Visual Rhetoric- cardinal

0:00-0:01- The video opens on a wide shot of a house, looking at it from the backyard. The house is modest but neat, one story but with a well-kept lawn and plants. A light turns on inside the house. This appeals to middle class viewers and also gets the audience to keep a more open mind toward the homeowner we are seemingly about to meet- if this person keeps their lawn looking so neat, how bad could they be? The house is in a wooded area. There is a patio set with a small grill that again speaks to the potential character of the homeowner. Maybe they’re the sort of person to invite people over for a cookout. The sky is gray, the house is in shadow, and it’s dark enough to turn the lights on, so it is either the morning or the evening. Either that or there is a storm coming.

0:01-0:04- Inside the house, there is a man opening his fridge. It’s hard to tell just how old he is, but judging by his face he’s probably in his 30s or 40s. He has a beard, glasses, and is wearing a robe. The robe further contributes to the idea that it is either the morning or evening. He doesn’t look disheveled, but he doesn’t look immaculately groomed. The fridge looks pretty well stocked, inside we see milk, orange juice, grapes, bananas, and more that is harder to make out. This man probably is not poor. A middle class viewer could recognize and relate to him. By the way he moves his mouth, the man appears to sigh as he picks up the milk. As his body moves slightly to the side as he picks up the milk, a young boy is revealed to be standing behind him. The boy appears to be his son as they are in the same house. You can also see rooms in the house behind them. There is a dark wood cabinet and farther behind that a bright green wall with a window and sheer curtains. The color scheme makes the house look a little 60s, but the man’s glasses are modern, so it’s likely that this takes place in the present day and the house’s interior is outdated. This further contributes to the idea of this being a middle/upper-middle class house. It was probably built around the 60s, this man bought it years later, and while it’s a nice, neat house, it was too much to refurbish. The aesthetic again makes this relatable to middle class viewers.

0:04-0:05- The man hands the milk backward to his son, but does it in a bit of a silly way that almost looks like a dance move. Drawings are taped on the fridge. We get the idea that this man cares about his son and likes to have fun with him. He seems like a good dad, and the audience is being encouraged to like him. Outside the window, the sky is brighter. The milk implies breakfast as do the corn flake box on the counter and the brighter sky also implies morning. Both the boy and the father are wearing pajamas. The father’s playful attitude makes it seem like they aren’t in a rush. It appears to be a laid-back morning, maybe a weekend, and the dad and son are going to make breakfast together.

0:06-0:08- The dad opens a drawer and takes out a spoon, which he throws behind his back to the son who catches it. The son’s expression doesn’t look particularly enthused but he doesn’t look annoyed or upset either, so we can assume that the father and son are having fun together even if the son maybe thinks he’s too cool to be hanging out with dad. This seems to be a loving father-son relationship that viewers will be endeared to.

0:08-0:10- The father’s feet are sliding across the floor like he is dancing, he picks up the corn flakes, and takes them over to the kitchen table where the son is sitting with a bowl in front of him. The mood remains playful and fun as the father keeps doing something as silly as dancing around the kitchen. He is clearly trying to create fun, positive memories with his son. The audience likes him for that because he’s being a good dad. This appeals to any parents watching because he’s doing what most parents would want to do for their kids.

0:10-0:15- The father stops mid-dance and gives his son an expectant look. It looks expectant because of the way he cocks his head and how his eyes are wider. Clearly, the father won’t pour the corn flakes until the son does something. The son shakes his head and smirks before tapping his father’s hand and ending the pause in the dance. The son’s face gives the idea that he thinks his dad is silly but he appreciates the fun they’re having together. The father waves his arms as he continues his dance and pours the corn flakes in a bowl for the son. On the wall behind them, juvenile drawings in crayon or colored pencil that depict a dinosaur, space, and a rocketship are hanging. We assume these are the son’s drawings, so the father hung his son’s drawings not only on the fridge but on the wall too. The audience understands that he is proud of his son and loves him. This is a very sweet and heartwarming moment. The dad isn’t afraid to act silly to create a special memory with his son and the son even plays along. It appeals to pathos. This is a scene that parents would wish for in their own lives and something that most parents would want to imitate if they love their children like the dad in this video.  

0:16-0:24- The dad dances around the back of his son’s chair and does a dance move where he puts his hand on his chest and pops his chest forward and back. He does something that appears to be a moonwalk behind the son’s chair and into the kitchen. As his dad passes behind him, the son follows with his head. He’s pretty expressionless, he’s not really smiling so it gives the idea that he’s a little embarrassed by his dad’s antics. He doesn’t have a resentful expression though, it’s a pleasant neutral, so even if his dad is acting weird, the son likes his father. The dad’s energy is high and he’s clearly very committed to this moment, even though his son isn’t too enthusiastic. At this point it’s also notable that a second parent has not appeared in the video, and while that doesn’t confirm that this man is a single father, it’s a reasonable assumption. It all makes the audience love this father because he’s so upbeat and he’s trying to create a happy moment, and if he’s doing this now, the audience assumes he is always trying to make his son’s life happy, even if he is potentially doing it alone. It conveys the idea that even if there are parts of life that cause struggles, it’s the parents’ obligation to make their kids happy.

0:24-0:25- As the dad moonwalks off screen, the phrase “make a moment” appears. At this point it becomes clear that this is a commercial. This is a message to parents, advising them to put effort into making happy memories with their kids. 

0:26- A shot of the son looking at where his dad just was and nodding, with a satisfied and appreciative look on his face as if to say “yeah, my dad’s a pretty good guy.” The dad doesn’t see this reaction. This conveys a key part of the message, which is that a parent might not always know if they’re making a difference in their kids’ lives or if their kids appreciate them, but they have to keep putting effort in because their kids could be privately appreciative like the son in this video.

0:27-0:30- An overlay goes over a shot of the son eating at the table. The phrase “#DanceLikeaDad” is in the center of the screen with “fatherhood.gov” below it. Now the audience knows that this ad is targeted specifically at fathers. The phrase “dance like a dad” is catchy and also clever because it encourages the upheaval of the stereotype that fathers should be serious and give tough love.

This entry was posted in cardinal, Visual Rhetoric. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s