All American Girl Super Bowl Comercial

By Mike Filardi, Aaron Petit, Thomas Dimarco, and Mary Kate Buckman

This ad, titled “All American Girl”, was created to air during Super Bowl 50. Produced by the NCADA organization based in St. Louis.

During this Super Bowl Ad, showing the harmful effects of the use of heroin, a girl is seen giving up her own life with it be her friends, family, or success. By showing an average young girl (by the looks being in high school) having her life destroyed by the drug, it shows parents at home watching the Super Bowl that this can happen to even the best of people. By the commercial showing her abandoning the dog too, it gives a more upsetting and realistic tone because a dog is normally known as mans best friend, and for her to abandon her dog it also shows she is abandoning her own life. Showing drug free commercials during the Super Bowl reminds people that this is a real issue and we have to always be looking out for our families, just like coming together with friends and family for the Super Bowl.

The advertisement uses audio and visual elements, as well as some easily understood semiotic features to make its point. After taking heroin and becoming addicted to it, the girl throws away everything that is considered important in life. She leaves her cheer leading team, stops talking to her parents, drops out of school, throws away her material possessions, and abandons her dog.  Essentially, she is shown to be throwing her life away in abandoning what is deemed as important (ie family, material possessions, social position). As time goes on, the pretty, well-kept cheerleader looks more and more sickly and close to death as heroin takes a larger role in her life. At points, such as in the diner, she even shows to have an internal conflict between answering her mom’s call (quitting heroin) and rejecting the call (continuing its use), which shows the power heroin has over a person and how difficult it is to quit. At the beginning of the commercial, the cheerleaders  spell out “heroin”, which emphasizes that heroin is more common than one would think, and mixed in with the girl’s actions and appearance, heroin is shown to be powerful, addictive, and deadly.

A psychoanalytic view of this ad shows that heroin is not simply an issue in the inner city or low socio-economic areas. It occurs everywhere, even in the idealized safety of suburbia. The girl appears to live a fulfilling life as an American high school student. She is an attractive, blonde cheerleader who lives in a suburban neighborhood with numerous material possessions. In the beggining of the ad, she essentially has the ideal American lifestyle. And although this appears to be the case, she does still struggle with something. By doing this, we not only see how heroin has infiltrated white suburbia, but it can be used by anyone.  The advertisement shows that, regardless of ones social status or supposed mental safety, anyone can use heroin and have their life destroyed by it. While the commercial is primarily aimed for teenagers, with the use of hashtags, “#heroin,” and focus on the life of a teenager, it also presents emotional appeals to parents. Parents are reminded to be aware of the existence of heroin and its use in the suburbs, and to remain vigilant that even those who are deemed as “normal” can use heroin.

NCADA works to stop the effects of alcohol and drugs in people’s lives. They provide easy support for those struggling with addiction as well as information for helping others. They air ads during the Super Bowl in order to reach a large audience. The Super Bowl is a day when most Americans tune in to the game and actually pay attention to commercials.

Taken from the YouTube description:

Published on Feb 3, 2016
“All American Girl” is NCADA’s second anti-heroin PSA. Premiering during Super Bowl 50, it aims to ignite and elevate the conversation about the realities and catastrophic consequences of opioid and heroin use in our community. Join the conversation on Instagram with #heroin.

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