Visual- manipulator

What a Disaster :30 English | Emergency Preparedness – NYC | Ad Council


 In the first brief clip of the commercial, we see only a man’s arm and hand, extending their finger to hit a small circle doorbell button. This clip is almost less than a second, it is not extremely consequential to the rest of the commercial nor the overall message it is meant to convey. 


In the next shot, the camera has gone into a point of view, emulating the inside of a door peephole, one that would commonly be found in an apartment door. This is accomplished by putting solid black around a circular hole where the audience can see into the home. The picture is also slightly warped, as the glass in a peephole will do when looking through. 

In the peephole we see inside the apartment, but the main focus is a young boy walking towards the door. As he gets closer, he starts to squint and looks forward with one eye, emulating that he is looking through the peephole the audience sees. This is whoever was ringing the doorbell in the last scene. 


The viewer is now back to the standard full screen camera picture. We see the boy from the last shot, inside the apartment In a medium close up, he is looking down at something in his arms that is out of view. We can see that he is opening a cardboard box, with the top coming off vertically. He has a slight smile on his face, as if he is anticipating something great to come from the box. 


Almost instantly, we see his smile fall to a frown of frustration. As he opens the box something disappointed him, and the camera begins to pan down to reveal what he was holding. 


The camera pans down and sits on the box, which is revealed to be a pizza box. The boy was excited to eat it as many are, though this pizza is somewhat destroyed. Instead of a circular pie he expected, half of it is folded on itself. The plastic middle stand “table” stand meant to keep the pizza in place, is out of place, flipped up, and is in no way doing its job. We now see the first “disaster” of the commercial.


 We once again see the disappointed face of the boy, now in a close up. His eyes shoot up from the pizza into the distance offscreen. It’s almost as if he is looking for help, someone to address the destruction of his pizza and save it. Almost unnoticeable fast before the scene cuts, his face changes once again. He looks even more frustrated, his eyebrows push together and his mouth shuts. 


The camera then cuts to a two shot of a man and a woman. These are far older than the boy, most likely his parents. The kitchen layout they are in that matches the one of the apartment the boy was in adds to this being the situation. Though they are not interacting or noticing the boy here, they are dancing. This seems to be totally separate from the boy’s situation, which most likely is occurring in another room. On the kitchen table is an iphone, being held up by a stand with a round light on it. They couple is using it to film some kind of dance video of themselves, most likely for social media as their moves are casual and silly. 


The camera cuts to a medium closeup of just the woman, still dancing with a smile on her face. We can also still see the man next to her, dancing as well, for a few frames. Her smile then fades, and she slows her dance moves as she looks at the man. Her eyes clearly focused to her left where the man was, even though we do not see him in the frame at this time. She doesn’t look angry, but says something to the man with some slight sort of mallicuse. Something is not right with him or what he’s doing, and all we know is that he’s dancing. Perhaps he isn’t doing it correctly. We can only infer this as the next shortcuts to a new scene. 


Here the viewer is brought to a brand new area. In a medium shot we can see a young woman, perhaps another child of the couple, looking into a mirror on the wall. She is putting on bright red lipstick. The wall the mirror is attached to is tiled, meaning it is most likely a bathroom. Her eyes look to the left of the screen and she pauses, almost as if she is hearing the commotion in the other rooms, then she returns to finishing her makeup. 


While in that same shot from the previous second, all the lights suddenly go off. Not as if it was on purpose, more like the power in the room shut off. Obviously this is a disaster for her, as putting on makeup would be extremely hard to do in the dark.  


 The camera now focuses on a bag being thrown and opened on a table. This is occurring in the dark, telling us that this power outage happened in the entire apartment. The hands unzipping the bag is what looks to be a wedding ring, most likely belonging to one of the parents. With that, this is most likely happening back in the kitchen. 


We now see the  bag from another angle, and someone else’s hand reaches into it. The bag seems to have some equipment in it, and the hand grabs a red cylinder. The camera quickly pans up and we can see this hand belongs to the girl from the bathroom.


Once the camera reaches her face, which can be slightly made out in the still dark apartment, a bright yellow light appears on her face. It is coming from off screen, but the low angle can make us assume that the red object she grabbed was a flashlight. Now seeing her clearly, we see that the red lipstick is smudged on her face. Most likely a result of the lights turning off in the middle of her makeup routine. She points the blemish, with a very irked expression, and says something to whoever is off camera in front of her. 


We then see the face the girl was expressing her anger to, the woman from the kitchen dance scene. She gives a somewhat emphatic look with a soft smile to the girl, then the camera cuts.


We see the bag again on the table, with hands grabbing into it and sorting the items on the side. They include money, water bottles, and cans. It is most likely a disaster kit. Words come across the screen saying “You cant be ready for every little disaster. But you can prepare for a big one.” 


We then are taken to a plain white background with graphics and words. On the bottom is an emergency kit: A backpack with water, a hand radio, food, and other supplies. Next to it we see two small logos, one for the Ad Council, and another  for NYC emergency management. Above these is text meant to be the center of attention. It reads “Make emergency plans today at or call 311.”

With this information we can now see how all the events played a role in the message of the commercial. The boy’s disaster was his pizza arriving destroyed. The parents’ disaster was the husbands dance moves not being good enough. And the daughter’s lipstick was smudged. None of these small disasters were prevented, but there was one that was prepared for. This was the power outage, something obviously much more important than these small ones. The family was quickly ready with their disaster bag. That is exactly what the commercial wants to convey, you don’t have to worry about every small occurrence, but you should be prepared for the big ones. In this case, something like a natural disaster. 

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