Visual Rewrite—Shazammm

“Child Car Safety”


Within the first second of the advertisement, the camera shows a heterosexual, African American couple standing in front of their house with their two children. The father looks like he could be in his mid-40s. He has a folded baby stroller slung on his right shoulder, and a bag attached with baby toys and two stuffed animals slung on his left shoulder. He is additionally carrying a bagel in his right hand and a travel cup in his left hand. He also has a gray blanket {or jacket} on his right forearm. The expression on his face is tranquil, confident. Like he can conquer anything that stands in his way. He is also gradually turning his head to his left, observing the landscape before him. His wife looks a tad bit younger than him. She slowly, but stylishly, turns her head to her left, flipping her wavy, dark brown hair. Just like her husband, her face is radiating with confidence. She almost looks smug with her small smile. A green bag attached with baby toys {and perhaps a blue and yellow scarf or towel}is slung on her right shoulder. She is carrying her youngest child in her left arm while also carrying a blue and red backpack in her left hand. She is additionally carrying a juice box in her right hand. Her youngest child is a boy and cannot walk yet. If he is of walking-age, he would be walking along with his sibling. He looks like he could be one-and-a-half to two-years-old. He is wearing a yellow shirt and blue jeans. He also has dark brown skin and an afro of dark curly hair. The other child is a girl, and is walking in between her mother and father. She looks a year-or-two older than her brother. She is wearing an expression of excitement on her face – beaming with joy. She is wearing a white bow in her dark, curly brown hair, and a blue shirt beneath white overalls. She is carrying a stuffed animal in her left hand. Their house, shown in the back of them, looks like a ranch. The part surrounding the door, which is white, is brick and the outside is gray. 

Perhaps the director set up the beginning of the ad this way to indicate to the audience that the couple has their hands full. The director may have wanted this ad to be instantly relatable for parents raising little children. This can additionally mean that the target audience may be parents. 


The camera shows the mother flipping her hair again in a confident manner. The family starts walking away from their house with their luggage at hand. The father is making conversation, looking at his wife and down at his daughter. The camera cuts to a close up of the mother’s face. She is wearing a smug smile, gazing out into the distance. Everything seems to be good. 


Suddenly, the daughter starts to tug on one of the toys hanging on the bag the father is carrying. She mouths the word, “please” and begins to really tug on the toy. Chaos hits. The stroller slides off the father’s shoulder. He still has a good grip on the rest of the stuff, but the mother is frustrated. The camera cuts to a close up of her completely changing her confident expression. She now looks startled and less assured in herself and her family. The camera cuts back to the family as a whole. The father is seen picking up the stroller with much effort. His daughter merely watches as he struggles. The mother is adjusting the weight of her son in her arms. She looks exhausted and physically hurt. The camera cuts back to a close up of her in her frustration and pain. She is clearly struggling, too. 

This is a comical scene. The director most certainly had designed this ad to be relatable for parents. The director wanted there to be an “all is well” part leading to an “uh-oh.” There are plenty of uh-ohs in a parent’s day. 


The camera cuts to the father dropping the other bags slung on his left arm. His daughter is seen still attempting to grab the toy attached to the bag. The mother is smiling now with her handful of stuff, talking to her daughter. The camera cuts to a close up of the father now biting down on the bagel {holding it with his teeth} as he attempts to get a better grip on the other stuff he is carrying. He is an absolute mess. His wife is seen walking ahead of him with the children. She now looks stressed. 


The father is struggling to walk now. He is seen behind the mother and children dropping the bags and stuffed animals. The daughter is now in front of all of them, unfazed by the stress her parents are under. She is smiling and looking very excited at what is in front of her. The camera then cuts to the family getting to their car. The daughter is seen dropping her stuffed animal and backpack on the ground. The mother puts her drink on the top of the car. The father and mother are seen putting their kids in the car. The father is buckling his daughter’s seatbelt. The camera cuts to a close up of her seatbelt being buckled. 


Out of nowhere, the daughter erupts into a panic and starts to throw popcorn everywhere in the car and at her father. The father looks disgusted, frustrated, and flabbergasted. The mother is seen buckling in her son’s seatbelt with ease. 


The camera cuts to a blue screen conveying four small images: an infant car seat, a toddler car seat, an adult car seat with a seatbelt shown across it, and a seatbelt.  


The director chose to show the audience these images to prove the point that parenting is a messy job, and that nothing is perfect. No matter how prepared you may be as a parent, there will always be difficulties along the way. This is especially shown in the opening scene when the parents look confident, and in the scene when the daughter causes the father to drop all his stuff, causing chaos. However, as long as they are doing the best they can to protect their children, everything will be okay. That is the message the director is trying to get across. And this is conveyed through the importance of seatbelts and car safety. 

Logos: The logos part of the ad is that the family is getting ready to go on a trip of some-sort. This can be seen by the amount of stuff the parents are carrying to their car. 

Pathos: When the parents are struggling to get the children and stuff to their car, it evokes feelings of sympathy and perhaps humor in the audience. No one likes to see people struggle. However, the relatability is what makes it humorous. 

Ethos: This Ad, produced by the Ad Council, is from the people who work for the NHTSA, which is a government agency. At the end of the ad, the link to the government agency is displayed, making the ad credible and reliable to trust. 

About Shazammm

I like cake.
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3 Responses to Visual Rewrite—Shazammm

  1. davidbdale says:

    You’re doing first-rate work here, Shazammm, but my job is to help you find ways to improve it even more, so first . . .

    1. The level of detail is just right. We don’t need to know the colors of things, to be honest, but we do want to be able to visualize as much as possible what’s going on.
    2. You didn’t mention seasonality or weather or even time of day, I think. They could all be relevant to a narrative about a day excursion.
    3. I love that you identified the group immediately as a “heterosexual, African American couple standing in front of their house with their two children,” but you don’t actually tell us what you SAW that communicated that to you.
    4. Are they all facing us in the first image?
    5. How do you know it’s their house?
    6. How do you know it’s their kids?
    7. It’s possible that the true answer to some questions is that “the creators are playing on norms and stereotypes here and counting on us to go along. One male and one female of the same race and age with two kids also the same race will be reflexively identified as a family. No viewer should have to explain why they took the image to mean exactly that.”
    8. You could use that explanation when accounting for how we KNOW certain things in a video.
    9. Are they good parents? Really. In that first second, is there any hint that the parents are anything but devoted to their children’s well-being?
    10. How’s their marriage?

    How successful are the creators at manipulating us into thinking/feeling everything they intended? What could they have done better?

    How much of the argument does the VISUAL component handle? Did you understand the ad A LOT BETTER after you listened to the sound track? Does that change your impression of the ad or its effectiveness?


  2. davidbdale says:

    Would you have gotten the theme of “getting the big stuff right” as fallible parents without the help of the voiceover, for example? One more observation: I thought the girl with the cereal bowl was just having a laugh attack, not a panic attack.


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