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Advertisements normally have a range of formats, but they all have two basic goals: providing a vast volume of information in a brief period of time and persuading the viewer to use the advertised product. Most advertisements are rhetorical in nature and they use the three rhetorical appeals to convince the audience: logos, pathos, and ethos. These elements of the art of persuasion identify multiple approaches to targeting the target audience in order to convince them to consider the details provided by the advertiser. This paper examines the rhetoric message of a commercial for Tampax, a brand of tampons, starring Serena Williams, to see how it can achieve its convincing goal.
The advert for Tampax brand shows Serena Williams, a tennis professional, excited and energetic perhaps because she has won a match. The star appears in the foreground with a clenched fist in a winning posture. Conversely, Mother Nature appears in the background being dragged off the court by security guards while carrying a gift for Serena in a red wrap. There is a statement in the ad which reads, “Serena shuts out Mother Nature’s monthly gift.” The secretive code word “Mother Nature’s monthly gift” signifies menstrual periods. There is another statement at the bottom of the ad which says that a star like Serena Williams does not allow Mother Nature’s monthly gift to disturb her game and that is why she has faith in Tampax Pearl plastic with a new improved LeakGuard braid (Kissling).
An advert that has ethos is considered to have credible information. The trustworthiness or good reputation of an individual can make a piece of information appear to be credible; thus, help to persuade other people (Miller-Cochran and Rodrigo 189). This rhetoric appeal is usually evident in ads that include celebrity endorsements since many advertisers have firm conviction that featuring a well-known individual, for instance, a star with a positive reputation in an ad is effective in persuading the audience to believe the conveyed information. Many people respect stars and are more willing to accept what they say as true. The ad for Tampax can achieve its persuasive purpose since it has ethos – it features a famous athlete, Serena Williams (Kissling). Many people are likely to believe the information the ad conveys and use the product since the famous person is promoting it. The audience would think that Tampax is a functional and reliable brand since Serena Williams uses it to prevent Mother Nature’s monthly gift from interrupting her game. Most women are likely to believe that this brand can help them avoid discomfort caused by menstrual periods.
Advertisements that have pathos usually appeal to the emotions of the audience. They persuade by triggering particular feelings, for example, ads that have a sense of humor trigger positive emotions (Miller-Cochran and Rodrigo 191). A broad range of commercials relies on pathos to a great extent to influence people, more so by using humor. Ads that trigger positive emotions tend to make the viewers develop a positive attitude toward the product which the advertiser is promoting. The advert for Tampax has pathos since it can trigger positive emotions from the viewers. The contest between Serena Williams and Mother Nature sparks a sense of humor which can make the audience develop positive feelings towards Tampax. The appearance of Williams in the advertisement can inspire the audience and excite it; thus, make them develop a positive attitude toward the brand she is advertising. Indeed, she is energized and jubilant (Kissling).
Commercials that have logos tend to persuade with logic. They normally have some evidence and numbers (in some cases), which can convince the recipients; therefore, they are very persuasive (Miller-Cochran and Rodrigo 192). Moreover, a piece of evidence makes an argument stronger. Logos forms a vital part of a strong argument; therefore, many people use it to support their assertions. The advert for Tampax has logos since there are some facts about the product’s makeup at the bottom of the ad. The brand’s logo shows that the product has a new and better-quality LeakGuard braid that stops blood drip (Kissling).
The Tampax advert can realize its persuasive purpose since it balances the three rhetoric appeals: pathos, logos, and ethos. It uses pathos to trigger excitement from the viewers and get them to develop a personal connection to Tampax. It uses ethos to make the audience accept the information in the ad as true since it features a tennis professional who affirms that the product prevents menstrual periods from disrupting her match. It also uses logos to support its claim that the brand is functional and reliable, for instance, it says that the product has a new feature that prevents leakage. It shows the audience that women who use Tampax do not experience the discomfort which monthly menstrual periods cause since it prevents leakage. Therefore, even if period comes, it won’t disrupt their activities, and they can carry out their errands with enthusiasm.
Kissling, Elizabeth. Mother Nature Doesn’t Menstruate – At Least She Doesn’t Say So. 10 January 2010. .
Miller-Cochran, Susan K. and Rochelle L. Rodrigo. The Cengage Guide to Research, 2016 MLA Update. Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage Learning, 2016.
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