Project Revamp

After receiving the presentation feedback from fellow peers and analysing the most effective route for my project, I have decided to slightly tweak my ideas.

Initially I wanted to create three adverts that will emotionally connect with audiences in a variety of ways; however, after hearing that a better route for me would be to create just three short pieces of video rather than adverts, I have decided to create three short films that will focus on different story lines.

I believe that by creating two short films,  I will be able too experiment with different video elements in a more in depth manner as I won’t be restricted to sticking to an ‘advertisement’ style.

My previous research into advertisements is still relevant as they still use the same video elements as short films do; however I will now be researching into short films as well to gain an understanding of how they are structured and formed.

This will need me to create a new treatment which can be seen in the next blog post.



Presentation Feedback

On Wednesday 24th February we had to present our ideas in a seminar to give an idea of where we are with our projects.

I was able to gain valuable feedback from the questions asked after the presentation and comments and ideas given to me.

Some of the useful comments/ feedback I received were:

  • That I should perhaps create two/ three pieces of video that focused around three short stories rather than try and create two/three adverts. The thought behind this is that I will be able to experiment more and also gain more audience participation which could come in handy when thinking about how I will distribute and present my final project.
  • Stick to obvious storylines, don’t try and complicate them too much as they are a small part of the project. My main focus should be on how I am editing my videos rather than the actual story.
  • Think about how I am going to display my work and how people will view my work. Think how I can incorporate the audience to gather my results of the different emotions they feel after each video.


Feedback from Intensive Production (Bower Ashton and Frenchay).

‘Compassion Fatigue’ – S Cottle Theory

The theory of ‘compassion fatigue’ formed  by Simon Cottle is based around the ideas that audiences become fatigued and immune to images that they see through the media on a continuous basis.

An example of this would be the images that are used in many charity television advertisements such as Oxfam and UNICEF.  The images used by these charities are very shocking, normally focusing on ill nourished children who have a shocking appearance due to the living conditions they are having to endure. The shocking images appear so much on our screens nowadays that audiences become fatigued by them which leads to them becoming less shocking and a sense of ‘normality’.The Save The Children advert that was my initial inspiration is also another advert that can be linked to compassion fatigue.

Simon Cottle argues that “audiences have become inured to the moral compulsion of such images and our capacity for compassion has become overwhelmed or ‘fatigued’ by their constant circulation in the media” (S.Cottle 2009:128).

This theory means that to create emotion within my audiences I am not going to be able to focus on the imagery alone. I want audiences to connect to my video pieces so by just focusing on using shocking imagery I would be risking the emotional status of my video and how effective it could be. This means I will  have to experiment further with sound and lighting to see the different impacts they can have on an audience. 

Primary Research: Adverts that scare.

I have used the same five participants for this part of my primary research however focused on adverts that have the intention to create fear and disturbance within an audience.

The five participants are:

  • Emily Gardner, third year PR and Journalism student.
  • Victoria Gornicki, third year Physchology student.
  • Lianne Edward, third year Geography student.
  • Abi Smith, third year Politics student.
  • James Connolly, junior designer.


This advert was a Phones 4 U advert released in 2011.

Lianne: I remember being so scared when I first saw this on the tv! Creepy characters are just not for me. Everything in this puts me on edge, the scary high pitched sound makes me feel really uncomfortable.

Abi: When the little girl kept appearing I didn’t like it. It’s that whole feeling of someone watching you and catching something move out the corner of your eye.

Emily: I actually felt panicked when she was trying to open her car as the music just got higher and faster.

“I Am A Crisis”- British Red Cross

This campaign video was for British Red Cross, originally aired in 2011.

Emily: That was creepy, it was different from the Phones 4 U as it created fear through what was being said rather than what was being seen. The use of the dog was good as it was quite intimidating.

James: There was a background sound which wasn’t really music but it was really overwhelming, it distorted the imagery and made me feel really on edge.

Victoria: The lighting was really dark which made me fearful as I didn’t feel as if I was getting the full image, as if there was something really sinister about to happen.

From this primary research I have a learned that:

  • Sometimes fear is created through not what you see but what you don’t see. The fear is greater for what you cannot see and understand.
  • Lighting is important, the darker the lighting the more fearful and on edge my participants were.
  • Background noise is key for creating fear. Music is sometimes not as effective but the disturbing ‘white noise vibrations’ are what created emotion. 

