Sometimes Advertising Does Good

Every medium has a frame. This can be physical like the hard edges of a TV screen or a computer monitor (or even the edges of a piece of paper), or it can be a "construct" — a series of written and unwritten rules which we all follow in order to create meaning. Sometimes playing with or adjusting this frame can create surprise — jolting us out of the passive stupor which surrounds our media consumption. I remember Moonlighting used direct to camera conversation as a way to "break the frame", but there are many other approaches and techniques that can be applied to film, video, TV, print, outdoor and even digital. Whichever media you are working in, there are rules to use and rules to abuse — and plenty of creative space in-between.

But for me, the best creative work reaches THROUGH the frame in which it is created and connects us with a story. A powerful narrative has a force and impact which cannot be easily ignored. For digital work, this often involves interaction or an immersive approach to storytelling, while TV needs to capture our fleeting attention (ie stop us from walking away) and draw us into a story that DEMANDS to be told.

This TVC for the Victorian Traffic Accidents Commission is a great example. There are not single stories here, but a quiet cacophany of stories.

The plain, everyday footage and locales, the emptiness of the scenes conveys the tragic absence of life. The still-grieving (ever grieving) parents with photos is reminiscent of Chile’s mothers of the disappeared, and the haunting music (Angie Hart’s cover of The Cure’s Pictures of You) all combine to remind us of the consequences of our actions as well as our need TO act.

Oh, and as Jayne points out, these people are not actors. They are the real people who have lost loved ones in accidents. Hope you have a box of tissues.

2 thoughts on “Sometimes Advertising Does Good

  1. Very powerful stuff, I thought. Especially if you’ve been touched by road tragedy yourself.
    I watched it last night and realised that the same night two more of this type of ad was broadcast.
    One was about skin cancer (huge here in Oz of course) where we have Clare Oliver, a girl who recently passed away after a battle with skin cancer “speaks from the grave” about the dangers of tanning and in particular tanning in tanning salons.
    The other was a commercial for smoking and lung cancer with some harrowing imagery….
    I really hope this works. But will people get de-sensitised?What do you do then?

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