The Role Models Ad Sponsored by Hillary for America

The “Role Models” ad, sponsored by Hillary for America group central theme is bad role models for kids (Clinton). It is a negative-comparative type of an ad lasting for a minute. The ad features children from different races, ages, and genders and portrays Donald Trump as inappropriate and irrational person, whose behavior is contrasted to those of Hillary Clinton. Therefore, what is clearer in this ad is the depiction of claims and assumptions in three perspectives; claim on children, Trump as a dangerous entertainer and irrational actor and Hillary, who is portrayed as morally right.

The ad “Role Models” makes several fundamental claims an argument for Hillary as a superior candidate and that has universal appeal to the U.S. citizens with collective language like “we” and “our.” The ad’s title claims that “our children” are watching the example “we” set for them. The underpinning postulation is that a child acquires what he/she sees. In such a case, it is the responsibility of adults to protect the children. An indication of Trump being an irrational and inappropriate example to children emanates from the sound bites and footages showing him behave in an irrational manner on a TV. For instance, he creates fun on a disabled person in a TV’s news clip. He flounders his hands and shouts “…I don’t know what I said. Agh I don’t remember.” The content he passes cannot help children grow positively neither is it positive to the American population.

Another claim portrayed in the ad is on Trump’s moral character. This ad underlies on what Americans expect from every president’s action, speech and behavior. However, Trump, who is an aspiring presidential candidate fails to abide by these societal rules or guidelines. Trump states that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s like incredible.” In this statement, Trump flouts decorum norms that guide any American presidential candidate and also seem to disregard the safety of the Americans.

The ad stresses on the American guiding principles and values. The logic behind the ad is that Trump cannot be a good president and will likely dishonor such values that govern the American society if he could be one. The ad has symbolic features that show Trump representing ableism, sexism, violence, profanity, and xenophobia. These symbolic features assume that the society deserves better moral values and principles, where the president is expected to epitomize them.

The ad features rhetoric questions of whether Trump will be a good example to children if voted. Clinton questions whether “Our children and grandchildren will look back at this time, at the choices we are about to make, the goals we will strive for, the principles we will live by.” In the statement, Clinton rests a claim that “our children will act as judges in the future” and the decisions they make now will determine the outcomes of those historical judgments. As she poses this question as the ad ends, she presents herself as the suitable candidate. Clinton  is portrayed as the moral option to Donald Trump’s defective character and candidacy. There is great emphasis on visual imageries applied in this ad.

First, the focal center of the camera's gaze represents children’s perspectives. It captures Trumps character, behavior and actions through the ears and eyes of children depicted as vulnerable and innocent. Close-up images and featured on the faces of children lit by the glowing TV. The camera tightly focuses on children’s tender faces and lingers to remind the audience about children’s innocence. The scene designates children viewing a TV before going to bed, all settled under the blankets. The children are clinging on objects that provide comfort. The camera flips its focus between Trump images and children faces. The audience hears how much of the Trump statements that children are consuming from the look on their faces. The strategic flips of the camera between children faces and Trump create visual frames under which the audience attention is grasped into some facets of reality while there is an obscureness of other elements that could promote divergent reactions. The hypnotizing rhythmic visual pattern of the camera enables the children to recognize the innocence of the children, which directs attention to consider the dangerousness of Trump’s candidacy.

A powerful visual strategy employed shows Trump to be a looming threat to the young generation. At a certain points, the camera alters the focus to show children’s head from the back, directing to ears symbolizing how “our” children are listening. The most trembling aspect regarding this image becomes clear when Trump folds his arms to a gun’s shape and points it straight to the child viewing. By viewing, this child has an experience of Trump’s expression of violence. There is a metaphoric portrayal of a child as an unsafe being, partly due to the absence of his parents who are supposed to offer protection from dangers. In the ad, children are positioned in a dark setting, which designates a scenario where children are exposed to unsafe content without their parent’s discretion.

Another visual strategy is the characterization of Trump as an inappropriate and irrational actor using incessant clips showing his character. Trump is portrayed as a danger to children. Each clip showing Trump is obtained from news sources, manifesting the widespread distribution and consumption of his content. Additionally, Trump’s pervasive presence indifferent news presents a difficult situation for parental censorship unlike other genres or channels (violence, pornography, mature content) that parents can control. No discretion warnings for viewers that Trump will appear on the screen. He is viewed and heard making all sorts of outrageous statements. He is seen to make profane and violent threats, where he affirms “…and you can tell them to go f*** themselves” and “guys like that when they were in a place like this, they’d be carried out on a stretcher.” The series of clips from news sources emphasizes on protection of children from such content. Lastly, there is a juxtaposition of Trump and Clinton’s characters in the moral dimension. As the clips of Trump fade, crescendos of white light appears on the black screen, “Our children are watching; What example will we set?” Clinton is portrayed as the answer to many questions previously presented in the ad as the camera’s gaze is directed to the audience to derive their position. Clinton is portrayed as calm, caring, and rational, counterintuitive to Trumps character. In the end, Clinton appears with a white jacket, her hand on the heart, which depicts patriotism and upright moral choice for America.

In conclusion, the organization and setting of this ad come with an overwhelmingly positive reception. The ad presents reality aspects of the American political landscape, where a politician highlights their strengths at the expense of the opponent’s weaknesses. Trump is the antagonist while Clinton is the protagonist. Nevertheless, the use of news sources hammers out any possible bias, omission, or alteration of the truth, which shows a strength of this ad.


Clinton, Hillary. "Role Models." Youtube

14 July 2016. .

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