Primary Research: Adverts that make you cry.

Even though I have done research into many advertisements, I feel as if the more research I do the better understanding I will have when it comes to creating my own advertisements/video footage and the more successful I will become in creating emotional scenarios.

In this post I will focus on how advertisements/ film scenes/ video footage can create that much emotion within an audience that they can sometimes be reduced to tears.

To get a better understanding of how video footage can create different emotions within different audiences, I have used five diverse audience members who I asked to write down what they are feeling as they watch the pieces of video and what it was exactly that caused them to feel this emotion.

The five participants are:

  • Emily Gardner, third year PR and Journalism student.
  • Victoria Gornicki, third year Physchology student.
  • Lianne Edward, third year Geography student.
  • Abi Smith, third year Politics student.
  • James Connolly, junior designer.


This advert is a German Christmas Advert for the largest supermarket corporation within Germany, Edeka.

Emily: I am crying! That’s so sad but so happy at the same time. The most emotional part for me was the background music, without the music I feel as if it would be sad but not give as big an impact on me, I don’t think I would end up crying if the music wasn’t there. It was a beautiful song.

Lianne: The actual video images were what created the most emotion within me, especially the images of the man sitting on his own eating Christmas dinner. I felt as if they could be still images for Age UK or something as they were that effective on me and very well lit.

“How Easy It Is Too Forget”

This is a commercial for the Chinese rice industry, Bernas.

James: I don’t understand why a rice company would have such an emotional advertisement? It is obviously to get the attention of the audience which it definitely did with me. The scene which affected me the most was when there was no sound and we just saw the image of a swing swinging, it made me feel anxious.

Abi: Yeah I agree. It made me hold my breath and I definitely thought I was going to cry. The video shots in this one are more effective than the previous advertisement as there are many more close shots of the actors which shows their emotions better.

Lianne: The voiceover made me really sit and listen and focus on what was happening. The words used are what made me emotional as I felt as if I could really connect with what was being said.

Slow Down

This is an advertisement from the New Zealand Police about tackling the problem of speeding.

Emily: This was a completely different kind of advert compared to the other two however it still made me really emotional. There was no music, no dramatic lighting or anything ‘film like’ about it but it effected me the most. I think it is because there was no music which meant I was really pulled into the video, it was making me feel very anxious as I anticipated what was going to happen.

Victoria: There were two points in the advert when I actually gasped with emotion, one when the little boy was shown and the second was when the cars collided. The sound of the glass breaking made me jump and made me quite tearful, not due to sadness but due to anxiousness.

From this primary research several things have become clear:

  • Lack of sound can have just as big an impact as the use of music or sound. It can create anxiety and panic as it distorts the viewing experience.
  • Close up shots are the most influential however imagery needs to be clear and crisp, as if it could be a still for a poster.
  • What people say is just as important as the music. The words used can effect someone more than the imagery can. 

Music in advertisements: how effective is it?

After viewing the MetLife advertisement, I decided to research further into the affect music can have on an audience when viewing a piece of video footage. For me, the use of music and sound is something that has a massive impact on me as an audience. The mood of the music can determine how you feel and what you take from the video you are viewing. In “My Daddy Is A Liar” they use music to play with the audiences emotions, using upbeat and happy music to bring a positive vibe but then quickly changing it to slow and low key, dull music that creates the sadness that is wanting to be expressed.

An article I found on BBC Arts homepage named “How do film-makers manipulate our emotions with music?” clarifies the method of using different music to create different moods and explains in depth how sound and music are used. Even though the article talks about film and movies, the same ideas can be applied to television advertisements and campaigns.

The article can be be viewed here.

In the article they talk about how iconic scenes are always more memorable when using a piece of music or sound that really affects the audiences. A key example they use is the infamous shower scene in Pyscho when the murder of the woman protagonist is accompanied by shrieking sounds. The article states that “In films like Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho, straining strings and overblowing brass are mimicking the noise of panic in nature.” This panic is then transferred to audiences as the disconcerting sound/music and emotional imagery combines as one to create fear and panic within anybody that is watching. It is also said that “Alfred Hitchcock initially told composer Bernard Herrmann to leave the iconic shower scene unscored. But Herrmann went ahead and wrote the jarring, jabbing notes, so redolent of screaming animals. Hitchcock, of course, changed his mind.”

