Ad of the Week: Lessons for life
by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) Simplicity is the key in this week’s Ad of the Week — a public service announcement (PSA) for Scouts South Africa, called “Learn It Young. Remember It Forever.” In a powerful and emotional 80-second sequence produced by Velocity Films, the critical value of a lifetime of learning an important skill is played out.
The dramatic story begins with someone clearly in trouble in the sea. But there is another in the surf who is able to rescue the hapless young swimmer. As the drama unfolds, it becomes clear that it is a young boy who is helping the little girl.
The boy emerges from the sea, carrying the lass, and lays her down. He checks her vital signs, looks for obstructions in her mouth, and administers cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The scene cuts to a close-up of the girl as she lifts her head and coughs up water. A life has been saved. But the next cut reveals that the boy is, in fact, a man — and obviously the same person because he is wearing the same clothing.
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The idea for the PSA was the brainchild of Gavin Whitfield of Not Norm Agency, who was musing that everything learned in childhood seems to stay for the rest of one’s life. Whether it is riding a bicycle, writing, reading or swimming, these lessons endure.
The “skills are ‘forever’ learned,” says Whitfield, adding, “They’re latent, just waiting for when they’re needed. I felt this tapped into a space that would be motivating for both parents and kids alike. Scouting focuses on young people learning in a fun environment. It teaches so many things that this country is in desperate need of.”
“I think Scouts SA has a real role to play. You don’t teach a 20-year old right or wrong or how to socialise; it’s too late. If they learn these things young, they’ll remember them forever,” he continues.
Music mirrors girl’s state
I hope the ad will get a lot of airplay: the cinematography by Velocity Films is great, and the editing and sound create a great sense of tension. Cleverly, there is no music as such — when the boy emerges from the sea carrying the girl, the soundtrack becomes muted, to mirror the girl’s state of unconsciousness. As the girl coughs back to life, the ambient sound of the crashing waves returns, adding drama to the moment.
The performances, too, are spot-on. The look of relief on the father’s face is intense, and I think any parent would identify strongly.
The end title, over a shot of the man picking up his daughter, is: “Learn it Young. Remember it Forever,” followed by the logo and website — and that is all that is required to bring the message home.
This simple scene, beautifully produced, is all the more remarkable, considering it’s a pro bono production for the non-profit organisation. Great job, Gavin Whitfield, Gregg Bailey et al — kudos to all who contributed. What a great ad, and what a great message!
Ad agency: Not Norm
Executive creative director: Gavin Whitfield
Director: Gregg Bailey
Production company: Velocity Films
Producer: Kathleen Browne
Executive producers: Karen Kloppers, Helena Woodfine
DOP: Jamie Ramsay
Marine cameras: Frog Squad
Music company/composer/sound: The Workroom
Editor: Anthony Martin
Offline/online/final mix: Deliverance
Ad of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research. If you are involved in making advertising that is smart, funny and/or engaging, please let Oresti know about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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