McClintock, “Propaganda Techniques”
In the article “Propaganda techniques in today’s advertising”, Ann McClintock tells us that advertisement is a form of brainwashing that is willingly absorbed by its “victims”. The author begins by stating that propaganda’s goal is to persuade the audience in order to convince it of a certain message regardless of its credibility. In the second part of the article, McClintock describes the different types of propaganda tactics that are used to seduce us; we shall name two: name calling and glittering generalities. Name-calling connects a political figure, or brand, to a negative symbol. The propagandist hopes that the audience will reject the person or the idea due to its new negative symbol status. The most familiar example used by one party is the association of some figures of the rival party as “war criminals”. Glittering generalities is the opposite of name calling. Advertisers use vague terms that are difficult to define and that may have different meanings to different people: freedom, democratic, all-American, progressive, Christian, and justice. One example of this technique is a billboard of a political elections’ campaign that says “CHANGE”. The use of this word has a definitive and strong effect on the audience’s emotions. Also a good example would be those products that are marketed as “diet” brands given that they are “sugar free”. Although that this is somewhat true, yet since sugar is substituted with “aspartame”, which is a very controversial sweetener that has been said to be regarded as toxic to humans in hundreds of ways, the integrity and credibility of the manufacturer is to be questioned.
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