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Political Persuasion Ethics: An Analysis Of The Daisy Girl Ad

1811 words - 8 pages

Wilbert M. Lindamood
Often Advertising uses persuasion to inform the audience; in fact it is the most import aspect to advertising. Advertising would simply be a conversation between the communicator and their recipients if persuasion weren’t present. Although the basic purposes are to inform and persuade, it is left to the audience when it comes to differentiating between factual information and unethical persuasive tactics. The persuader, wishes for the consumer to act or believe in a certain way. Whether sought after actions are positive or negative, ends up being the question. In the modern world it has become more difficult to differentiate between truths and untruths; mainly due to the technological advances in advertising medium. Differentiating between facts and propaganda becomes increasingly more challenging when it comes to politics. Whether it is an election for student senate or the United States general election for Presidency; there are a lot of factors weighing in on the decision process. During an election year, persuasive tactics become essential in the success of a campaign. Although many voters have made up their minds when they are first bombarded by the political campaigning, these pre-developed opinions are not viewed as an impenetrable force by the campaigner. The campaigner typically recognizes these patterns in opinion and instead aims to persuade them from a different angle, most commonly the emotions surrounding the issues rather than the issues themselves. This paradigm changed in political persuasion was first seen September 7, 1964 when a rattling ad for Lynden Johnson played over NBC. The ad now known as “Daisy Girl” forever changed political persuasion in advertising. With this change came the issue of ethical standards for political persuasion, ethical standards for commercial advertising and the advertisers’ use of intentional ambiguity and vagueness. Although previous analysis of the “Daisy Girl” ad has supported the content of the message as it relates to the functional meaning; instead I will focus on the unethical use of persuasive tactics presented in this ad, to enable the consumer to be a more informed voter.
Responsibility in Advertising
Responsibility is important for both the sender and receiver. Although a sender has the capability of malicious intent while persuading, it is also the responsibility of the receiver to decode the information as it is presented and make deliberate judgment. Analysis of the commercial and political ethical standards should be implemented in order to truthfully capture the meaning of the sender’s message. According the Larson (2010), identification of differing meanings people may have for such terms as distort, falsify, rational, misrepresent, and deceive, is crucial when analyzing the ethics of political persuasion. Along with political ethics, commercial ethics should be carefully considered. Most people who view something inappropriate for commercial...

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