BBDO New York Delivers Hauntingly Effective Ad for Sandy Hook Promise
The Sandy Hook Massacre was a horrific event. However, from the ashes, courage emerged. Courage to speak out and raise awareness of a problem in our country: School shootings. Sandy Hook Promise is one such organization and their recent PSA is both haunting and effective.
In conjunction with BBDO New York, Sandy Hook Promise’s Point of View was made to further “its mission to raise awareness of the warning signs of school shootings … the ad is less about what’s happening at the school than about what’s happening to one person, hinting at the back story, ranging from an assault rifle decoration in a locker and vandalized posters to a social media post about imminent violence.” Once viewed, it doesn’t leave you.
The ad was strong on these points…
1. Point-of-View (P.O.V.) Shot – This was the greatest use of P.O.V. I have ever seen. A P.O.V. shot shows what a character is looking at. It is both an objective and subjective viewpoint. The audience sees the events through the character’s eyes and feels as if they are experiencing it themselves. Initially, I had no idea I was seeing a P.O.V. I thought I was seeing typical high school scenarios via Steadicam. Then, the climax came. What I had witnessed weren’t images. They were signs; signs and warnings of what to look for. It was immersive, unsettling and effective.
2. Blocking and Direction– From a technical perspective, P.O.V. requires expert blocking. Blocking is the staging and movement of actors in a scene. It’s where they should move, how they should move and when they should move. It’s timing and direction. Both were done perfectly. Director Rupert Sanders did a great job with the camera and what it captured.
3. Reveal – This is where the ad stuck with you. It was the last thing I expected, and from the last perspective I expected. It humanized the subject, which will spark debate if it hasn’t already.
4. Message – The ad focused on the subject. While this will be hard to understand for some, the ad did this to show how social isolation can play a role. To combat this, Sandy Hook Promise created a “Know the Signs” program: “Start with Hello,” “Say Something,” “Signs of Suicide,” and “Safety Assessment and Intervention.” All of this came into play in the ad. The PSA’s message never lost focus. It was delivered and received expertly.
There was no fault in this PSA.
Disturbing, but necessary, Point of View is a valuable and lingering PSA from Sandy Hook Promise and BBDO New York. It raises awareness without fear mongering. It is an important piece of filmmaking and should be treated as such.