Persuasion: Big Tobacco

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Persuasion is an art, and this movie is a masterpiece. From start to end it utilized many aspects of persuasion. Overall the main idea to convince the audience of an agenda is unquestionably the director and writers intentions. We have seen advertisements against smoking, either the "Truth" campaigns or a man with emphysema struggling to tell his story. This is a film exposing the internal schema behind the big tobacco company. They accomplished this by loading "Thank You for Smoking" with many tactics and signs of persuasion from each actor's perspective. This movie is a hand guide for anyone wanting to master the skill of pathos, also known as emotional appeal.

Through this course we learn that persuasion is co-persuasion. Author, Joshua Renolds said, "The young mind is pliable and imitates, but in more advanced states grows rigid and must be warmed and softened before it will receive a deep impression." Nick Naylor, Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies, plots with the "Captain" of big tobacco, to launch a $50 million dollar "Anti-teen Smoking Campaign." And why would this work in their favor? This counteracts the fear appeal which is being used by parents and educators every day. The redundancy of their argument will be muted when the tobacco industry tells teens not to smoke. It makes them seem like not the everyday hero. Thus eventually the company seems harmless because they have developed the perfect image and "can't be that bad after all." Fear appeals are tricky, they usually work in favor of the persuader however an overabundance will produce and reverse reaction. Nick also speaks to a grade school class about not always listening to their parents about certain dangers. He preyed on their inquisitive minds to go out and try tobacco for themselves because it may not be as harmful as they say. Before blatantly saying this, he used a warmth appeal of positioning tobacco with chocolate. Of course children would try...
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