(0:00 – 0:14)
In the first fourteen seconds of “Word Pictures,” a PSA produced by the Ad Council in 1989, eleven photographs are individually shown on screen, each one of them visually portraying a different hand drawn word or phrase. They are shown in these photos exactly as they were drawn on paper; in crayon and spelled out in somewhat crudely formed bubble letters, intentionally depicted in this manner in order to imply that they were messages created by young children. I copied all eleven word pictures below exactly as they can be read within the actual ad, grammatical errors and all.
“DUMMY,” “PAThetic,” “BraT,” “Stupid,” “JERK,” “moron,” “CLUMSY,” “IdioT,” “I WISH YOU WERE NEVER BORN,” “I hate you,” and “Youre Disgusting,”
These are all particularly negative and insulting statements, included within this PSA to indicate that the children who supposedly spelled them out on paper must frequently be exposed to such hurtful language in order for it to stick out so vibrantly in their minds.
(0:14 – 0:19)
The next five seconds of “Word Pictures” are also composed of photographs, this time depicting typical drawings instead of bubble letter messages. The first of the three photos shows a simple sketch of a little boy, illustrated with an expression of despair and tears streaming down his face, implying he was created in order to personify the sadness felt by the same child who drew him. The second drawing is of a dark haired little girl, also with tears streaming and a frown on her face, accompanied by the words “I am sad” written near her mouth, which insinuates a continuation of the same theme from the previous picture. The final drawing depicted in this segment is also of a crying, dark haired young girl noticeably externalizing her unhappy emotions which is unsurprisingly similar to the other two. I believe the Ad Council’s purpose in broadcasting these three drawings of crying children was to visually connect the word pictures from the first eleven seconds of the ad to how young people who are the subjects of such hurtful language might actually feel. The observable crying in the drawings as well as the little message saying “I am sad” in the second of the three are included to connect the dots and tell the public that kids who frequently hear things like “I wish you were never born” generally tend to feel dejected and miserable. I know for sure that I would!
(0:19 – 0:21)
These three seconds of the PSA show another photograph of a drawing, this one a crude picture of a grimacing, gap-toothed man with furrowed eyebrows and the word “Daddy” written on his shoulder. It is evident that this drawing, like the rest of them, was also done by a child, and that the man depicted doesn’t inspire too many positive feelings in the artist. The drawing indicates to the audience of “Word Pictures” that “Daddy” may not be very kind to or patient with his child; the way the man in the picture is drawn shows him yelling with his arms raised above his head and mouth wide open. Also, instead of a static image, these three seconds of the ad actually zoom in on the open mouth of the man in the picture.
(0:21 – 0:25)
For this last segment of the PSA everything on the screen goes dark, and the only visual stimuli are the messages “stop using words that hurt” and “start using words that help” written in white. The darkness on the screen comes from zooming in on the man’s mouth from the previous drawing for effect, done so in this manner to express that parents like “Daddy” say things to their kids such as “I hate you” and “you’re disgusting” that can really hurt them and bring down their self esteem. Based off of the visual evidence provided in “Word Pictures,” a viewer of the ad would most likely conclude that it is advocating for the better treatment of children in our society, and for parents to stop using language around them that makes them question whether or not they’re actually loved by the very people who brought them into this world.
(0:26 – 0:30) – nothing happens visually within this segment of the PSA that supports the message it’s trying to convey
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiu966Nt2ucSkYzTGBQWzBg. “Word Pictures” YouTube. Ad Council, 1989. Web. 09 Oct. 2016.