Visual Rhetoric

Link to Video: We Can Talk About It :30 | Seize the Awkward | Ad Council

Time Stamp: 0:01

A teenage/young adult aged girl is sitting on her bed in a dark room. The girl appears to be black and has a unique hairstyle. She has a cell phone in hand and seems to be alone in the room. There is also a mirror in the corner of the room and the only person reflected in the mirror I the girl who is sitting on the bed. There is a glimmer of sunlight coming through but overall the room is quite dark. The setting of this girl being isolated in a dark bedroom in what we know is the middle of the day because of the sunlight gives off sad and depressing vibe. The fact that she is by herself and the mirror in the corner essentially reaffirms this really gives a sense of loneliness as well.

Time Stamp: 0:02

We now see the cell phone on the bed without the girl holding it and it appears to be showing a text thread. Most of the text thread is blurry but there is a reply that reads “it’s all in your head… just think happier thoughts”. Clearly, this girl is going through a struggle and the fact that she’s dropped the phone on the bed kind of shows that texting people isn’t helping. The text messages also reaffirm the feeling of loneliness because if she had people around that she could talk to then she wouldn’t result to texting. I also think the fact that portions of the text are blurred out and only the simple and some what cliche response is visible creates the idea that her thoughts/feelings are being overlooked and/or misunderstood.

Time Stamp: 0:05

This frame shows her face in the light for the first time in the video. She has a few piercings and multicolored hair. She has just read the text message and appears hopeless after reading the reply of someone who she reached out to hoping to get uplifting support from.

Time Stamp: 0:06

We’ve now moved on from the first person we’ve encountered and we are shown two new people. The two new people are two girls who look around the same age as our previous character. The girls look very much a like and appear to be in a house together so maybe they could be sisters.The main person in this frame seems to be the person in the foreground. They are in a light room, maybe a kitchen or dining room. There is at least one other person in the room according to this frame which means she may be doing something with family or friends. But they are looking down with a look on their face that indicates that something isn’t right. The person in the background seems to be in the middle of doing something and doesn’t quite notice the feelings of our foreground person. This frame creates a slight feeling of being unseen through a personal struggle.

Time Stamp: 0:08

The attention has now shifted away from our foreground person and is now focused very much on our background person. The person in the background has looked up and noticed the look/body language of the foreground character. She has a look on her face of confusion and uncertainty as she likely doesn’t know why the person in the foreground is feeling this way. Based on what we’ve seem so far, it seems like the producers have made this video about recognizing someone who is struggling and the difficulty it presents.

Time Stamp: 0:11

We’ve now encountered our 4th person in this video. It’s a young black man who appears to be having dinner with friends or family. There are 2 people in the foreground but they’re blurred and the focus is solely on the young man. The setting is a light room and it’s night time. We know it’s night time because there is a window behind the young man that shows it’s dark outside. In this frame, the young man clearly looks bothered and as if something is going on that no one seems to know about. We can assume this based on his facial expression, slouchy body language, and the fact that he’s stirring his drink aimlessly while the others around him seem to be socializing. To really put emphasis on the fact that he’s struggling, the producers set this lit up room with people socializing but it seems like they purposely put the window that shows darkness behind him to show that he’s going through some sort of struggle.

Time Stamp: 0:12

We’re now back to our first character who is laying on her bed with her phone in hand in the same setting as she was when we first encountered her. She still seems as if she’s struggling and looks like she’s attempting to find help on her phone. Her phone is giving off a very bright reflection of light that looks like it’s almost going into her face. To me this could signify a couple of things. I think this could mean that a message is getting through to her or that her phone is consuming her and she’s fallen into some kind of void through social media, texting, etc.

Time Stamp: 0:13-0:15

We see a montage of social media posts that seem to be spreading messages of encouragement and also maybe some criticism. Some of the messages said things like “Good Vibes Only” with bright colors. One of the others had a different message tho as it said “Harden Up” which seems like it was maybe someone trying to say if you’re feeling this way you have to shake it off and stop being soft. I think these frames are what was happening on the phone in the preceding frame. This would make sense because the girl in that scene is going through a struggle and is on her phone when she seems to be trapped in the social media void. This is likely included to show that social media doesn’t always have the answers for these kinds of struggles and can sometimes further confuse/damage the person going through the struggle.

Time Stamp: 0:16-0:18

A different young girl appears to be laying on a couch visibly stressed out/struggling. It’s a young white girl with a very alternative/goth look. I think they use someone with this kind of look purposefully because there seems to be a stereotype around people who use alternative/goth styles that they tend to have a struggle of some sort. This also isn’t the first time we’ve seen this type of style as our first person we encountered also had a unique/alternative style.

Time Stamp: 0:19

A young asian man appears to be in the same room as the alternative/gothic white girl and is visibly saying something to her.

Time Stamp: 0:21

I’m assuming the young asian man asked her a question and maybe a serious one at that because in this frame we see her nodding and saying something as the camera is now much more zoomed and focused on her.

Time Stamp: 0:22

The two characters from before who I mentioned may be sisters have returned and the one who seemed concerned for the other appears to be comforting the other by holding her hand and talking with her.

Time Stamp: 0:24

The young black girl, the first person we saw in the video, is now back on screen and she appears to have met with a friend somewhere. The friend seems to be talking to her and comforting her.

Time Stamp: 0:25

This frame is the same setting as the preceding frame but it’s zoomed all the way out and has text across it that reads “When the world doesn’t listen, be the friend who does”. The 3 frames preceding this now make a lot more sense as they were likely the friends who came to listen and talk with their friends who were going through something.

Time Stamp: 0:27-End of Video

This frame runs out the video and it’s a black screen with text that reads “Seize the awkward… Learn how to help a friend with their mental health at” . This essentially sums up what the whole video was about which was how to recognize someone who is going through a mental health struggle and how to help them through it/be there for them.

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