Save the Children – Most Shocking Second a Day Video

This advert is 1 minute and 34 seconds. In short, the film depicts the effects of war on children. It is a montage, made up of quick clips focused and shot from a close perspective on the main protagonist (however there is no antagonist shown, in other words the child is the main character), a young girl, possibly between the ages of 10-12. This is the only type of shot used.

As said, the shot is focused on the girl, and the clips show the normality of her day to day life, only to be disrupted by the effects of war. For example, it shows her birthday, at some point her playing at the park, at another time it shows her with her friends. This could be considered the equilibrium. Normality. As it plays through the narrative, the equilibrium is broken, and a climax is reached when the war has an effect on her life. The first clip/shot shows her on her birthday, with a birthday cake and her family present singing ‘happy birthday’. The last clip again shows her on her birthday, a year later, in a war zone, with only her mother singing ‘happy birthday’ and a tiny cake with a candle.

This narrative could be categorised under Todorov’s Narrative Theory. Equilibrium (her day to day life) – Disruption of the Equilibrium (news/radio reports on war, attacks etc) – Recognition of the disruption – Attempt to repair the damage (family leaving) – New Equilibrium (forward in time, to the child at what seems to be a refuge camp, on her next birthday).

The denotation of this advert is that children’s lives can be as affected by war as adults. The connotation is that war can spread, and that people may not care as it isn’t on their doorstep. This advert therefore, is designed to increase awareness of these ideas.

The soundscape is of her day to day life. However what it includes is the sound of news on the radio, news on the television, adults talking, jets taking off. As the narrative builds, the soundscape becomes more intense, more and more war sounds are implemented including gunfire and explosions.

The aim of the advert is to make the viewers realise that just because war isn’t happening in their home, it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening elsewhere and having an effect on children’s lives. This is shown through the film and by a message at the end. It is trying to get viewers to empathise with the situation that some people are in. Created by the charity ‘Save The Children’, another aim is to encourage people to donate to the charity.

For this advert, the primary audience would be adults with a family. A secondary audience may be younger people, possibly aged between 16-23, who may not have a family that includes a partner and children, who may not be aware of the current affairs/issues with war. This advert can serve as information to them which could possibly increase the number of people who understand these issues.

At different points in the advert, different emotions are represented. Happiness, pride, enjoyment, anxiety, fear, anger, love and sadness are all shown. This again reflects the effects of how war can skew people’s lives, including children, by greatly changing the emotions of people.

Taking into account Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it could be said that those who donated will feel more morally¬†correct than others (Self-actualisation), they will have greater self-esteem and confidence as they think they have made a difference (have they really though?), and they may be more content with the love and safety of their family. (Love/belonging, Safety).

In summary, the advert is effective as it makes viewers empathise and encourages them to donate so they can feel they have made a difference.

Reuben O’Connell


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