An African American family stands right outside of their home facing away from it. You can assume this argument is correct because there is a middle-aged bald man, a woman, and two young children, boy and girl. The mom and dad are holding a lot of things in their arms, which leads one to believe they just left the house they own. Both the mother and father have colorful collared shirts with no stains or wrinkles, and the woman’s hair is done nicely, it doesn’t look ratty. This gives one the impression that they are not poor. Maybe they are not rich either but they definitely have some money. The mom is holding the boy in her left arm, a bag in her left hand, some sort of satchel wrapped around her torso, and a coffee in her right hand. The dad carries a stroller on one arm and a computer carrier on the other, in his hands he has a drink and several toys/stuffed animals, presumably for the two children. It seems as though the parents have a lot to juggle. This is not only physically, but rhetorically the director wants us to know they are busy people with a lot going on in their lives.
The little girl comes more into the frame from being hidden behind her father. Judging by his facial expression the girl bumped into him a little and he’s thinking “hey!watch it”! The girl seems happy as you can see a smile starting to form on her face. The little boy just sits in his mom’s arm and we can tell he is the younger one since he’s being carried while his sister walks. They are a little farther from the house here, signifying that they are indeed walking away from it. The mother’s head is slightly tilted upward in this frame, giving the impression that she is talking a breath of fresh air as she exits the house. This implies that, for some reason, they are happy to be leaving.
In this shot, the mother’s eyes are looking off into the distance, she could be looking at a person, or an object, or anything really. Her expression shows a slight curve of her lips, like she is not ecstatic but is content and satisfied with what she sees.
At five seconds, the ad shows the daughter tugging at one of the toys her dad is carrying in his hand.It is a chain of colorful rings. The fact that she is doing this could either mean that she is just a young kid who wants her toy, or it could mean that she’s nervous or excited for something. She might also be using it to tug at her dad and catch his attention, but it’s unlikely because her mouth is not open so she isn’t speaking.
Here we are shown that the dad has what looks like a bagel in his mouth. This shows that they are running late because he didn’t even have time to finish his breakfast. Also, he is looking down at and bending his body towards the stroller in his right arm, as if it’s slipping from his grip. The girl has a big smile now which means she is probably laughing at her dad. Again, the director wants to show that they are an ordinary, happy family with money but the parents are juggling a lot with the kids.
The dad still has the stroller in his arm, but now it seems like the mom is hiking up her son to not drop him! Her hair is bouncing up from her movement and she brought her left arm very high up her torso, seemingly to get a better grip on the boy. Since they have all this stuff that they can hardly carry, I’d say they are going on a trip or somewhere for the day. It won’t be a very long trip because there are no suitcases seen, but it will definitely be a long car ride and day.
At 0:11, the little girl is still pulling her dad along with the chain, and since kids don’t usually care about being late to school or boring appointments, I think they are heading somewhere fun because she seems very happy and excited.
This shot is a picture of the dad’s legs, because they are a males legs and, again, the little boy is being carried, but the feet in this picture are on the brick ground. The legs have very nice khaki pants and brown leather shoes, which supports the idea that they are well off. To the bottom left of the screen, in the grass, lies part of one of the toys he was holding. It sort of looks like a face and has the same colors as a long piece directly above it, meaning that the head of that toy disconnected and fell into the dirt. It seems there are a lot of shots like these- the parents are dropping things and scrambling to get somewhere with the kids.
We now longer see the house in the background of the family as the shot has moved from right in front of them to to their left- we are looking at them from a side view. On the edge of the left hand side of the screen there is a car. It looks like a black/grey minivan which would make sense because that is a great car for a family with kids. This vehicle lines up perfectly with what the mother was looking at before, meaning that everyone was excited to get to this car. By now I’m pretty sure this is a car commercial without ever hearing the words, music, or watching it in its fluidity.
