Advertising as Storytelling: No Need for Special Effects

Who says advertisements need special effects and flashy graphics? Messages are still effective when completed in simplicity.

Who says advertisements need sets, scripts, and staff to tell a story? Messages can be as real as an advertisement done to advocate for British road safety.

The ad is a combination of crash footage from David Holmes’ motorcycle accident and an interview post-accident with Holmes’ mother. This advertisement takes real people and their story. The realness creates a sense of connection much deeper than any fictional story can.

Audiences can see the emotion from Holmes’ mother as she remembers the life of her son. You can also see her bravery in telling such a difficult time of her life. Anyone can relate to the emotions she conveys. In addition, anyone can connect to her life story. What happened to her can also happen to anyone, or someone is experiencing a very similar situation to hers. There are people in the world affected by motor accidents and poor actions taken on the road.

Also, the video of Holmes’ accident – something real that happened to an actual person, not an actor – makes you think, “This can happen to me? This can happen to someone I love? Even to someone I just simply know. This can happen to anyone.”

Advertisements can incorporate real life stories, which are not limited to documentaries or movies. In a sense, advertisements are actually extremely short movies that highlight a product, service, or culture. Advertisements persuade people to take some form of action. This ad for British road safety does accomplish that.

On the other hand, using real life stories can be overwhelming for audiences. The footage of Holmes’ accident isn’t has graphic as other accidents, for example. However, there still needs to be a boundary in how far advertisements can use the lives and stories of actual people. For example, if the footage of the accident were extremely graphic, I think that could cross the line in what is appropriate to incorporate into ads.

Kiefaber, D. (n.d.). Safe-Driving Ad Uses Real Footage of Fatal Accident From Motorcyclist’s GoPro Camera. Retrieved October 16, 2014, from

4 thoughts on “Advertising as Storytelling: No Need for Special Effects

  1. Connecting with todays audience is so unique in the fact that we value raw images and consider the special effects to lessen value or be cheesy. Its nice to turn on the tv and actually feel something when I watch a commercial as opposed to being bored or annoyed.


  2. Some of the strongest advertisements have very little or none special effects. Because we are overwhelmed with media and special effects, the quietest one speak the loudest.


  3. I think especially in todays society if companies aren’t trying to make realistic and personal connections to the consumer they will not be successful in reaching as many people as they would have if they would have attempted to make hit reality in someones life with their advertisements. Special effects are so over rated. Any time I see something done with special effects I am more likely to look away or click out of the video etc.


  4. The realness of this form of advertising, especially on an important issue like this is what makes it successful. No over the top fear tactics are being used, which often don’t work. Rather it is just a sharing of important knowledge. It helps people connect, and feel and emotional connection. It causes them to think about what it would be like if they or a loved one were in that situation, which is sure to create a reaction. This could be the most effective way to advertise.


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