Visual Argument – Joe Mleczko

Texting and Driving Prevention

  • First Viewing (no sound):
    • The use of a handheld camera makes the opening scene seem as though someone just happened to be filming as someone tripped up the stairs while texting. This makes the viewer think of how common multitasking while texting is.
    • Then a screen of text comes up saying, “Not everyone should text and walk.” Clearly this is very straight forward. If multitasking like walking while texting, the chance of “accident” is greatly increased.
    • Immediately after that screen there is a shot of a phone being held by a girl with the background zooming by as she texts. The sequence from the girl falling on the stairs to the text to this girl texting and driving has a very predictable outcome. This leads the viewer to anticipate an accident to come, but clearly this will be far worse than falling up the stairs.
    • The girl repeatedly looks from the road to her phone, and appears to be laughing with the others in the car. This is an ad about texting and driving, but it could easily be an ad against driving while distracted altogether.
    • Directly after that scene, the camera changes to the view of an older woman and young girl (possibly mother and daughter) crossing the street. Now the viewer knows where this ad is going to end up.
    • In the matter of seconds, the camera goes back to the texting driver, who looks up at the last second, to slam on the brakes. Unfortunately for the walkers, the next long shot of the intersection shows the girl barreling towards them, clearly about to hit them.
      • There are many reactions that I have to this sequence. First, the use of the probable mother and daughter couple about to be hit is intense. Rather than having the girl get in a car accident with another car, or even a telephone pole, the makers use a family. The implications of a newly broken family (missing the mother and daughter) is far more sad than just the girl and her friends being injured or killed. Second, when the long shot comes, the viewer can see that this takes place in a suburban area, and the driver, had she not killed the pedestrians (of course this is an assumption, but I’d say it’s a fair one), would have ran a stop sign anyways. I think this says that if the driver did not kill the pedestrians, there is still a great chances that something of a similar nature would occur.
    • Next, more text comes on the screen saying, “No one should text and drive.” This message is very clear…as in cannot be any clearer.
    • After that text disappears, new text saying, “Stop the texts, Stop the wrecks,” appears. I like this because the use of two colors allows the viewer to associate the similarly colored words together. When looking at it, “the texts” and “the wrecks” stand together, almost saying “the texts = the wrecks.”
    • The final screen provides the viewer with a website where suggestions for stopping texting and driving can be made.
  • Proceeding Views (with sound):
    • To be honest, this ad can be played with no sound every time and get just about the same effect.
    • The opening scene with the girl falling up the stairs while texting does not change much.
    • Everything after is really the same, except when the camera first goes to the girl texting while driving, the viewer can be 100% sure her friends are also distracting her. Also, when she looks up at the last second to see the pedestrians, you can hear that she attempts to brake although clearly not in time.

With the use of a combination of text (ironic) and hypothetical situations, the viewer clearly understands the danger of multitasking while texting, and more specifically driving while texting.

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1 Response to Visual Argument – Joe Mleczko

  1. davidbdale says:

    That’s nice, Joe. I particularly like your note about the suburban street, where the chances of unexpected collision seem higher and more personal than on an open highway. You’re right too about the victims, I think, who seem so puny and utterly helpless without a vehicle wrapped around them. That painted crosswalk is just no defense against a driver who doesn’t notice it. Mom and daughter are behind that paint specifically to show they’re crossing legally and blamelessly, don’t you think?
    Provisional grade recorded.

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