The dad and daughter have left the frame but the mom, still holding her son, is reaching to place her coffee on the roof of her car, probably so she can have an extra hand to get the key out or get ready to put her son in his seat.
At 20 seconds it shows the father strapping his daughter into her car seat as she holds a bowl of cereal in one hand and her other hand is at her mouth, so she, too, did not have time to finish her meal. Both of them look very happy so we are lead to believe they are a good, loving family and (if all the toys weren’t enough to see this) the parents do a lot for the boy and girl.
Here we have a close-up of the seat belt on the girl’s car seat being strapped in. Now it can be concluded that the ad is definitely about keeping your family safe at the busiest, craziest of times. A seatbelt is a symbol of safety so I’m sure the car company is using safety as one of its main points to consider when purchasing a vehicle. It doesn’t show a group of tattooed, scarred men in leather jackets buckling themselves in, but rather cute kids and a happy family because everybody wants to keep their family safe, especially parents with toddlers.
This is a good shot because it skipped to the cereal being thrown around in the air. I assume this is relatable for most parents with young kids. The dad’s expression is of course shocked and he is yelling something, but the little girl is having a blast with the biggest smile.
There is another close-up in this shot and the close-ups really show what the important parts of the video are, because everything else was filmed from a distance of a few feet, as if we were there watching them, although the close-ups give us an “inside view”. At 24 seconds it shows a close-up of a female hand with a wedding ring on it buckling in another seatbelt. This is the mother’s hand securing her son into his car seat, so now we subliminally know that both of the kids are safe and ready for the drive to wherever. While the quality of this video is clear and it looks well-produced, it’s meant to be messy and all-over-the-place with all of the running late, dropping stuff, and spilling things. The message to be received, though, is that no matter how hard it gets to juggle things and get the job done, safety is always most important, especially when it comes to family.
This is not a filmed part, but a computer-produced page that includes the website name to some organization. The name is pretty big and stands out from the bright blue background, so we as viewers are supposed to know it’s important and worth reading/remembering. I initially thought this was a commercial for minivans or some other car brands up until the last frame. This is because above the website name there are four images of car seats with seatbelts clearly crossing over them. This might be an ad for either the car seat company itself, or just the promoting of being safe and buckling your kids in. To know exactly I would need to hear the words and music and watch it all at once, but just from viewing it this way I got a very good sense of what the video is talking about. The actors, directors, and producers did a good job of getting the message across, even without the use of exterior persuasion methods like background music.
What confuses me about the opening is that dad appears focused on something in the distant sky, or on the roof of the house across the street, and that mom does a neighborhood scan as she spins away from the front door. What the hell are they looking at, or for? You say it’s obvious they own this house, but I get the contrary impression that they rang the doorbell and got no answer and are now perplexed about what happens next. Maybe they’re hoping some neighbor will say, “They’re away for the weekend. Didn’t they tell you?” If the video provides no explanation for this strangeness, I’ll consider that a strange failure.
Mom’s hair flip, to me, is an expression of confidence and pride. It says to me, “I’ve got this.” So, I’m still confused about how their initial look of confusion becomes self-control.
And, just as quickly, their fragile control begins to crumble as the child bangs into dad and he “loses his grip” on the too-many things he’s juggling. You prepped us for this, and you were right. But did the director do a good job of letting us see their control first before upsetting it?
I’m not going to watch the rest. But I want you to re-consider your approach to the first few seconds. Be analytical and critical of the presentation. Does it send clear messages and tell a coherent story? Or does it send false clues and not redeem them? You don’t have to agree with my take, but you don’t have to agree with the director’s either.
I notice that in later notes you indicate you’re convinced this is a car ad. How does that confusion contribute to the video’s effectiveness? Or does it? You’re doing a good job here, Sunshine. Your notes indicate you’re carefully considering the camera shots, the angles, the differences between wide shots and closeups. How would you improve the ad if you had to provide the best possible narrative in the same amount of time?