A09: Visual Argument — Cassie Hoffman

Childhood Obesity

I chose to analyze the Ad Council’s childhood obesity campaign in their “Blackout” video.

  • The video opens with a visual of three adolescent boys animatedly playing video games in what seems to be a den or a living room. The lights are all on and the curtains are drawn, which leads the viewer to believe that it is nighttime. They point at the television screen a lot and yell things to each other, which insinuates that they’re probably playing a multi-player game in which they can all play on one team.
  • Suddenly, the lights cut out, and disappointment spreads across their faces. They drop their heads into their hands or cover their eyes while throwing their heads back, illustrating their great frustration.
  • They sit for a moment, staring around the room aimlessly until one boy gets up and opens the curtains, showing the viewer that it is actually a bright, sunny day outside and that these boys have been wasting the day playing video games inside. The boy who opened the curtains holds up a basketball and shrugs as he suggests they play, as if it was a last option and he has no better suggestions. The other boys agree and shrug as well as they get up from the couch.
  • The shot momentarily switches to the three boys playing basketball outside, but then shifts back to a visual of the living room they had been playing video games in. The lights suddenly turn back on, and the camera switches to a shot of a mother turning the power switches back on, showing that the mother faked the electricity shortage in order to inspire the boys to get outside and moving.
  • The final frame shown is that of the boys playing basketball outside again in front of the house. Then the promotional piece of the advertisement is flashed: the web address for letsmove.gov, the website for the government’s campaign against childhood obesity, fronted by Michelle Obama.
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1 Response to A09: Visual Argument — Cassie Hoffman

  1. davidbdale says:

    Nice. You’ve blended a strong description of the visual components of a simple ad with straightforward analysis of the point the ad-makers make. Is the fitness of the boys evident or important? Does the ad characterize them in any way except as anonymous adolescents? What’s the point of Mom taking charge of the situation instead of the boys reacting to an actual blackout?
    Provisional grade recorded.

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