Advertising plays an important role in our diverse, media-saturated world. It surrounds our everyday lives. It is in everything we do, whether we are looking for a number in the phone directory, taking a ride down a road, or watching TV. According to Jamie Beckett’s article in San Francisco Chronicle, “The average U.S. adult is bombarded by 255 advertisements every day--100 on TV, 60 in magazines, 50 on the radio, and 45 in newspapers” (Beckett). More recently, Advertising Age estimated that the average American sees, hears, or reads more than 5,000 persuasive ads a day, which means that there is almost nowhere we can avoid their presence. Today, ad agencies spend more than $300 billion in the United States and $500 billion worldwide on advertising. Therefore, we can acknowledge that advertising is created in a results-oriented perspective that will increase companies’ and organizations’ profits in the forms of purchases, donations, votes, joinings, etc. This perspective can be achieved by using manipulative and persuasive techniques in advertising that would get people’s attention. These messages appear in many formats--print and electronic, verbal and visual, logical and emotional. As Stuart Hirschberg wrote in his essay “The Rhetoric of Advertising”, “The most common manipulative techniques are designed to make consumers want to consume to satisfy deep-seated human drives. In purchasing a certain product, we are offered to create ourselves, our personality, and our relationships through consumption” (Hirschberg 229). Thus, we all become the targets of this form of persuasion that uses pathos, positive images, and/or deceptive language to influence our needs, interests, and decisions. The ad from Martha Stewart Living magazine shows its readers a new Honda CR-V automobile. Also, the company at the same time introduces its new campaign called the “Leap List” to the magazine’s primary audience that mostly consists of women ages 25 to 45. This campaign encourages people to make a list of the desired things they want to accomplish before the major event happens in their lives, such as the birth of their children. As we see, the ad is mostly aimed at younger consumers of the magazine who are looking for a better appearance of the car and new opportunities in their lives. The company offers to achieve these things with its new CR-V automobiles by using some of the aforementioned influential techniques, such as pathos, visual arts, deceptive claims, and weasel words in order to get viewers’ attention, establish credibility and trust, stimulate desires for the product, and the most important, motivate the audience to buy it. Pathos is the most powerful and effective tool in advertising. As stated by Hirschberg, “The emotional appeals in ads function exactly the way assumptions about value do in the written arguments. They supply the unstated major premise that supplies a rationale to persuade an audience that a particular product will meet one or another of several different kinds of needs” (Hirschberg 229). Due to the fact that human beings are initially emotional creatures who are more likely to be persuaded by emotions and feelings, and then rational by thinking and reacting, advertisers use both positive and negative emotional appeals to force and influence our minds. One of the ubiquitous emotional appeals in advertising is the use of the “you” word, which is supposed to address the message to each individual. In its ad, Honda uses the “you” word five times by making the ad more personalized and stressing consumers’ personal benefits from purchasing the company’s new car. In my opinion, Honda evokes positive as well as negative emotional appeals in its ad. There is an orange, bold title in the ad that says Before I have kids I want to and then there is an illustrated list of ten goals. It includes flying a plane, rock climbing, skyaking, sailing, running a marathon, learning to scuba,...
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Beckett, Jamie. “Ad Pitches Popping Up in Unusual Places.” San Francisco Chronicle. 17 July
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Hirschberg, Stuart. “The Rhetoric of Advertising.” 1999. Language Matters. 3rd ed. Ed. Debra Dew. Southlake, TX: Fountainhead P, 2010. 269-283. Print.
Honda.Advertisement. Martha Stewart Living. February, 2012. 92. Print.
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