Analysis Of The Rhetorical Choices In Political Speeches

916 words - 4 pages

Whether you’re walking down the street, sitting at home watching television, or even taking a cruise down an interstate highway, you have come across some form of advertising. Advertisements are apart of everyday modern society and it’s almost impossible to go one day without coming across a sale strategy of some sort. The overall goal of advertisements is to sell a cheap products to avid consumers who readily spend money on items that hold little to no value, and purpose within a few months. The question is who’s responsible when impulse purchases are made, the ear and eye catching advertisment claims full of verbal jargon or is the responsibility solely on open walleted consumers? This is the argument between William Lutz, an author and Rutgers University English professor, and Charles A. O’Neill a marketing and advertising consultant. Both authors construct their articles in different manners to persuade their audience with rhetorical devices including tone, anecdotes, and moral values. These rhetorical devices can be otherwise known as Aristotle’s three appeals logos, ethos, and pathos. Pathos is used to appeal to the readers emotions, ethos is the author’s personal credibility, and logos is the logical evidence used to back the author’s perspective.
William Lutz in his article “With These Words, I can sell you anything” directly addresses the consumer society, who/which he views as victims of advertisements verbal jargon or what he refers to as “weasel words.” Weasel words are words with little to no meaning when used in advertisement claims. Some examples of weasel words Lutz focuses on are virtually, like, and help. Lutz believes, “The advertiser wrote the ad so you could read a claim into it” ( Lutz, 358), with the strategic use of weasel words. Often times what we as consumers believe the claim is stating is far from what the claim is actually stating. Lutz mentions “new” and “improved” two words that are used frequently in conjuction with one another, but with a focus on “new.” Although advertisers are required to specify what’s new about their product, a “new” product can have just on material change and be labeled as “new” for a 6 month period. As the reader it makes you question how many of your “new” products were actually “new” in terms of enhancing the quality of the product, and what are the “new” benefits versus the old. Lutz presents himself as an educated author who is aware of advertising strategies and the use of weasel words dating years back. Lutz uses logical evidence with the mention of the 1983 Eli Lilly birth control case. This was a court case which involved a woman who became pregnant while on birth control and attempted to sue the Eli Lilly birth control company, but lost due to the use of the weasel word “virtually” in the contraceptives...

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