I am writing to recommend the winner of this year’s BTAA Public Service Award. I have reviewed all of the entries and decided upon a shortlist of two.
In this letter, I will analyse my two favourite advertisements and decide which I deem to be the better of the two; the two advertisements I have chosen are “Dear White Fella” and “Smoke Alarms”. “Dear White Fella” is an advertisement desgined to promote an attitude of racism intolerance in football. The advert in narrated by a man who sounds of Afro-Caribbean descent, who recites a poem called Dear White Fella, hence the name of the advert.The advert consists of a number of shots illustrating the life of a black person, then a white person, following the poem, culminating in the slogan ‘Lets kick racism out of football’ (cleverly utilizing the play-on-words to great affect by making the slogan easy to remember and linking it to football) . The Smoke Alarms is an advert showing the victims of fire, specifically those who did not have smoke alarms fitted in their homes; this is not obvious initially and so draws the viewer in.It is dubbed by a recording of “Down to The River” by a 4 part-choir and the shot sequence follows the sequence of a funeral, showing many gravestones or memorials. This advert also uses a solemn slogan, ‘excuses kill’, to enforce the need to have fire alarms.
The music played in “Dear White Fella” is Land Of Hope And Glory, by Elgar. This song shows natural identity, and as it is considered as the unofficial British National Anthem, shows that persons of black or coloured descent are also British.By using exactly the same sound affects for both black and white people (the glass smashing or chanting of ‘who are you? ‘) shows that the two people are not different in any way. The silence at the end of the poem, just before the laughter, is warm and inclusive: inviting people to laugh at the notion of racism together.
There are no sound effects in the second advertisement, bar the music played for the duration of the advertisement. The song is not a sombre song, which is ironic and is in contrast with the theme of the advertisement.As the advertisement begins, the viewer will not instantly recognise what the advertisement is about, and so will draw them in. Nevertheless, the song could be played at a funeral and could relate to the “River of Death”, which is a belief in some cultures that when you die, a river carries you to the afterlife and people would go and pray by a riverside.
The effective use of silences, mainly when the viewer can see a big graveyard, helps to enhance the message of the advertisement by focusing the viewers attention on all the graves. As these advertisements are produced for TV, there are many visual effects used.Dear White Fella is solely in black and white, which enhances the message and shows that black and white can exist together. The sequence of shots is episodic and chronological for both the black and white person; the sequence of shots for the white man mirrors the sequence for the black man (e.
g. baby to child to adult), which suggests that they are they same, bar the colour of their skin. All shots for this advertisement are football related, such as a football game or a ball smashing glass, which highlights the underlying theme and helps the viewer to connect the images with the message.The smoking advertisement uses very drab and dull colours (mimicking the feelings of those who have a lost a loved one) except in the final shot, where colour is seen on a bunch of remembrance flowers laid in front of a fire-damaged house; helping to focus attention on the damage not having smoke alarms can do. There are no people seen this advert seen, reflecting the loneliness of losing someone you care about. The camera is always moving, except to focus on the names of the deceased; these people are of either gender and of a variety of age and ethnicity, showing that anyone can die due to not having a smoke alarm.
The most prominent example is of a young boy who died aged 3 months, highlighting the fact that many innocent people could die if smoke alarms are not fitted. This visual effect is aimed at parents as it shows a parents worst nightmare and will make them fit a smoke alarm, if only to remind them of the possible consequences of not fitting an alarm. Where a message is usually on a gravestone or memorial is replaced by an excuse that the deceased gave for not fitting a smoke alarm (e. g.
Too exspensive, ddn’t have time to); this is used to encourage those who gave similar excuses to fit a smoke alarm, showing them what could happen if they didn’t. The script of “Dear White Fella” is a poem of the same name. It tells the reader that at many stages through the life of a black person that they continue to be black, whilst a white person ‘changes colour’ (e.
g. “When you’re cold, you’re blue. When you’re ill you’re green”). This contrast shows us that we are hypocritical to insult a black man or call him coloured, as he is ‘always black’.
The advertisement is narrated by a black man, helping to enforce the message of the poem and he laughs at the end after saying: “And you have the cheek to call me ‘coloured'” This laugh is friendly and warm, inviting everyone (whether they are white or black skinned) to laugh at the idea of isolated someone because of their race or colour. “Smoke Alarms, in contrast, has no script, which helps the viewer focus on the images, and the distress that could be by someone’s death because a simple thing like a fire alarm was not fitted. The messages of both the adverts are serious, but convey their respective messages in a different way.In “Dear White Fella”, the message is to get rid of racism in football, and does this by comparing white and black people in different football environments (e. g.
football game, ‘keepy-uppies’), showing that black and white people are equal. The joking and humorous interpretation of the serious message draws people in by making them laugh whilst highlighting a major issue in football: allowing for all to have a good time watching the advert. Comparatively, the “Smoke Alarms” advertisement is portrays its message in a very sombre way, by showing many images of death.This is effective as it appeals to a person’s sense of fear; signifying the importance of a smoke alarm and showing what can happen should they not install one.
In conclusion, both of these advertisements are high quality and convey what they need to effectively. “Dear White Fella” uses humour to portray the need to ‘kick racism out of football’, uses a play on words (of kicking something) in its slogan whilst “Smoke Alarms” is a serious advertisement and uses grave images to communicate the importance of smoke alarms. , incorporating the slogan ‘excuses kill’.
Both use sound effects wisely: “Dear White Fella” uses exactly the same sound effects for both black and white, showing equality; and has a black man narrating the poem, allowing people to see racism from the point of view of a black man or a victim. On the other hand, “Smoke Alarms” uses a ‘jolly’ song dubbed over the video, which intrigues the viewer, who will wonder as to what the content of the advert is, having a hearse as the opening shot. Despite the fact that “Dear White Fella” is a complex advertisement, I think that “Smoke Alarms” is the better of the two advertisements.It shows people the horrors that can happen without a smoke alarm and could be an everyday problem for some households.
Though the images are saddening, the impact of the image helps to make the message more important; as nobody will want a friend or family member to die, especially because somebody neglected to put up a smoke alarm. The uplifting song that plays throughout could be played at a funeral, but I think was used to draw people into watching the advertisement, as the initial theme of the advertisement is not obvious.