0:00 We begin with a completely black screen, except for the Ad Council logo at the bottom right hand corner. This is likely being done for dramatic effect and to create a feeling of suspension. Sure enough the scene pops into view right before we reach the 1 second mark.
0:01 The scene opens with a man (or it may be more accurate to say boy) walking away from what appears to be the entrance to an underground bar. He is white with short red hair and is probably in his early 20s. He is dressed up in tight clothing and a nice black jacket. He was likely celebrating some event, on a date, or simply partying. Other than him, there are no other people in the frame. Its probably very late, maybe 3 am. He appears to be searching his pockets for something. He is looking around, squinting, perhaps looking for other people. In the background behind the bar’s entrance, are trees and buildings that are blurred. In fact everything looks blurry including the bar sign which simply has BAR written on it vertically. Everything except for the boy is blurry. This is likely implying that the man’s vision is what is blurred and not the scene itself. Given all this information we can surmise that the boy is likely intoxicated on some level.
0:02 The boy moves his hands toward his jacket. Perhaps to adjust it but more likely to check them for whatever it is he has lost. The camera changes positions to behind the boy at a few yards distance. He is walking toward a lonely car. There is nothing else around accept for a street lamp with two heads that is to the right of the car. The boy was likely searching for his keys to the car. It is unclear as to where exactly he is. It appears that he’s either on top of a building or maybe the top floor of a parking garage because we can see the tops of buildings beyond the edge of the platform he is on. Perhaps the BAR wasn’t underground then but was actually on ground level, while the parking is elevated. Perhaps this decision was made to make the scene appear distant from the rest of the world. After all, in the first shot, the sign for the bar and the stair were far away from the man and blurred out of focus. This is all to help us focus on the scene that is occurring.
0:03 The boy suddenly stumbles as he makes his way toward the car, giving us further indication of his drunkenness.
0:04 The camera has changed positions again to show the boy searching his jacket now for whatever he has lost. The boy suddenly looks up, surprised. His eyes are glazed over and slightly blood shot, he also looks very tired with bags surrounding his eyes. Has he heard a noise? Or has someone call his name? Who could it be? We just saw that there was no one around. He’s probably imagining things or maybe even hallucinating. Maybe he sees something, or he thinks he sees something, in the light of the street lamp that was established in the previous shot.
0:05 The camera returns to its position of a few yards distance and it is revealed to us that there is a person standing to the right of the drunken boy under the street lamp. The person appears to be a police officer by the hat he/she is wearing and the baton sticking out behind him/her. The officer is holding up his or her hand in a fist. He or she is probably holding something. Perhaps a flashlight. But there is no light emanating from the object he or she is holding.
0:06 We are given a closer look at the officer to see that the officer is male. He only holds up the object in his hand for a split second and then lowers it below the frame so it is still not entirely clear what the object is. As he does this he speaks for about 2 seconds.
0:08 The officer tosses the object he is holding toward the boy. But then the camera changes reference again and reveals an older man in a brown shirt and tie on the boy’s left. He is a chubby man and has scruff on his face so he likely hasn’t shaved in a couple of days. He seems like he would work at an office job. As the object goes flying through the air, a glint of silver catches the eye and it becomes clear that the object is the key to the car that the drunken boy has been looking for. The boy follows the key as it goes flying, barely making an effort to catch it. It’s like a game of monkey in the middle. Given that these two people are likely hallucinations and given this is a public service announcement (the Ad Council logo) we can say that these two individuals are likely people that the boy would have to deal with if he got caught drunk driving or got into an accident. The officer is obviously and officer and would deal with the boy’s arrest. The man in the brown shirt could be a few things. He could be the boy’s father, who he would disappoint or lose the faith of. The man could also be the boy’s boss. Or the man could work for the insurance company that the boy would have to contend with in the event of an accident. It is probably the latter since it is unlikely that we would go from a police officer (who represents a state institution) to a close relative or an individual the boy is familiar with so quickly. The father and boss would likely appear later in this apparent sequence, if at all.
0:09 Now the man in the brown shirt is talking to the boy while holding the key up in his right fist.
