Revising Discovery – choose your rubric points

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This advertisement for a fast food chain has been playing in the UK for some weeks. Titled Subway Favourites  and produced by McCann London, and with a running time of one minute, it would be a quick-one-lesson revision activity for the AoS.

Students should consider which film techniques alert the viewer to the idea of discovery as a process:

  • identify the impetus
  • actions taken
  • impact of discovery

Students should also think about what is being discovered for the first time, as well as what is being re-discovered – think about the persona’s social position and his attitude to other people. Is discovery a result of careful planning, or sudden and unexpected? How is this shown? What are the personal, cultural, and social values at play here? Is this discovery transformative? Students should consider this discovery from different perspectives: each person in the ad may have a different understanding of the persona – an interesting opportunity to write creatively, perhaps a dialogue. Which assumptions about aspects of human experience and the world are being challenged or affirmed?

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Here are some ideas to sustain the discussion:

  • slow piano music accompanying male voice over helps create dramatic tension
  • voice over opens with question to hail audience ‘what’s it gonna be, compadre?’ using a masculine term from the Spanish for ‘godfather’ or ‘friend / companion’  assumed to be persona – becomes an internal monologue
  • colloquial language provides sense of familiarity – anonymous customers invite us to identify with this scene
  • shot reverse shot shows us facial expression of indecision and product options

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  • voice interrupts thoughts with a challenge ‘but wait – that’s what you always have’ before providing alternatives, increasing tension
  • close up on persona’s eyes amplify this sensation
  • female at counter in same shot suggests a relationship through proximity – offered as an positive behavioural example ‘why can’t you be more like her?’

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  • voice admonishes persona to ‘be bold – be the boss’ before revelation of his status and brief acknowledgement with another shot showing their connection – contrast to most shots composed of persona in isolation

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  • alternative behaviour offered through shot of male eating and lapse into safety of childish behaviour ‘peter piper’ rhyme offers idea that persona is not able to deal with pressure
  • command to ‘pull yourself together’ is accompanied by close up of clenching fists

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  • high angle shot of child ‘relax – don’t let him get to you’ returns power to the persona
  • quick cuts between ceiling and straw gurgling add to persona’s pressure

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  • as he finally obeys the voice and places an order, the music reaches its crescendo and dramatic tension is lifted
  • persona is rewarded with cliche praise ‘boom – you nailed it’ as we see his order being assembled
  • confirmation of his social status as conquering hero is revealed in the voice stating ‘welcome to the new world, Columbus’

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  • closing moments tagline ‘keep discovering’ and quick cuts between sandwich options are accompanied by the voice over which is no longer an internal monologue

Students might also consider: to what extent has humour been used to enhance the message and purpose of this advertisement? Is this effective in normalising stereotypical social expectations and behaviours?

It may be interesting to read the comments below the text, explaining the campaign and purpose:

Rob Doubal, Chief Creative Officer from McCann London added: “We’ve all been in the order-terror moment. With this campaign we wanted to reassure people that this is perfectly normal situation. That they should throw their irrational caution to the wind and venture on a journey of discovery.”


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