About this advert
Pablo the drugs mule dog
4 January, 2009
Alex J - AMC1's view
This Talk to Frank advert is an attempt by the government to challenge the perception that cocaine is a harmless party drug amongst young people. David Mitchell known for his wry wit and dry sense of humour voices 'Pablo, the drug mule dog' who has been used for smuggling cocaine into the country. Having been left in a dingy basement with a gaping hole in his stomach, the naive and bemused Pablo goes and explores 'what the big deal is with coke' placing himself in various scenarios with people involved in the cocaine trade. nHis first stop is a dealer who tells him 'it's all about the profit' whilst the gun on the table states 'and to make sure no one messes with us'. The headache pills he is cutting the cocaine with similarly take on a voice telling us 'it's 30% coke and 70% who the hell knows'. This serves to highlight the impurity of cocaine found on the street and the risk of ingesting more harmful substances in the mix. The talking gun is the more violent and aggressive side to the cocaine trade signified through the angry, charged up voice. nThe next meeting is with Mr Disco in a club who tells Pablo 'lots of people are doing it'. Pablo responds with 'really?' in a quizzical tone which questions the notion that cocaine is popular amongst the younger demographic of clubbers in their late teens/early 20's. Pablo then goes to a nasty toilet where a young girl is seen sniffing a line off a dirty seat. She proceeds to ask Pablo for money but he responds with 'no I'm a dog, obviously....'; although this aims to bring in a comedic element and appeal to a young audience it still points out the girl's desperation brought about by her habit. The graphic shot of her palpitating heart also hints to the negative effects of cocaine on our health in an overt and explicit way. nThe next person is her 'coked up friend' who proceeds to hit the camera in a surge of drug fuelled aggression. Pablo states that he is 'no help at all' and we begin to realise that those who are abusing the drug are not equipped to make sense of the issues surrounding it. The last person is a man with a nosebleed looking into a graffiti covered mirror. He states 'I'm bleeding' in a frantic tone and Pablo responds rather unsympathetically and sarcastically with 'well done yes you are'. At this point we sense Pablo's frustration and so he phones Frank who finally makes sense of it all. A more sterile voice explains there's a darker side to coke and offers us to visit the Frank website to find out more. nAs a whole I feel this advert is effective in exploring the many possible avenues for cocaine abuse and manages to highlight its harmful effects in a format which is easily digested and relevant to a younger audience. It engages us through fast paced P.O.V shots and the sarcastic tone of David Mitchell's distinctive and witty voiceover. I don't feel that the undertones of humour deduct from the message it is trying to get across but add to its emphasis and make it more vivid and memorable. The decision to victimise an innocent, friendly looking dog called Pablo is also an idea which works as the audience puts themselves in his position and feels part of his quest to find out the truth. Overall it seems to give a gritty yet realistic portrayal of cocaine abuse and gets its message across successfully. n
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