0:10 We are now looking at the boy’s face. He still has a rather vacant expression but appears to be listening to what the man in the brown shirt is saying. He then moves his head to the right and moves his eyes to indicate that the key has been thrown again.
0:11 The camera returns again the view a few yards away facing the back of the boy. The circle around him now has a third member who catches the key as it is thrown by the brown shirted man. There is also a pickup truck in the background now.
0:12 The third man catches the key. He is clearly a mechanic. This is indicated not only by the newly arrived pickup truck that is in the frame behind him but also by his appearance. He is a large man with a beard and long hair and he is wearing a Dickies styled uniform. We can also infer this because it fits into our established formula of people this boy will have to contend with if he gets in an accident. The mechanic says something to the boy while holding up the key.
0:13 The mechanic continues talking. And then the frame shoots back to the boy, watching the mechanic talk with his mouth gaping open. He then turns his head around 180 degrees to indicate that the key has been tossed again.
0:14-0:16 A woman in business attire reaches her hand up and catches the key. Now it is her turn to speak. She seems to do so much more sternly and with more disappointment than the previous three. Perhaps now we are meeting one of the boy’s close relatives. However, she is not dressed like the archetypal mother. It is more likely that she is his professor (if he is a college student). And even more likely that she is someone in higher authority telling him he is no longer allowed to participate in a sports team or is even expelled from the college. She might also be his lawyer, giving him legal advice. But given her stern expression she does not seem to be on his side and looks like she is scolding him for misbehaving.
0:17- 0:20 The woman throws the key and the scene shifts to a new position in the circle to the right of the car where we see a black man in a suit and tie carrying a brief case in his right hand, catch the key in his left hand. As his arm lowers upon catching the key, it can be seen that the man is wearing a nice watch. Zoomed in on the man in the suit. He is much more likely to be the boy’s lawyer. He has a friendly, much warmer expression on his face as he talks as if he were giving him advice rather than scolding him. But he looks a little too smiley to simply be giving advice. He may be telling the boy of the legal fees that he will need to pay.
Also, from when the camera changes to the lawyer onward, behind the lawyer we can see a lower level of this platform that these characters are on, and there are a couple cars parked there. This further convinces us that this place is a parking garage of sorts. But because the cars are on a lower level and are only in focus for the second that the lawyer is catching the keys, they do not take away from the deserted atmosphere and are unlikely to be noticed by most viewers.
0:20-0:21 The camera returns to its default position to reveal the boy surrounded by all five adults. The lawyer tosses the key to the boy as if to say “give it a try.”
0:22-0:23 The boy catches the key and gulps looks down at it. He appears to be thinking hard, weighing the costs and benefits of driving home in his condition.
0:24-0:26 The camera goes back to its default position that pans the lot. Everyone has disappeared, except for the boy. We are back at where we started, only this time the boy has the key in his hand. He begins to walk around himself looking at the places in the circle where the adults had previously been standing and jiggling the key around in his right hand. It’s clear that he is not sure of what to do but that he is now feeling more trepidation than he did before his hallucinations appeared.
0:28-0:30 The ad ends with a message that zooms across the screen as if it were on a spinning globe. The word “BUZZED” surrounded in the blinking blue light of a police car spins on from the left side of the screen. It pauses to allow the word to settle in with the audience then spins off. Immediately the word “BUSTED” surrounded in red light spins on, pauses, then spins off. And again in blue light the word “BROKE” spins on, pauses, and spins off. Even though the ad did not seem to focus solely on the being arrested aspect of drunk driving,the blue and red lighting is used to establish authority and induce fear by association with drunk driving. The first word, “buzzed,” seems to indicate that the boy in the ad was only lightly intoxicated. However, one does not get this impression upon first viewing since the boy is obviously hallucinating. The second word, “busted,” refers to those adults in the video who’s jobs are to inflict punishment; e.g. the police officer, the stern woman. The word “broke” references those in the video who will make a profit off of the boy’s misfortune; e.g. the mechanic, the happy lawyer. At the bottom left hand side of the screen is the logo for the Ad Council. On the bottom right hand side is a logo reading NHTSA. Underneath the NHTSA logo is a website.
0:31 The screen goes black, bringing the video full circle.