0:00 – 0:01
The ad starts with an African-American, young man in his mid-twenties kneeling on the ground rolling up a thin, yoga-like mat. There are two duffel-like packed bags behind him on the floor with a bucket-hat on top of one of the bags. These items suggest that the man is packing for some sort of outdoor trip. He seems to be very focused on his task as if he is getting ready to go somewhere that day. He is clean shaven, casually dressed, and in a well-kept room where the sun is shining through a window to the inside of a nice home. He is exhaling a mouth full of smoke, not very health conscious, while he is completing the task.
The creator is showing a young, fit, African-American male who is prepping for an outing. The ad shows, without mistake, a big puff of white smoke coming out of his mouth. This puff of smoke seems to be a focal point of this section of the video. It is a key point that the creator intends to make clear to the viewers.
The next scene is a white, young man also in his mid-twenties, packing up a yellow duffel bag. He also seems to be preparing to go somewhere. We only see his arms which appear to be wearing a nice dress shirt, with his sleeves cuffed up a couple of times, indicating a nicer day outside. It is most likely late summer or early fall based on the way these men are dressed.
The creator practically mimics this scene to the previous one, most likely an intentional move. This time it is a white man, similarly dressed, also packing a bag. The two men are most likely going to be friends. The maker of the ad is incorporating diversity in the ad.
0:02 – 0:03
The next scene is what seems to be that very same white, young man, casually but nicely dressed. He is walking down a set of stairs holding a bag on each of his shoulders and also carrying a bag in his right hand. As he is walking down the stairs, he too is exhaling a mouthful of smoke. Again, not very health conscious. At this point, it appears these two young men could be friends and possibly going on an outdoor trip together. Since, there is no evidence of sporting equipment or big pieces of luggage, the trip could be a short, casual, relaxing camping trip.
The designer of the ad is making sure the viewer notices that the white male is exhaling a puff of smoke, too. Here, the viewer is connecting the dots that these two men are sharing a friendship, they smoke, they hang out, they are young, and ready to have fun. It does not appear that these men have huge responsibilities, instead, it seems like they are at a stage of their life where they are more carefree.
0:03 – 0:06
Now, we are shown a close-up of an African-American female, in her mid-twenties, walking towards what seems to be a door of a house, as she is also exhaling smoke. As she turns to her left, she sees the white man smiling at the front door. She is also dressed casually and they both appear to be friends and comfortable with each other, like they have known each other for a while. The friends are a diverse group. They like each other, enjoy the outdoors, enjoy smoking; they have a lot in common. These are the bonds that hold them together.
The creator of the ad introduces a young, African-American female that is also within the same age group as the men. She, too, enjoys to smoke. It seems to be the “thing” of this group. Again, the creator is incorporating diversity and making it clear in the ad campaign.
0:06 – 0:07
The yellow duffel bag is tossed into the trunk of an SUV which already seems to be full of other bags, blankets, a tent bag, and a cooler. It looks like a sunny, beautiful day, but it could be a little cool due to the clothing being worn by the people. The contents of the SUV suggest a camping trip.
We are understanding that the idea is a trip. There are friends meeting up at a house of one of their friends. It seems easy and casual.
0:07 – 0:08
The two men are walking to the trunk of the SUV to pack their bags, they seem to be very friendly with each other and in good spirits. They are talking in a friendly manner about the trip they are about to go on together with their other friends.
The creator is bringing the viewer to a spot where we realize that these friends are close and probably went on a trip in the past. It all seems smooth and natural to them. They are all going with the flow.
0:08 – 0:10
Now, a blonde haired, white girl, also in her mid-twenties, walks in the direction of the two men, passes the African-American female and she, too, exhales a large mouth full of smoke. They all smoke and have this trait in common. The white man closes the trunk of the SUV vehicle and we can assume that all four friends are in the SUV, since we see the passenger side doors on the SUV closing. They are going on their camping trip.
The creator introduces another female, white, blonde, and a smoker. She seems friendly and happy. She is the last one of the group. It is a diverse group of four, two males, and two females.
