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Madeline Zeller

Rhetoric and Persuasion

November 12, 2017
Speech Analysis
Persuasive Event: Mirrors by Hillary Clinton
 Link to Clip:

 Context: Approved persuasive ad campaign for Hillary Clinton in the run for President in

2016. September 23, 2016.

 Speakers: Voiceover of Donald Trump; voiceover of Hillary Clinton.

 Channel: YouTube

 Receivers: Anyone who participated or followed the process of the 2016 Presidential


 Purpose: The purpose of Hillary Clinton’s ad, Mirrors, is to further shine a negative light

on her opponent, Donald Trump. This video contains voiceovers of Donald Trump

speaking in an incredibly disrespectful manner, with his choice of words about women.

 In viewing this ad campaign, I was persuaded by the content. This ad campaign triggered

emotion in me, as hearing what our President says about women, and the way that he

disrespects women and girls furthers my opinion of him as an unfit President.

This ad campaign contains the following persuasive elements:

1. Racist/sexist language: Racist/sexist terms place people in artificial and irrelevant

categories. At worst, such terms intentionally demean and put down other people. The

voiceover of Donald Trump speaking contains sexist statements he himself has made

about women. Statements such as “A person who is flat chested is very hard to be a 10”

and “I’d look her right in that fat, ugly face of hers. She’s a slob, she ate like a pig…”

These statements from our current President are demeaning, as they put down women.
2. Hate Speech: Hate speech is a broad label that includes communications that degrade,

belittle, humiliate, or disrespect individuals and groups based on their race, ethnicity,

religion, sex, or sexual orientation. This ad campaign is an example of hate speech as it

again contains voiceovers of President Trump speaking in a way that degrades women, as

he shames the bodies of women, calling women fat and ugly for eating a certain amount,

or being flat chested.

3. Moral Exclusion: Moral exclusion occurs when individuals or groups are perceived as

outside the boundary in which moral values, rules, and considerations of fairness apply.

This ad campaign contains moral exclusion, as the content it aims at personifying is

outside of what one’s morals should be.

4. Political Perspectives: The implicit or explicit values and procedures accepted as crucial

to the heath and growth of a particular system. From Hillary Clinton’s point of view, this

is a political perspective as she’s considering the values and growth of the political

system, as she aims to showcase a side of her opponent that Americans should not want

in office.

5. Propaganda: Ideas, fact, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to

damage an opposing cause. This is an example of propaganda, as this ad campaign is an

approved message by Hillary Clinton that aims at showing Donald Trump in a negative

light, in order for her to get ahead. The goal of this is to further Hillary Clinton’s cause,

and discourage people from voting for Donald Trump.

6. Advocacy: Persuading for or against a certain “cause.” This ad campaign is also an

example of advocacy, as it attempts at persuading voters against Donald Trump and for

Hillary Clinton.
7. Behavioral Intentions: Behavioral intentions are the central feature that distinguishes

this approach from all other attitude research. Aims at changing one’s behavior. Hillary

Clinton’s ad campaign involves behavioral intentions, as she intends to change voter’s

minds in her favor.

8. Biased Information Processing: Occurs when decision-makers favor a certain position

and interpret the world in light of that position. Biased information processing is seen in

this ad campaign as those who worked on producing this ad were likely already

supporters of Clinton in the 2016 Election. Therefore, those people would favor her

position and interpret this video and Donald Trump in light of that.

9. Social Judgment Theory: Focuses on how we form reference points. A point in which

we compare other persons, issues, products, and so on that we encounter. This ad

campaign is an example of this as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are being compared

as the other’s opponent. Furthermore, the issues in which each candidate stands for are

being compared and assessed, as Hillary Clinton values the rights of women.

10. Boomerang Effect: This effect only occurs when it can be established that persons have

changed their minds as a result of a persuasive intervention. This effect could only be

proved to be accurate if viewers were asked if their minds were changed after viewing

this ad. However, given the content of this video, and the effects it has on women and

girls, it is likely this ad campaign either changed the minds of women voting in this

election in favor of Hillary Clinton, or furthered the support of Clinton.

11. Self-efficacy: An individual believing she or he is capable of a successful performance.

Because this ad campaign is an approved message by Hillary Clinton, this warrants self-

efficacy as she indicates she is capable of being a successful president over Donald
Trump by stating his flaws, and asking viewers if this is who we want as President for our


12. Connotation: Refers to a private, metaphorical, emotional meaning for any concept such

as “profit.” This ad campaign contains an emotional connotation. In viewing this ad, I

was triggered emotionally as Hillary Clinton begs the question “Is this the President we

want for our daughters?” With this, I was triggered emotionally as I know Hillary Clinton

was the candidate who cares and advocates for women’s rights, while President Trump

was the candidate who body shames women and girls.

13. Going Viral: Describes rumors, controversial statements, and provocative photos or

videos that are quickly picked up. Because of this ad campaign and the words of Donald

Trump that it contains, Donald Trump was under scrutiny for some time, as the things he

has said about women, and actions he has taken with women were coming out into the

media. Therefore, not only did the video go viral, but the meaning and content behind it

were payed closer attention to.

14. Forensic Discourse: Encompasses any discussion of past action including legal

discourse- the primary setting for the emergence of rhetoric as a discipline theory. This

ad campaign contains forensic discourse, as it contains and considers past wrongdoings

of candidate Trump.

15. Dual-processing Models: Involves two different modes of information processing that

operate in making judgments and decisions. This ad campaign contains dual processing

models, as it provides two different modes of information. This ad contains information

about Donald Trump, and then further contains information about Hillary Clinton, as we

see she wants viewers to consider this ad when it comes to voting.

16. Empirical: Based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather

than theory or pure logic. This is contained in this video, is it refers to the practice of

validating knowledge by an experience or observation. Because this ad is visual, it is an

experience by observation. The goal of this ad campaign is to validate for many, the idea

that Donald Trump is unfit to be President.

17. Normative Influence: A person’s belief that important individuals or groups think it is

advisable to perform or not perform certain behaviors. This ad campaign is an example of

normative influence because it aims at getting audience members to see that someone

who has said such horrible things about women in the past is not fit to be President.

18. Agency: The method used by the persuader to accomplish their ends. With this ad

campaign, the Clinton Campaign’s goal is to shine a negative light on Donald Trump,

with hopes of turning away voters from him.

19. Source Effects: Focuses on the source’s credibility or believability and the source’s

attractiveness to the receiver. Because this ad campaign comes from a reliable source,

and shows direct footage of Donald Trump saying these things, this source has credibility

and therefore should influence viewers and evoke and attitude change through the

peripheral or heuristic route.

20. Inoculation: This is the practice of warning people of potentially damaging information

or persuasive attempts that will probably happen in the future. This ad campaign is an

example of this at it aims at warning the American people of whom they could chose to

elect as President, and how he speaks of other people.