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MASS MEDIA (Sociology) - Assignment Example

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Instructor name Date Advertisement Rhetoric Advertisers putting together an advertising campaign are generally only focused on what will sell their product or service most effectively. In attempting to accomplish this goal, they must necessarily pay attention to some of the basic principles of sociology, which allows them to 'get inside the head' of their potential consumers…
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MASS MEDIA ASSIGNMENT (Sociology)
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MASS MEDIA (Sociology)

These types of advertisements frequently make appeals to dark humor as a means of both gaining attention and delivering a specific message that their product or service is uniquely suited to answer. The message is embedded within the rhetoric of the visual and textual elements of the ad. To examine how rhetoric is used in advertising, an ad from the Northern Bariatric Surgery Institute that promotes weight loss with seeming emphasis on delivering a social message will be examined for its intended and perhaps unintended output. There are two basic approaches advertisers might take to the development of their ad -- first, to present a social message for the overall benefit to society with their product or service taking a modest interest through the presentation of a logo or title somewhere on the page and second, to present the product or service as the main focus of the ad with social responsibility considered secondary or not at all. Whether we acknowledge it or not, there is a great deal of truth behind the statement that we are what the media tells us we are. “Much of what we share, and what we know, and even what we treasure, is carried to us each second in a plasma of electrons, pixels and ink, underwritten by multinational advertising agencies dedicated to attracting our attention for entirely nonaltruistic reasons” (Twitchell, 1996: 468). In working to create the ultimate ad, many advertisers forget to consider the unintended impacts their message might have on the greater social front. “Broadly speaking, the media exist in a very close, sympathetic relationship to power and established values. They favor a consensus view of any problem: they reflect overwhelmingly middle class attitudes and experience” (Hall, 1974). Subtle clues embedded within the action or image of an advertisement such as this one can change the way people interpret and react to specific behaviors such as overeating. This ad is focused on the problem of obesity and relies mostly upon a dominant image to impart its message. “Inductive reasoning takes a specific representative case or facts and then draws generalizations or conclusions from them. Inductive reasoning must be based on a sufficient amount of reliable evidence, in other words the facts you draw on must fairly represent the larger situation or population” (Weida, 2007). The image featured is that of a heavyset man holding his shirt open to reveal sticks of butter strapped to his torso like dynamite. It is intended to evoke an immediate negative reaction to the concept of obesity. According to Weida (2007), emotional appeals such as this are usually made to “paint a more legitimate and moving picture of reality or illuminate the truth.” Rather than relying on a string of text to make this emotional appeal, the advertisement relies almost exclusively on image with only a few small words to help direct the focus of attention. The faceless image is filled with the torso of this man and the numerous sticks of butter that have been attached, causing him to appear as a suicide bomber. The most dominant words on the page are “Obesity is Suicide.” As further analysis reveals, this ad works to encourage negative attitudes toward obesity, indicate an active, willing participant in the creation of an overweight person, elicit associations ... Read More
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