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It is at the very end, when the father, safe from the crash lifts his arm to embrace his daughter that the phrase “Embrace Life, Always Wear your Seatbelt,” is emblazoned on the screen. This smart usage of words is definitely a wise theme for the commercial. Embrace evokes images of hugs and loved ones. The mother and daughter save the man by embracing him to the seat, acting as a seatbelt. The father embraces the little girl at the end. One doesn’t even notice while watching this video that there was no speaking, because the characters, the filming portrays the story so cleverly.
This is after all one of the key points of the Sussex Safer Road Partnership, to advocate safer driving so that no one has to die in a car crash. This is unsettling, seeing the man thrown from his chair. If one looks closely, the woman and daughter are grimacing with the effort of keeping him safely attached to the chair. The logos demonstrated here is wear your seatbelt so that you won’t get hurt in a car crash. So that no family has to lose a loved one to distracted driving, or for not wearing a seatbelt. While people think that car crashes are a distant evil, something that cannot happen, the setting of this commercial cannot be emphasized enough. They are in a playroom, a place where imagination and creativity rule, a place where children are free to play. This is a stark contrast to a car crash, but car crashes can happen to anyone.
In order to fully appreciate the deft usage of effective rhetoric and pathos, one must first examine the characters. This family, arguably the most effective form of pathos in the commercial, truly depicts the emotions, fear, shock, and subsequent relief that invokes similar feelings within the viewer. The audience here is anyone who has ever been in a car, driven, been driven anywhere, or has a family member or loved one who drives. This wide array of people is automatically drawn to the characters, a father, mother and daughter. The appeal to family and love is stressed even more so by the setting, in a young girl’s playroom. The pink walls, and comfortable setting of the family on the couch, him pretend driving in a chair, invokes the sense of calm even joy. This is emotionally arousing, the scene of a laughing family enjoying each other’s company.
This commercial starts with a father in his daughters’ pink play room. He is pretend driving, and then he looks scared. His daughter and wife, sitting nearby look at the camera petrified. In slow motion they run towards him and hold him to the chair as a seatbelt would. Glitter erupts from the room as the man is torn from his chair, but his daughter and wife embrace him as an efficient seatbelt and he survives the sudden crash. Then the screen declares, “Embrace Life, Always Wear Your Seatbelt.” The dramatized style of this film, and the characters incredible portrayal of emotion and fear evokes extreme pathos and shock within the viewer, making this commercial effective in promoting the usage of seat belts.
You hop into the car, turn the ignition and suddenly are on your way. To anywhere; maybe soccer practice, school, the dentist, the grocery store, or even the beach. Life is good, the windows are down and the miles are just flying by. Suddenly another car swerves in front of you and wham! Split second decisions, should you pump the breaks or swerve? Did you put on your seat belt when you got in the car? Driving a car is something that a large percent of the population does, not just nationally, but worldwide. However, an alarming amount of people still do not wear seat belts. Disregarding laws that demand the use of seat belts, and the logic behind the numerous studies conducted, many people forgo the simple safety precaution. The commercial, “Embrace Life; Always Wear Your Seatbelt,” was funded by the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership to address this problem and promote safer driving practices. Since its debut on January 20th, 2010, Embrace Life has reached over 129 countries and has remained one of the “top rated YouTube film[s] of all time in the education category”.
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