Rhetorical Analysis

Topics: Rhetoric, Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Causality Pages: 3 (803 words) Published: March 20, 2013
Rhetorical Analysis of Pedigree Advertisements
Advertisements are everywhere. From billboards, to magazines, to newspapers, flyers and TV commercials, chances are that you won’t go a day without observing some sort of ad. In most cases, companies use these ads as persuasive tools, deploying rhetorical appeals—logos, pathos, and ethos—to move their audiences to think or act in a certain way. The two magazine ads featured here, both endorsing Pedigree products, serve as excellent examples of how these modes of persuasion are strategically used.

In the first example, we see an exaggerated, humorous depiction of yellow Labrador retriever using its “superdog” strength, which it apparently acquired from eating Pedigree, to dig up a bone buried under an asphalt street. Here the primary means of persuasion is a pathos appeal, one that targets the audience’s sense of humor. However, logos also plays an important role in this ad. The chunks of obliterated asphalt, the dog’s healthy and energetic appearance, and the white, uppercase text “FOR STRONG DOGS” placed alongside the company logo together send a clear, logical message: you should feed your dog Pedigree because it will make him or her stronger and healthier. The careful arrangement of these images indicates an obvious cause and effect strategy. When looking at this photograph, our eyes immediately move towards the digging dog, with its nearly white fur standing out amongst the gray asphalt background, then to the bone, and finally to the text and Pedigree emblem placed in the upper right corner, implying that the Pedigree was the cause for the dog’s phenomenal strength. However, since this argument is not supported by any concrete evidence—only by an exaggerated, computer-enhanced illustration—it could be considered a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, since it presumes that one event—the dog digging the enormous hole in the road—was the direct result of another event—the dog eating Pedigree—simply...
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