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Rhetorical Analysis of an Ad

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Caroline Porter

on 30 November 2012

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Transcript of Rhetorical Analysis of an Ad

The text: What is this ad doing to its audience? First, let's consider its purpose. Purpose of Ad This ad is trying to save the elephants, an endangered species threatened by poaching and by human encroachment on their environment. What do you think its purpose is? OK, so how is it convincing audiences to help save the elephants? Let's start with the obvious, the rhetorical appeals. How is this ad using Pathos? Pathos: paragraph one Main idea: This ad uses pathos to play on its audiences emotions, convincing them to help save the elephants. (Let's pretend this is an essay! Each slide will be its own paragraph. Pay attention to MEAL plan) Evidence: The ad does this several ways. First, the background of the ad, a sunset, uses pathos to evoke emotion. Analysis: The sunset works to create the image of a natural, beautiful environment. The sunset isn't man-made; it is a natural, awe-inspiring, potentially divine occurrence. However, it is fleeting. It is not permanent. Thus, the ad suggests to its audience that this beautiful, natural phenomenon is fading, that it is somehow being destroyed. The sunset functions as a call for help. It reminds the audience, before we even notice the image of the elephant, that we must preserve nature. Link: The sunset aids the poster in its ultimate goal of saving elephants by
reminding us of nature's beauty, but also its fragility. MORE PATHOS: Paragraph 2 Main idea: Similarly to the poster's use of the sunset to evoke emotion, the silhouette of the elephant elicits a sort of sadness from readers. (notice the transition linking the two paragraphs) Evidence: The ad depicts the elephant as present, but fading, disappearing. Link: Like the disappearing sunset, the disappearing elephant aims to make audiences feel regret, but also aims to spur action. It works to recruit help from the audience to save the elephants. Ethos: Paragraph 3 Main idea: The poster employs ethos to convince audiences that it has the credibility needed to make a believable, valid claim about disappearing elephants. Evidence: In the bottom right hand corner, the organization leaves its mark. Analysis: The presence of "IFAW.org" and its logo on the poster convince the reader to take this poster seriously. This is a reputable organization, and inclusion of its name on the poster adds credibility. Link: This credibility, or use of ethos, makes the poster more effective because audiences are more likely to donate to an organization with a good reputation.
The poster capitalizes on the organization's good name, thus potentially helping to procure more help from audiences to save the elephants. Text: Paragraph 4 Main idea: The two sentences in the bottom left hand corner of the poster are short, but pithy, memorable,
and effective. Evidence: The sentences are short. The first, "Will only words remain?" draws the readers in by asking a question. The second, "Time is running out!" makes a demand of them. Analysis: Particularly effective is the use of a question. It forces audiences to answer, to interact with the text. It refers to the image of the disappearing elephant, making the question seem urgent. It effectively draws readers in and ensures they will continue to the second sentence. The second sentence seems like a demand. The use of an exclamation mark further emphasizes urgency. It creates in readers a sense that they must act fast. Link: This tactic not only grabs audiences attention, but it works to convince them to help, and quickly. Color: Paragraph 5 Main idea: The sunset functions two ways. As previously discussed, it uses pathos to help evoke emotion. But the colors of the sunset function differently. Evidence: The red in the sunset is representative of the blood shed when elephants are hunted and killed for their tusks. Analysis: The cause behind the need for a poster like this is undeniably violent. Violence is central, and the poster brings it to the forefront of readers' minds by metaphorically staining the poster with blood. Not only is the elephant disappearing, but its disappearance is bloody and violent. The reflection of the colors of the sunset and the elephant in the water begin to take the shape of a pool of blood at the feet of the elephant. Link: when combined with text at the left corner of the poster, the colors intensify the feeling of urgency. Audiences know that they must help quickly; the blood imagery emphasizes the life-and-death situation. Analysis: The gaps in between the letters offer the audience a visual aid, mimicking the dwindling numbers of elephants. The sunset acts as a landscape, and the letters act as the elephant. The letters take up far less room than an actual elephant, emphasizing that elephants' numbers are literally shrinking; they are taking up less of the landscape. Your text: What is the purpose of this ad? Purpose? What is it trying to accomplish? Group 1: Using MEAL plan, write a paragraph discussing this ads use of pathos. Activity: Writing a class rhetorical analysis essay. Group 2: Write a paragraph discussing this ads use of ethos. Group 3: Write a paragraph discussing this ads text. Group 4: Write a paragraph discussing the smoke. But what's my thesis statement supposed to be? For the purposes of this assignment, I don't want a formal introduction, nor do I want a conclusion. I want analysis. I want you to show me that you can analyze a text.

So your thesis statement should come at the beginning of your paper, and it should state your texts purpose, and the the rhetorical devices used to achieve this purpose. Now that we've heard everyone's paragraphs... In your groups, write a potential thesis statement connecting the texts purpose to the rhetorical devices employed to achieve that purpose.
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