Visual Rhetoric- 3g

The Signs | Friendship & Mental Health | Ad Council

0:00- The scene opens with a visual of a stuffed opossum on a mantle, the house is clearly very dated and dimly lit. The paneling on the wall suggests that the house was built and decorated in the 70s. Maybe the house of grandparents.

0:01- The words “awkward silence” appear across the screen.

0:02- A man is sitting in an old chair with his legs crossed, he has an upright and confident stature about him. He is dressed in a very dated style but is a young guy around the age of maybe 25. He has a more mature vibe than the average male his age. His face suggests that he is very knowledgeable, and he knows it.

0:03- The words “how to know if you should reach out to a friend” appear across the screen.

0:04- The man is zoomed in on. His head is slightly turned and his eyebrows are raised, he looks as if he is about to speak.

0:05- He says a word and the scene switches to a close up view of an African American girl come on the screen. She is laying down and her mouth is open like she is speaking.

0:06- 0:14- Several faces flash across the screen for maybe a half a second each, each have straight faces and are speaking. Some are laying on beds and others are standing. They may be conveying a message about the problems that they are facing that you may not be able to see on the outside. They are mostly teens, some are partying, the message may be about teenage problems with partying activities. The people on the bed may be referring to STDs or other problems involving sexuality.

0:15- The man comes back on screen, he is speaking and using his hands to explain something. He has a pensive look on his face.

0:16- Zoomed back in on the man, he is still speaking, his head is tilted again and his eyebrows are raised.

0:17- He lowers his head and still speaks to the camera with a pensive face. He has a very arrogant feel about him and is speaking in an almost condescending way.

0:18- He is still talking with some head motion.

0:19- 0:21- He continues talking in the same manner. I presume he is speaking about a serious topic, trying to convince people to perform some action or get behind some cause.

0:21- 0:26- The screen changes to a view of a fish tank surrounded by books, the message “find out how you can help a friend with their mental health at…” The video ends there.

Without sound, I assume that the video is to convince the watcher to provide comfort or get help for a friend in need.



The video did a rather subpar job of visually capturing the concept. There was no actual need for the man in the chair to be dressed like that or in that setting at all. I do however think the teenagers in the video did include all races and genders to portray that anyone could be having mental health issues. Picturing these people in man different places also did a good job at showing that it could be people that seem perfectly happy or normal. Though, I do think that the people in the beds was misleading and did not have any relation to what the video was actually about. They led me to believe that the video involved sexual harassment or something to do with STDs, when that is not directly involved in the content.

One thought on “Visual Rhetoric- 3g”

  1. I’m not going to watch the video, 3G, but I will ask you some questions about what I can and can’t visualize from your description.

    This young guy dressed in old clothes and occupying the old room: is he playing a part of some kind? Pretending to be older, or portraying someone more mature than himself? Does the scene play out like a parody of an old type of public service announcement? Or are we supposed to accept him literally, as a younger man who, for his own sake, feels more comfortable as we see him? I know you can’t be sure, but as a viewer, how do you react to this oddness?

    You tell us nothing about the “other people” who talk to the camera. Why are some lying on beds? And are you sure they’re beds? Could they be on psychiatrists’ couches, or talking to therapists? Would you say they could all be friends? Or are they so different they appear to have been chosen at random? How does a viewer react to either of those choices by the director and casting director? Do they look troubled? Do they represent all genders, races, ages?

    That condescending air of the announcer/host? Is it an act? Is he a know-it-all for a reason? Are we meant to take him seriously, or is this a “style” choice to seem like a certain kind of message?

    To judge whether the director makes effective visual arguments, to JUDGE the rhetoric, you need to know what the message actually is. Listen to the sound track and add a section of analysis about the persuasiveness of the visuals. Do they contribute to a successful argument? Do they help make the point? Once you know what is said in the voiceover, what the actors say, what the sound effects or music contribute, how good is the visual component at contributing to the overall effectiveness of the presentation?

    You can find fault. You can conclude, for example, that nothing is served by dressing up a young man to look like his dad or granddad and having him occupy a stuffy granddad study. Or you can conclude that choosing a jokey or parodic style takes the edge off a very serious topic, makes it more entertaining, earns viewers and attention, and is therefore more effective than a straight dry presentation of facts would have been. The floor is yours. JUDGE JUDGE JUDGE.


Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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