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COMM 5: Critical Thinking And Persuasion

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COMM 5: Critical Thinking And Persuasion

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Course Code: COMM 5
University: Berkeley City College is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: United States

While you are watching your chosen TV commercial consider the following questions: a) What is the ad explicitly selling? Implicitly selling? b) Is there a specific setting, location, or time utilized? c) Are there slogans, mascots, or recognizable people in the ad? What effect do they have? d) Is the ad part of an overall / larger campaign? e) Who is the intended audience (this should be VERY specific)? f) What rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, and logos) are present? g) Are logical fallacies present? Which ones? Are they convincing despite themselves? h) Would the advertisement work in another form of media? i) Would the advertisement have the same affect in another country/culture?

According to Sanderson and Catherine, (2010, pg 243), commercial advertisements often reflect the specific values and beliefs of a particular culture, represented by the target audience. Successfully portraying these specific values and beliefs through a persuasive advertisement message would lead to desirable results. Therefore, the effectiveness of any commercial advertisement relies on its ability to persuade the target audience into using the advertised product or service. This essay is aimed at analyzing the Colgate Total advertisement, whose target audience is both the youths, especially those in the dating age bracket, and the adults, based on its claims, evidence, rhetorical appeals, fallacies and cultural messages provided by the advertisement, in order to determine the adverts’ effectiveness in passing the intended information and attaining its purpose. Finally a conclusion is drawn based on the analysis showing the effectiveness of Colgate total advertisement.
Colgate total advertisement makes claim that by using the product, you gain confidence to be with others and it is should be part of preparation process when moving out. For instance, when the boy in the advertisement prepares to visit his girlfriend’s home and meet her family, he is seen brushing his teeth with Colgate total. Advertisement claims should not be false or misleading. As stipulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act, false or misleading advertising claims are prohibited and illegal, (Bonakdar and Robert, 2012, pg 80). Advertisement claims should be substantiated before dissemination of the advert. In the Colgate total advert, its claim is substantiated when just a smile from the boy attracts the girl’s family and he is happily welcomed by a hug.
In the current young generation, verbal communication is a very important aspect of dating. It would only feel comfortable sitting, smiling and talking to someone who does not have foul smelling mouth. Therefore, identification of a product that would solve this problem is one of the most valued aspects among the youths and young adults.  Thus, the advertisement message for a product intended for this purpose should contain an aspect of fresh breath and healthy mouth in its visuals and gestures.  As indicated by Cortese and Anthony (2008, pg 29), through successful advertising, it is able to manifest rich, intimate and astute cultural and sub-cultural messages. This could be deconstructed through focusing on visual cues, for example expression, gesture and posture. For example, in the Colgate advertisement, a culture of young and old people who believe in clean and healthy mouth is manifested through the happiness on the faces of the girl’s family members as well as the boy and his girlfriend when the boy smiles and they notice his clean teeth. From this advertisement, the cultural message passed is the importance of fresh breath and mouth. The girl’s family values clean teeth and expects this from the boy. When he proves to have it, he is quickly hugged by one of the girl’s relatives. This further gives him the confidence and courage to meet and talk to the family.
Television advertisements are based on fallacious argument that what is accepted by a few would be accepted by a large number of people too. It does not consider the fact that what is good for one or some few people may not necessarily be the priority of many others. In the case of the Colgate advertisement, the ad is based on the fallacy that every family treasures cleanliness especially healthy mouth and breathe as an aspect to accept a visitor, in this case a potential son or daughter in law. In the real sense, dating and marriage often entails more than just mere clean teeth or fresh breath. Moreover, everyone in the advertisement is seen accepting and welcoming the boy just based on clean teeth. In real sense, not everyone would be attracted to clean teeth only. A boy neatly dressed and with clean teeth yet still doesn’t get welcomed by a girl’s family. Furthermore, it is fallacious to argue that everyone would buy the idea that using Colgate Total guarantees such clean white teeth as seen in the boy.
According to Glenn et al, (2013, pg 226), effective arguments should incorporate a combination of three persuasive strategies, known as rhetorical appeals. Rhetorical appeals could be of ethos, logos and pathos. Rhetorical appeal of ethos, or ethical appeal, establishes the advertiser’s credibility and trustworthiness, through demonstration of goodwill towards the audience and proper knowledge on the subject. In the Colgate advertisement, ethical appeal is seen by the bright clean white teeth of the man visiting his girlfriend’s family and the message towards the end of the advert that Colgate Total is good for you gums, tongue, cheeks and teeth. Secondly are the logos, that is, a logical appeal. This elaborates effective use of reason and evidence. Logos help in supporting claims and drawing reasonable conclusions, as explained by Glenn et al (2013, pg 227). Colgate total advertisement uses logical appeal seen in the statement “Be totally ready with Colgate total.”
Finally, the rhetorical appeal of pathos, an emotional appeal, involves using a language that does not manipulate the audience’s feeling, (Glenn et al, 2013, pg 227).  This is seen through establishment of easy understanding of the advertisement message. Through emotional appeal, the advertiser is able to attract the audience’s attention more. Emotional appeal is employed in the Colgate Total advertisement through the uncertainty facial expression on the man’s face when he reaches his girlfriend’s house and the happy faces on the man and the woman together with other family members after the boy has smiled.
From the above analysis, considering the claims, evidence, fallacies, cultural message and rhetorical appeals portrayed in the Colgate Total advertisement, it could be concluded that the Colgate Total marketers employed an efficient and effective form and strategy of advertising that would most likely persuade both the young people and adults to shift to or continue using the Colgate Total product.
Work Cited
Glenn, Cheryl, and Loretta S. Gray. Harbrace Essentials with Resources for Writing in the    Disciplines. Boston, MA: Wasaworth, 2013.Print
Cortese, Anthony J.P. Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008. Internet resource.
Bonakdar, Robert A. The H.e.r.b.a.l. Guide: Dietary Supplement Resources for the Clinician. 2012. Internet resource.
Sanderson, Catherine A. Social Psychology. Hoboken.N.J: Willey, 2010. Print.

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