Studio Xuxa draws attention to Spain's heatwave crisis with retro travel posters
The creative duo behind studio Xuxa - Diego Lauton and Fede Botella - have highlighted Spain's climate crisis in a series of AI-produced posters that riff on the look and feel of vintage tourism adverts.
Created in Midjourney, the cleverly-titled series called Visit Pain was inspired by a recent holiday the pair took in the region during a heatwave. And while they were impressed by the temperature - "over 35 degrees in April" - they were troubled to learn that a rise of 1.5 degrees in recent years has led to droughts and death.
"It is a personal project born out of our love for Spain and the sadness of seeing it subjected to this heatwave," the pair tell Creative Boom. "The impact this has on the countryside, on the people who live in the countryside and even on deaths from heat stroke is devastating.
"We don't really know if this campaign can do anything to raise awareness about climate change, but we couldn't do anything other than what we know how to do: use creativity to try to generate conversation and reach common ground to improve the situation."
The result is three posters that echo an actual campaign from the '60s and '70s called Visit Spain. "They were vintage posters with that classic illustration style in which different characters enjoyed the Spanish climate and lifestyle," the pair add. "We wanted to adapt this campaign using the same illustration style but with today's weather conditions."
So whereas the illustrated characters used to happily lap up the rays, now they're sweating and perishing under the punishing heat. Even the slogans have been updated to include ominous nods to the threats of dehydration, heat stroke, and sunburn. Capping off the AI-designed posters is the sun itself, which eclipses the lettering so that 'Spain' reads as 'Pain'.
Hoping to get an authentic look for these posters, Diego and Fede turned to AI for the first time. "We are not experts, so we tried different prompts around 'Spain vintage travel posters and people suffering a heat wave,'" they reveal. "After several adjustments and adaptations, we achieved a result we liked."
Artificial intelligence tools are something of a contentious issue in creative circles, and the pair admit they originally had a disparity on the issue. "Diego believed from the beginning that it would be a great creative tool, and Fede was more sceptical," they explain. "We had tried it together before, and nothing had yet convinced us. But looking at the result of our Visit Pain campaign, our opinion is clear: it really is a valuable tool which brings ideas to life that would otherwise be difficult to achieve.
"We understand the controversy, but we owe ourselves to ideas. Anything that helps bring good ideas into the world has our support."
Indeed, the biggest challenge the pair encountered while creating the Visit Pain series was making the idea itself a reality. "Making Visit Pain in a way that reached out and touched people enough to talk about the campaign, and the issue it touches, was not easy," they conclude. "Fortunately, we managed to do something that generated enough interest for people to talk about it, which we are very grateful for."