Visual Rhetoric – WaywardSundial

0:01-Opens with text in the center of the screen saying “Want to help in the aftermath of a hurricane?” with a gray background. The only thing that was in the frame was a folded dollar bill in the shape of a heart. Due to the money being the only physical object in the frame along with the text, it can be assumed that perhaps it is a donation ad? The heart shape could signify the “love” or caring of people that would donate money for relief efforts. Perhaps they want to “pull at the heart strings” of people in order to get them to donate to their specific cause, as the heart does have a ribbon that could be pulled.

0:04- The dollar heart unfolds to show the fully unfurled bill with no crinkles whatsoever. It may be that it was reversed in filming. As it unfurled, more text appeared saying “Together, you and I can really help.”, addressing the viewer directly. This scene also leads to the bill being folded once more.

0:09- The bill transforms, seemingly from stop motion photography, into a shape of either a bed or a car. It is unclear, as it even somewhat looks like a “flying car” with wings on the side and a spoiler in the back in the shape of generic flying futuristic vehicles. In my opinion I believe that they made this shape vague on purpose, in order to allow the largest amount of viewers to interpret it in whatever way they want. There is also text that says “I am fast and versatile.” maybe it definitely is a vehicle of some sorts, although that is vague in itself. This brings to mind what the ad is still about, in regards to this origami.

0:10- it unfolds once more and turns into the shape of a stethoscope, and then into a regular rectangular shape. It is also important to note that so far the background has not changed and has remained a grayish color with no additional objects or words.

0:14- Text saying “I can be whatever is needed.” The rectangular shape turns into a nail in the rectangle with a hammer appearing hammering it in. Perhaps this is significant to show that the money donated will go to rebuilding things, as that is what hammering a nail could signify.

0:16- The rectangular shape turns into a house, with the words “to help you provide important relief when its most critical.” This puts the viewer in the position of power so to speak as it tells of how the person donating has to ability to provide relief to whatever the donator deems necessary. Although this is a nice concept, it may not always turn out the way the donator wants as any donations usually end up in a giant pool where it is distrbuted from there, unless there is a very specific delivery system where every dollar goes to a very specific place with a very different system for normal donation systems. The specifics is yet to be explained, and it doesn’t provide much information on this so far. With the house and this text it could be said that maybe one would want to donate to help houses that suffered a natural disaster, although there isn’t much to prove that.

0:23- The bill unfolds, turning into a origami hand with text that says “if you want to lend a hand, I can help you reach out and truly touch lives.” This seems obvious as “touching” with the imagery of a hand are very much in the same category, so it may lead one to think of their own hand personally helping lives. This gives the ad a humanization factor, as before now there were no dollar bills in the shape of human body parts, aside from the personification of a heart, albeit it being the love type of heart and not the anatomically correct human heart. The text brings to mind, who is this “I” character? Who is the person that will help us reach out so that we may touch lives? There are many unclear elements to this ad so far, although the general message is quite clear; if you donate money, even a dollar bill as so overly imposed on the viewer, then it can help people in need.

0:26- The ad fades to black with bold white letters saying “EVEN A SMALL DONATION CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.” This summarizes the entire ad, especially the whole theme of the dollar transforming into a tool of imagery that guides a viewers mind, that even a dollar donation is still something that can benefit relief efforts. Of what, it was not clear besides in the title as nothing throughout the video suggests anything about relief from hurricanes. There also is a link to the donation link; the only clue in the video that this in fact talks about a hurricane relief website.


3 thoughts on “Visual Rhetoric – WaywardSundial”

  1. This is very nice work, Sundial. You blend visual notes well with speculation on the rhetorical value of the seen images, even critiquing along the way what you perceive to be the shortcomings of the presentation.

    One thing I noticed you did not mention is that the heart in the early seconds “beats.”

    As for the car-bed, I’m inclined to think of that spoiler as a pillow. To me the implication is that if I’m displaced from my home by a hurricane, I’ll need a place to sleep, maybe a hotel.

    You’re right to question whether donated funds can be directed to fund exactly what the donor would want to fund, but I think that’s the point of the spot, don’t you? We don’t send food. We don’t send medicine. We don’t send shingles and homebuilding tools. We send money so the relief agencies on the premises can turn the money into whatever’s needed most.

    Did it occur to you that the dollar is doing the “talking”? The dollar is versatile; it can provide whatever’s needed: shelter, medical care, rebuilding materials. “You’re the donor, so your contribution is essential,” says the dollar. “I’m flexible and can provide whatever’s needed.”



    1. This was very helpful, and you brought up points I didn’t initially think about especially the concept of how the money is doing the “talking,” and by the viewer providing it allows the organization to use t accordingly

      Liked by 1 person

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