All advertisements have a purpose, for instance a Nike advert would be trying to persuade us to buy their trainers whereas an Argos advert could be informing us of when their sales would start. Oxfam choose a target audience that they assume will be sympathetic. This target audience are also the people that will be at home at the time the advert is aired, this audience consists of elderly or retired people and housewives The main purpose of this advert is to give us information on how the Oxfam charity helps and to gently persuade us to donate some of our earnings, to help the people of a developing country.
This advert has been divided into two sections, which shows us the life of the people in the third world before our help and their lives afterwards. This before and after technique is used so that easy comparisons can be made and so that, the emotions and techniques can be taken in more effectively. Oxfam use this to prove how a little help can improve things. The first half of this advert uses an establishing shot of hot and dead landscape. The colours (the reds browns and oranges) are de-saturated to emphasize how lifeless the land is, another purpose is to warm us to the people so we can sympathise with their situation.
The image of seared land gives us an insight to what kind of lives these people have. When the image is revealed on screen, the voice over informs us that…. “This is an appeal form Oxfam” This statement is straight to the point telling us that Oxfam is asking for help. The image of the dry cracked land reinforces what the voice over is saying. Adult’s faces are silhouetted so we can identify easier with the children in the commercial. Their faces are shown close up so we can see their expressions directly. This way we can connect with the children emotionally and understand their situation better.
By using innocent children in shots, sympathetic emotions can be directed towards the people’s plight. Images revealed on screen can be directly linked with what the voice over is saying. For example when the voice over says. “Where babies are forced to drink water so polluted you fear it might kill them “, the image on screen is of a baby crying in its mother’s arms. Strong emotional words like ‘forced’ are used for a powerful response as we are given ideas of death connected to children. ‘Babies’ also creates a strong emotional response to mother, especially when the word forced is used in the same sentence.
Implying that these children have no choice. We also see a young boy crying in the first half of this advert, whereas in the second half He is smiling and happy. This is like a comparison, the boy is struggling at first but after the help of Oxfam he is happy. By using the same boy a bigger response can be felt by us as the boy is almost thanking us for our help. The pace of the first half is slow because each shot stays on screen for a few seconds before moving on. This matches the music, which is also melancholic and slow and sung by a woman.
It sounds like the music is mourning for this generation of children that could be lost if we don’t help. The voice-over’s pace and the music’s also pace matches everything shown on screen. This pace helps to express Oxfam’s messages clearly. The words spoken by the voice-over’s reinforces the images on screen When the voice over says: ‘Picture yourself in a world where the rains fail to come’, we see a mid shot of a woman standing on dead desiccated land, her skirt blows in slow motion, implying that the woman has been standing and waiting for a long time The keywords in the sentence are ‘fail’ and ‘yourself’.
They are emotional and are directed at us to create an emotional response. Another example is; ‘Where your children cry with hunger’ and on screen we see a close up of a child crying. The close up causes us to experience the Childs emotional pain the keywords are ‘your’ and ‘children’ and again are used to create an emotional response, so that we feel encouraged to help by donating. When the second half of the advert begins, instant change is evident The change is signalled by the voice-over saying ‘but’. The tempo of the music becomes faster, matching the pace of the shots.
Visually everything changes. The colours become fully saturated and the green and the blues signify new life. This emphasizes the positive image Oxfam is trying to portray. By doing this, the mood of the advert also changes, and we see more positive images of how we have helped. We see more children and adults, implying there is new hope for the future. The close ups show us that the emotions felt by the villagers are more positive, in fact their faces shine with happiness, which also effects us emotionally.
More long shots and pan shots are used, in this half of the advert to show us how much the land has changed. Many shots of the plant life are shown to reinforce what we have given them. We also see a shot is of a tap dripping water onto the land to symbolise new life and as the water flows over the dry cracked earth we imagine this quenching the earth’s dryness. This is one of the key images in the second half of the advert. Villagers are shown working as a community where children are play as they should be and the adults are working in the fields.
The message is: ‘People in the third world don’t want handouts they only want the chance the chance to work their way out of poverty and create a better world for their children’: This explains to us that the people in the third only want to be given a chance to support themselves rather than being supported entirely by charity. The voice-over’s tone changes to match the new lively pace of the advert and reinforces how the situation has been improved. The emotional response from the audience will also be positive.
As when the voice over states: ‘With your help we can achieve so much’ we feel we’re being addressed personally and have helped to change these villager’s lives for the better. Oxfam use superimposition effectively so that when the voice over says ‘So please call 0208 33 88 33 and give £2 a month’, the telephone number and the £2 are on screen. This makes it easier for us to remember. At the end of the advert the voice over ends it with ‘thank you’, which is superimposed on screen.
Again this shows politeness and makes us feel obliged to donate. After analysing this advert I think the techniques used are effective. The way the words create an emotional response within the audience is effective. The structure of the advert gives us the chance to compare and see how we help and it also creates an emotional response within the audience. The techniques used to persuade us are gentle and at the end are also polite. I think by the variety of techniques Oxfam have created a successful advertisement.