0:10 – 0:19
The Afrian-American man is in the passenger front seat wearing a seatbelt. Both women and the white man are in the back seats with their seat belts fastened. No one is in the driver’s seat. The African-American man in the front passenger seat looks behind him at the other man and women in the back seat. There is communication among the friends. They all seem to have a concerned and confused look on their face because no one is in the driver’s seat.
The creator is clearly making a statement that no one is driving. Each of the individuals blew smoke from their mouths, indicating to the viewer that they all feel as if they cannot drive. At this moment, it is more clear that this is not cigarette smoke, but marijuana smoke.
0:19 – 0:24
Then, the African-American man turns around, smirks with a hint of disappointment, then nods and smiles. Then, the other three friends in the back seat start smiling and laughing. At the same time, all four friends unbuckle their seat belts and exit the SUV.
Here, it is quite evident that the creator of the ad is demonstrating safe driving and self awareness. It is a public service announcement that no one should drive under the influence.
0:24 – 0:26
The African-American man opens the trunk with his three friends next to him. They are all smiling and laughing. They seemed to be relaxed, carefree and having fun. The blonde, white girl reaches into the trunk to begin to unpack their belongings. They are no longer going on a camping trip.
They wisely, on their own, pulled out of the trip. The creator wanted to prove that you can indeed cancel a trip, even up to the very last second, if it is necessary.
0:26 – 0:30
Next scene, all four of the friends are now sitting out front of the house talking and laughing with each other. Three of them are in what look like camping chairs and the African-American man is sitting on the ground on top of a blanket. All of them are in long pants and long sleeve shirts. The four friends are all sitting in a semi-circle next to the SUV, parked in the driveway. The two men high-five each other. They all have smiles on their faces and do not seem to be disappointed that they did not go on their camping trip. They all came to the realization that they each smoked that day and none of them were able to drive. They are making the best out of the moment, still spending quality time with each other, and valuing their friendships.
A happy outcome is left with the viewer. The creator wants to end the ad, purposefully, on a positive note. Even though there is no trip, after all the packing and planning and meeting up, the friends still camp out, but on the lawn outside of the house.
Rhetoric: The director chose this particular scenario to show the audience that being responsible when you are knowingly under the influence of any drug, is imperative. This act saves lives. As little or as much intake of any drug, legal or illegal, cannot ever be combined with driving a motor vehicle. In the last scene, when all four friends finally discover that each of them “smoked,” it was clear that they knew, immediately, they were not driving and that their trip was done. A smart move on their part. They could have saved each other’s lives that day with that one decision. Note: The creator of the ad respectfully included closed captioning (CC) for the hearing impaired.
Logos: This part of the video is when we individually see each one of the friends come into the scene exhaling smoke. It is from that moment when we, as the audience, realize that the trip needs to be called off immediately. It is logical to the audience that drugs interfere with and impair one’s senses.
Pathos: We feel for the characters that, after so much work and preparation, the trip is not going to happen.
Ethos: This is an awareness video and a drug impaired video. The author sends a message that you cannot ever drive under the influence. The creator clearly shows all of the individuals at the end of the video, looking at each other and exiting the car. Here at this moment, the viewer sees that each character felt the same; do not drive under the influence.
I haven’t watched the entire video, ChickenNugget, so I don’t know any more than you did after you were four seconds in, but I have LOTS of questions you haven’t answered for me:
We’re shown FOUR SCENES in about FOUR SECONDS and in EVERY ONE the main character is exhaling smoke. It’s hard to slow down your reactions long enough to record them, CNug, but it’s the job of the Visual Rhetoric assignment to do so.
You need to share with your reader what you believe the director was up to by stacking the deck with examples that way. Are all the characters intended to represent a type? Do their differences in gender and ethnicity interfere with that intention?
Is there any contradiction between people who might be planning a camping trip or certainly an outdoor adventure and their smoking? Are they athletic? Health-conscious?
You see what I’m getting at? Whether we want to or not, we’re noticing details and using them to draw conclusions WHILE WE’RE WATCHING. How do we know this? We feel surprised later on in a story or an ad to see that our EXPECTATIONS were incorrect.
