These Ads About Fake News Make You Work a Little, Just as You Should Before Sharing Stories Online

JWT's zany new typeface for the News Literacy Project

Headshot of Angela Natividad

It’s the share-before-reading era. You’ve done it, I’ve done it—grabbed a headline, shared it superfast, and moved on. Who has time to read anymore?

This is one of the ways fake news—on top of news that’s, like, two years old—can proliferate. We’re flaring up and paying less attention. The results have resonated through our political landscape and social networks, so the News Literacy Project (NPL) wants to change this nasty habit by encouraging people to slow down and take a deeper dive.

But how?

In partnership with J. Walter Thompson New York, the organization has released #SeeAlltheAngles, a mind-boggling series of print ads in which it presents a strange new typeface.

The campaign puts a literal spin on lettering, by flipping letters on their sides. (Imagine if all letters were three-dimensional, then turned to the right.)

Below are a few of the ads; see if you can work out what they say before you’re given the key.


For the next six months, the ads—which read “See All the Angles,” “Get a New Perspective” and “Question Everything”—will run alongside relevant articles in The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, AOL, Miami Herald and more, both online and offline. All media space was donated by Kargo, as well as other JWT media partners.

Here’s the alphabet:

“The intent of the design is to give the reader pause,” explains Aaron Padin, head of art and design at JWT New York. “The time it takes them to decipher the font mimics the amount of time and care readers should take when reading and internalizing a typical news headline.”

The Pew Research Center reports that only 39 percent of American adults felt “very confident” that they could recognize fake news. And Common Sense Media found that over 30 percent of tweens and teens said they forwarded an online news story in the last six months that they later discovered was “inaccurate.”

In addition to the ads, the team created a mobile app called “Headline Maker,” where journalists and educators can create their own headlines and messages using what they’re calling the “typeside font.” They can then share those messages using hashtag #SeeAlltheAngles. NLP website visitors can also download the font and associated posters.

“J. Walter Thompson approached us with this innovative idea, which we found was aligned with the News Literacy Project’s mission,” says NLP President Alan Miller. “We don’t tell students what to consume or what to trust. Rather, we provide the tools to give them the ability to think critically and dig deeper into news and information and to make their own judgments about what to trust, share and act on.”

Through media partner Kargo, JWT also claims the ads will be able to reach 100 percent of smartphone users.

“The issue of fake news is a particularly important one to Kargo because our clients rely on us to ensure their ads appear alongside the most premium editorial content that’s aligned with their brand image—that means no fake news, no fraud and 100 percent human traffic,” adds founder/CEO Harry Kargman of Kargo. “Kargo has always stood for brand safety, so we are thrilled to donate mobile ad space to help promote this important message.”

Since the ads are mostly targeted to young people, they will drive people to the NLP website, which sports an e-learning tool called the “checkology virtual classroom” that teachers can use for free. Some 6,000 teachers already use the tool, which teaches middle- and high-school students how to filter fake news from real news. It features four modules and a check tool, which can be completed in 15-20 hours.

Below, check out another version of the leading “See All the Angles” ad.


Client: The New Literacy Project
Agency: J. Walter Thompson New York
Chief Creative Officer: Brent Choi
Head of Art & Design: Aaron Padin
Executive Creative Director: Greg Erdelyi
Type Designer: Steven Lao
Art Director / Copywriter: Jessica Toye
Project Manager: Catalina Condon
Strategist: Andrew Magrini

Client Team: Alan Miller – President & CEO; Darragh Worland – Vice President, Digital Media; Erika Hobbs, Communications Director

Lead Mobile Engineers: Victor Sima, Jake Lavenberg, WFT Productions LLC
Typographer: Ray Cruz

Media Agency: Kargo

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.
Publish date: April 11, 2017 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT