Nowadays, advertising is present in almost all types of human activities in order to impose on the audience the importance or the necessity for the particular products, services, or beliefs. Advertising as a bearer of the esthetical information conveys definite consumers’ tastes and helps them to orient the desires to certain advertising images. For this purpose, advertisers use specific rhetorical devices, particularly ethos, pathos, and logos, to make their message a powerful tool of influence on the audience consciousness. The advertising of the PETA organization with Karina Smirnoff includes a definite range of rhetorical devices that coin a certain message for the audience by using marketing principles and rules.
The advertisement regarding animal protection produced by PETA appeared in September 2009. The model of the poster is famous dancer Karina Smirnoff, who participated in the dance competition show, Dancing with the Stars. The photo was taken by Robert Sebree. The advertisement delivers the implicit message of the issue as it does not include the direct call regarding the refusal from the wearing of fur, but focuses on the persona and the attitude of the star. This device provides the audience with the illusion of choice: they are only informed about someone’s position without direct determination of the choice. The background of the ads is white, what makes all other elements, both textual and pictorial, look brighter and easier for comprehension. The pink color of the text ‘than wear fur’ and the name of the organization (PETA) implies double meaning. First, it makes the cohesion between the main idea of the advertisement and its source. Second, it conveys a gentle attitude that is associated with the femininity and has to be preserved in people’s attitude towards animals. The photo is placed on the right while the textual information is on the left. Such special distribution of the objects on the advertisement is the most effective as the information placed on the right is processed by the left part of the brain which is responsible for comprehension of the textual message. Information situated on the left (i.e. the picture) is processed by the right side of the brain responsible for the analysis of the image information. Such distribution provides subconscious influence on the audience as it encourages better involvement in the message. The main phrase of the advertisement is “I’d rather dance naked, than wear fur” (PETA). It is represented as a direct quote of Karina Smirnoff. It is typed with the long and thin letters. According to the peculiarities of the human brain, thin and long lines are associated with beauty, something gentle and feminine, therefore, provides more positive comprehension of the ads message than a bold type. As the advertisement includes the image of a slim and beautiful woman, thin letters maintain the overall impression of the advertisement that gives a sense of lightness and vulnerability of woman’s nature. In general, the visual characteristics of this advertisement and peculiarities of the graphic distribution of the objects provide the positive impression.
The analyzed advertisement can be classified as the social one. It does not promote any products, but rather the idea of the animal protection. The main goal of social advertising is to motivate the audience to take voluntary actions in order to determine particular social changes (Business Dictionary). The same can be seen in the PETA advertising. People for the Ethical Treatment of the Animals (PETA) was founded in 1980 as the organization for the protection of animal rights. They are famous for hosting controversial characters for their advertisements that usually comprises provocative and striking images. Though, the main idea of their advertisements, particularly the analyzed advertisement, is to initiate the collective refusal of wearing fur as a defense of animal rights. As a result, PETA adverts can be related to the social advertising type as their aim is to begin the special social behavior that can provide an improvement in the environmental issues, such as animal protection.
Usually, social advertising uses the emotional context in order to attain influence on the audience. Due to that fact, it can be said that the rhetoric category of pathos that deals with the emotional appealing to the audience is present in social adverts. The main part that provokes the emotions is the image of the naked model. It causes both positive and negative feelings. Positive feelings are achieved by the image of the beautiful woman’s body that attracts the attention with its perfection. Moreover, the general idea of animal protection is also important in showing positive attitude of the audience. However, it also provokes negative emotions as the image is a clear representation of the objectification of women’s body in the media when the usage of woman’s body as the background of the idea. It can lead to the decrease of self-esteem in the individuals from the audience by presenting the ideal body. The naked figure creates the sense of bewilderment and excitement. It is not surprising that PETA advertising campaigns are distinguished by their controversial images. The aim of the provocative images is clear – by appealing to the audience with the means of sensation, PETA provides a strong influence on the public consciousness and attracts attention to the advertised issue. However, such controversial type of the images can distract public attention from the main message, which is animal protection, to the image of the naked woman.
The second rhetorical device that is usually used by PETA and present in the analyzed advertisement is ethos. In order to provide the credibility to the represented idea, the image of the famous person, Karina Smirnoff, is used. In this case, the message implies that if such celebrity as Smirnoff can refuse to wear fur, then, it is definitely the right choice. Moreover, if there was an image of an unknown woman, it could be considered as an inappropriate vulgarity. For this reason, the famous dancer diminishes such reaction because the common audience is familiar with the provocative behavior of celebrities considering that it goes with their job.
The issue of animal protection has always disturbed the public. Therefore, the importance of the main idea in the discussed advertisement can remain for a long period of time as the problem of environmental protection has been developing within the recent time. The popularity of the particular advertisement can depend on the reputation of the celebrity represented in the picture, for instance, during the period of Dancing with the Stars recognition, it might have been higher. However, the image of the beautiful naked woman’s body attracts the audience attention regardless of the time period. The target audience of the discussed advert is mainly young and rich women who have the opportunity to buy fur clothes. The image of Karina Smirnoff shows the idea that you can remain rich and beautiful without killing animals. Beside the main target audience, those people who are interested in the television shows, dances, and beauty can also be the first to experience the influence of this advertising.
The advertising campaign provided by PETA with Karina Smirnoff deals with the animal protection issue. In order to attract public attention, the advertisers used such rhetorical concepts as ethos and pathos. The category of logos is omitted what can provide the certain lightness of the message. The overall organization of the graphical information and rhetoric devices conveys a controversial and provocative meaning that attracts audience attention to the presented issue. However, the controversial visual effect of the advertisement can distract the attention from the issue of animal protection.
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