We didn’t even notice we HAD expectations until the director USED THEM to teach us a lesson about drawing the wrong conclusions! (Just an example)
0:00 – 0:01
The ad starts with a young man kneeling on the ground rolling up a mat. He seems to be very focused on his task as if he is getting ready to go somewhere. He is clean shaven, casually dressed, and inside a well-kept room which seems to be inside of a nice home. He is exhaling a mouth full of smoke while he is completing the task.
—Day or night?
—Would you call it a yoga mat? Or is it too thin for that? Does it have a vapor-barrier side? If so, it’s for placing on the damp, cold ground. Perhaps underneath a sleeping bag?
—I like your visual analysis about focus and our center of attention.
—I notice you didn’t mention the race of the character although it seems obvious. As much as we like to think we’re color-blind, the actor was not cast blindly.
—Does it matter? It does somehow. You get to decide why.
The next scene is another man packing up a yellow duffel bag. We only see his arms which appear to be wearing a nice dress shirt, with his sleeves cuffed up a couple of times, indicating a nicer day outside.
—Are you ready to suggest that the two scenes might be related? Both prepping for some sort of journey, trip, travel? We could be wrong, but we do jump to such conclusions based on similarities in characters’ dress, demeanor, activity.
—Good observation of costuming indicating season. Does it indicate anything else about their economic status, social bracket, politics, gender affiliation? It always COULD.
—When two characters not sharing the same space do similar things in successive scenes, our brains start working right away. Are they related? Are they packing for the same purpose? What does the evidence suggest?
—From their clothing and general aspect can you start to conclude their economic status? Social groups? The season?
—It’s early, but can you start to guess what they might be packing for? Some trips require tools. Others, clothing only. Others, gear: skis, sports equipment, garment bags, golf clubs . . . .
0:02 – 0:03
The next scene is what seems to be that very same young man, casually but nicely dressed. He is walking down a set of stairs holding a bag on each of his shoulders and also carrying a bag in his right hand. As he is walking down the stairs, he is exhaling a mouthful of smoke. At this point, it appears these two young men could be friends and possibly going on a trip together.
—So, the second time in three seconds you notice a character exhaling smoke, you have to be already wondering what’s the connection? But you don’t say anything about a possible connection here. It can’t be a coincidence. There are no accidents in these videos.
0:03 – 0:06
Now, we are shown a close-up of a female, walking towards what seems to be a door of a house, as she is exhaling smoke. As she turns to her left, she sees the second man smiling at the front door. She is also dressed casually and they both appear to be friends. From the text on the screen said by the young man, “Yo camping buddy,” we now know that this is a camping trip with friends.
—The glass she appears through is the open front door. Her hand is poised over the doorbell when the young man appears at the door. He’s just come from upstairs, as you know. It’s his house. (Maybe they both live there. Maybe they’re romantic.) She isn’t hauling anything. Maybe he packed for both. This may turn out to be completely irrelevant, but the hints are there to get us guessing.
—It’s good to conclude they’re happy to see each other.
—Their smoking connects them too. Does anything else? Now that we have three characters, are they related? Friends? Romantic? Are the directors trying to use the diversity as part of their message? Too soon to know?
—Does it matter? It always COULD.
I like that you shared some very specific Rhetorical analysis at the bottom of your post, ChickenNugget. The Logos/Pathos/Ethos sections are a nice touch. It’s not too soon to analyze the Rhetorical value of the choices made at each second of the video, though. While you’re describing what you’re SEEING you can surmise what the creators MEANT to COMMUNICATE by their choices.
You definitely SHOULDN’T KNOW what the characters are saying, CNug. If you’re seeing captions on the screen, you’re accidentally cheating on the assignment. Disable the Closed Captions (CC). One particular aspect of this video is that without sound it’s close to impossible to understand what goes on inside the car. You might consider that a failure of the ad in your Rhetorical Analysis. Or you might conclude that NOT EVERYTHING can be communicated through visuals alone and give the creators a pass. But, one way or the other, you need to confront that the scene inside the car is deeply mysterious without sound.
I made revisions! Could you let me know if this is better, and if I am on the right path for a regrade?
Beautiful work, ChickenNugget. Very responsive AND with your own personal touches.