The article also talks about how “extreme vibrations” can contribute to create the emotion of fear and anxiety within an audience.The BBC article claims “While we may not be able to hear infrasound, it has been demonstrated to induce anxiety, extreme sorrow, heart palpitations and shivering.”

Even though this article from the BBC is brief and very simple it has given me a lot to think about when creating my pieces of video. It is clear from the article that music and sound is one of the biggest factors to video when trying to create emotion so is something that I need to spend a lot of time on developing and experimenting with.


Helen Stewart. 2013. How do film-makers manipulate our emotions with music?. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 February 16].

“My Daddy Is A Liar” Researching Content

As part of my developing of ideas I have decided to research into other companies ads and look how they create emotion within an audience.

I have already established that I want to create a series of short adverts that will raise emotion within the audience by using different video elements; however I am still not sure on the route to go down with the kind of storyline that I want to focus around. I am clear that I do not want to create a typical, ‘normal’ charity advert as after reading the article by The Guardian it is clear that audiences have become numb to the emotion and are asking for more. I have debated about the different story lines that I could create to help create emotion and have started to put together an idea that will focus on a non emotional situation and create it into something that has the ability to create emotion within an audience.

To help me develop further on my ideas I have been looking at lots of different adverts, not just charity ones, and have been analysing them to deduce what factors they use to create emotion.

One of the most emotional yet revealing adverts I came across was an advert for insurance company MetLife which is considered as one of the biggest life insurance companies in the world. Many people will not find the prospect of a life insurance company as an emotional situation in comparison to a situation like child abuse; however, through the use of the advert “My Daddy Is A Liar” they have managed to create a relatable, powerful video that audiences have clung too much harder than many of the charity campaigns that they have seen.

The advertisement from MetLife has been able to create emotion and passion for several different reasons.

The most powerful attribute of the advert is the use of the non-diegetic voiceover that narrates the story behind the advertisement. The use of the voiceover is key to creating emotion as the audience are able to relate to the young female protagonist who is shown, this being important as it is implied that she is the one who is narrating the emotional story of the advertisement.

The non-diegetic background music is also an emotional contribution. This is because when the advertisement is focusing on the positive scenarios at the beginning there is happy and upbeat music which determines the happiness and glee that the audience feel from watching the scenes. Yet, halfway through the advertisement the music suddenly changes to a more slow and dramatic piece of music to accompany the revelation that the scenes we saw at the beginning are actually in reality sad and upsetting situations. The use of slower and lower key music has the capability of creating the emotion of sadness within an audience.

As with any video footage, camera shots and lighting have major parts to play in creating emotion. The lighting especially determines the emotions that the audience should be feeling. An example of this is when it has been revealed how much the father has been suffering and the camera focuses on the young girl writing the poem. The video shows her sitting in a dark room with a single beam of light focusing on her as she writes. This has the connotation of her being “the light in the dark” for her father as he focuses on creating her a better future, this can then affect the audience as it can be relatable to an audience who also have children and can sometimes feel the same struggle.  Many wide shots are used in the advert to show the full impact of the scenarios that both protagonists are going through which have a bigger impact on the audiences, especially when it focuses on the struggles of the father. Close up shots were used several times throughout the advert, especially when it came to focusing on how the young girl feels when she sees her father struggling. The use of close ups are important as it really allows the audience to feel how the character who is being displayed might feel.

All four elements of voiceover, background music, camera shot and lighting are elements that I really want to focus in on my own production work as I believe they are key to being able to create successful emotion within an audience, whether it be happiness, sadness or anger. This advertisement inspires me as it shows that a simple idea can be formulated in a way that makes a massive impact on audiences just through the use of video elements.

An article based around the advertisement and stating it the “saddest TV advert ever” can be seen here where they discuss the advert and why it is effective. It also highlights how successful it is at promoting life insurance and whether audiences would buy the insurance from MetLife after viewing the advert.


Article: KARA O’NEILL. 2015. The saddest TV advert ever? Tear-jerking clip is a must watch for parents who do the school run. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 February 16]