The Ad Council “World Upside Down”

With the anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 top of mind, this arresting PSA from Cramer-Krasselt and the Ad Council does a nice job demonstrating how quickly worlds can turn. The Department of Homeland Security and FEMA-sponsored ad urges the public to be prepared with dramatic imagery of a family literally going topsy-turvy in what appears to be an earthquake. But instead of the chilling sounds of buildings crashing down and panic spreading, we hear a sparse piano-driven music track and a female voiceover asking questions such as “What if life as you know it is completely turned on its head?” as their ordinary lives turn frightening. The family was enjoying a peaceful, sunny afternoon when what appears to be an earthquake sends them flying through the air along with their possessions. We watch in slow motion as their bodies become airborne and flip backwards with acrobatic flair. When they’ve finally righted themselves and head for the door, the husband grabs a packed bag and they run. The voiceover says “It’s up to you” to be prepared and urges viewers to go to to learn how to do so. The visuals are attention-getting and the final graphics nicely simplify the process to three easy steps: getting a kit, making a plan and being informed. —Eleftheria Parpis