can you notice that the apps claim to function as a toilet break allocator or a suicide counter. I thought the tagline ‘You can’t afford to eat on the production line. There’s an app for that.’ was punchy and to the point. Firstly it mocks how apps appear to be able to do almost anything these days, making our lives more convenient and us more reliant upon them, but it’s also making a light-hearted dig at Apple saying that it doesn’t matter that during the production of the phone the worker gets, for example, insufficient sleep – that the ‘smartphone’ will restore it for them meaning they can maximise their working hours.


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