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Paul Miloro, Chawalit Saetiew, Matthew Reese

Ms. Thompson
AP Lang, Block 2, Skinny B
February 8, 2015
Rhetorical Analysis Paper, Final Draft

Rhetorical Strategies In Advertising


Advertisements possess a large number of rhetorical stratagems designed
to increase the power and efficacy of their arguments, almost invariably with the
intent to convince one to purchase goods or services from the advertiser. As such
campaigns require large investments from the company providing them, they are
usually optimized to be as effective as possible, and thus provide excellent material
on which to conduct analysis. The advertisements we have selected for further
analysis, marketing Zyrtec and Colorado, utilize numerous strategies to appeal to
their audience; the former utilizes primarily pathos with a moderate quantity of
logos and ethos, while the second is less easily definable, as it uses all basic forms
of rhetorical devices to fairly similar extents. Of the two, the advertisement extolling
the virtues of Colorado is more effective, as its appeals function better in concert
and are more subtle, thus more easily convincing the reader.
The first advertisement is dominated by large font declaring the efficacy of
Zyrtec in regards to a particular scenario: That of relieving a young girl, whose
image fills the background, of her allergies; the statement asserts that the
medication is responsible for allowing her to play as she wishes. Such statements
evidently constitute pathological appeals: Children are often used to inspire emotion
in a wide range of audiences because all readers can relate to their own early years

of life, usually associated with nostalgia and general innocence. By stating that
Zyrtec is used to help children, the advertisement attempts to associate itself with
such sensations, as well as the intrinsic human desire to care for the young and
defenseless; readers will come to relate the provision effective aid and the
preservation of pleasant conditions with the product and will thus be more likely to
purchase it for their own needs. Logos is present here in the form of the image: Its
presence proves the original assertion that Zyrtec was effective in its task by
providing an example of child at play, something that was said to be impossible
prior to the administration of the medication. This rhetorical strategy is meant
simply to enhance the effect of the original appeal to pathos by assuring the reader
that the original statement was not unfounded but is rather supported by evidence.
Likewise, ethos exists in the limited sense that, as helping children is widely
considered a noble purpose, the advertisers position becomes difficult to counter:
Any argument against it will force the dissenting party to appear callous and
uncaring; as such, the advertisement has taken the moral high ground. These
appeals taken together constitute a position that is comparatively well-supported
and difficult to oppose; however, the method of delivery is somewhat clich
(advertisements involving children are fairly ubiquitous, and the text itself states
exactly what one would expect of a marketing device), which weakens the
argument as a whole and makes the advertisement less memorable.
The second advertisement is less conventional; it markets not a product but
rather a travel destination, in this instance Colorado. The message is rather shorter
than in the previous selection, but is also set against a relevant background, the
vivid hills of the aforementioned state, and reads simply, Color is our first name.
This, though it constitutes the majority of arguments present in the advertisement,

is not immediately discernible as representing a particular rhetorical appeal; rather,


it combines several. The first element present is one of pathos: By utilizing first
person plural in the text, the advertisement seeks to represent the state in a more
relatable fashion, as if it were a group of people rather than a location; this makes
the destination seem more inviting, as it offers a promise of interaction with the
individuals that together represent Colorado. More significant is the picturesque
landscape in the background, meant to awe the reader and inspire a wish to see
such scenes for oneself, and thus to travel to the region as the advertisement
wishes; this is a stronger appeal than the fairly abstract personification of the
state. Logos is again present in the form of the image, as the latter once more
provides evidence to support the original assertion and confirm to the audience that
Colorado is indeed as colorful as the text would have one believe. The singular
image also supports the construction of a rhetorical fallacy in the readers mind,
that of hasty generalization; the fact that the only image present in one of such a
scene suggests to the reader that all places in Colorado must be as beautiful,
though in reality this is unlikely. Ethos is present as well, but is emergent rather
than employed directly: The personification of the speakers combines with the
efficacy of the logical appeal to lend a sense of trustworthiness to the secondary
statement, an invitation to come to Colorado; the net effect is to make the state
appear friendly and inviting. Like the previous example, all appeals combined forge
an argument that is difficult to oppose, especially as the appeals are more abstract
and less likely to be determined by a reader, allowing their effect to be greater;
similarly, the delivery is less stereotypical of advertising.
Of the two advertisements, we believe the second is more effective; though
to a large extent they utilize similar appeals, the first is operating at a lower level of

discourse and is stating its message directly, whereas the reader has a greater
range of interpretation for the second. While the former strategy is perhaps better
for clarifying ones point, it makes the argument more rigid; if the audience
disagrees with an assertion, such as that Zyrtec is effective as was stated, there is
very little else that the advertisement employs to be convincing. The second does
not suffer from this problem as its messages are not as defined, and thus can
support multiple interpretations by people with differing opinions and attitudes;
likewise, its construction of an environment conducive to fallacious logic in its favor
leads the audience into self-deceiving and spurious assumptions, which can be far
more effective than employing direct persuasion. Finally, the clich delivery of the
first advertisement weakens its argument (as most readers will simply glance past
it, having seen its ilk repeatedly in the past) and reduces its memorability; there is
little to distinguish it from most others, whereas the advertisement for Colorado is
more subtle and less common, and is thus more effective advertising.
As has been shown, each advertisement utilizes a variety of distinct appeals
and messages to create a strong position aimed at persuading their audiences to
purchase the product or service offered; both use logos, pathos, and ethos, and
both attempt to create a well-supported, impactful, and morally sound position.
Although each succeeds in its task, the second advertisement delivers its message
in a less clich and more subtle fashion than the first, and is thus more effective in
argument and persuasion than the latter.