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Rhetorical Analysis Of An Advertisement Essay

Visual Rhetorical Analysis This advertisement is found in a magazine, as part of a campaign against rape. The advertisement is glued together, which forces the viewer to rip the pages apart in order to view the whole ad. Once open it reveals a woman’s legs spread apart on a bed, with dark shadows over the woman’s body. There is limited text stating, “If you have to use force, it’s rape”, and the POWA logo, which is the organization that sponsored/made the advertisement. The purpose is to demonstrate the parallels of forcefully opening the pages to forcefully having sex, which is rape.

The advertisement uses; physical representation, emotional connection, power of organization to create a response of anger, and personal relation to rape. The first thing the viewer would notice about the ad is that the pages are bound together, and upon instinct they will try to pull them apart, with the assumption that something happened, and the pages just stuck together. However, the separation of pages is the key part of the advertisement. Only after the pages have been separated is the text revealed. The advertisement will only have the full effect once, because the pages can only be torn apart once.

It will also only work in the magazine context, this advertisement could not be transferred to a radio ad, and still evoke the same response. There is liability in the advertisement, because it can only impact one person per ad, but the impact should be so great that it outweighs the liability. The creators also use the element of surprize in their favor, to help strengthen the argument against rape. When viewers are reading a magazine, the majority of advertisements they will encounter are positive and promotional.

Therefore, when the viewer is forced to open the ad, and then sees the seriousness of the advertisement it will have almost a shock effect. The creators use this physical representation of rape to help the viewer get a logical understanding, from tearing the pages, and also an establish an emotional connection with the woman in the advertisement. One of the most obvious appeals to the viewer is logic. An analogy is being formed, between the viewer tearing apart the pages forcefully, and a rapist forcefully having sex.

This will appeal to the viewers logic, they will think about the force they just used to tear apart the pages, and likewise transfer that feeling to the act of forceful sex. It is in a sense as if you, yourself, just “raped” the advertisement. The purpose is to make you stop and think, about what you just did, and about what rape actually is as well as the consequences of rape. It forces you to put yourself in the shoes of the rapist, and think about your actions. Another logical appeal can be seen in the use of definition.

The definition given by the advertisement is, forceful sex is rape. The advertisement clearly lays out their definition of rape, in hopes to transfer this definition to the viewer as well. Next, the advertisement is creating an emotional connection between the viewer and the woman in the ad. For starters, the advertisement is a campaign against rape, which itself is an emotional appeal. Often people have very strong negative opinions about rape, and rapists. These feelings will transfer over to directly to their feelings about the ad.

Since, they just forcefully opened the ad, they will also transfer some of these negative feeling towards them self. This in return evokes the reaction, a need to stop rape, from the advertisement, which is what the organization intended. Another emotional appeal derives from the vulnerable position of the woman in the ad. She is laying on a bed with her feet spread apart, which would leave her revealed, except there are dark shadows covering the majority of her body. This leaves the viewer to infer the nakedness of the women, which would be associated with the act of sex.

These shadows are also an appeal in themselves. They are dark and set a tone for the ad. There is little to no bright color throughout the advertisement, mostly just black, dark red, and brown to create a sense of darkness within the subject of this advertisement. There is a wrinkled up bedsheet along the bottom of the picture to infer that she a is on a bed. These all help create an empathetic relationship towards the woman. The organization makes a character appeal by including its logo. POWA, people opposing women abuse, is the organization which sponsored and designed the ad.

They purposefully place their logo on the advertisement, so the viewer will associate the advertisement with their own organization. This association creates the character appeal. The viewer would have felt differently if this had not come from a known organization that was against women abuse, but instead a “meninist” organization. POWA is credible, and this makes the argument against rape stronger. Also the word choice creates a strong point for the argument. The word choice is minimal, to show that there are no loopholes or conditions.

This emphasizes that if it is forced, it is rape; there are no if, ands, or buts about it. The words “if you have to force it” are used, because the viewer just had to use force in order to be viewing the ad, and the creators knew this. There are no others words anywhere on the advertisement, which places a greater importance and emphasis on the words that are shown in the advertisement. Arguments made in the photo rely heavily on the inference that the viewer knows what rape is and views rape with a negative connotation. If the viewer did not know what rape is, the advertisement would have lost all effect.

Same as if the viewer did not have a negative view towards rape, without the negative view the advertisement would not seem to have a purpose, it would just be making a general statement about rape. The placement of this ad also has to be specific. This type of advertisement is not seen in People or DQ, it is a serious ad with the intentions of being seen in a serious context. There is a right time and place for this advertisement and the Highlighter magazine is not it. It is also important to note what the advertisement is not doing, there isn’t a hotline number which is typical in this particular type of ad.

They are not reaching out to rape victims which is also typical of advertisements against sensitive issues such as rape or domestic violence. The advertisement simply defines rape, and makes the rape situation realistic to the viewer. When searching for an advertisement to analyze, I remembered seeing this particular rape advertisement on twitter a few month back, and decided to write my analysis about it. The impact of the advertisement was so great that even though I don’t know what magazine it was in, nor did I get to personally experience the advertisement: I remembered the particular picture.

However, this unknown advertisement may be easy to track on google, the original source is not. I researched the organization POWA in search of the original advertisement or at least a trace of it, yet no such luck. POWA is an south african group against women’s abuse, this location difference I assume is the reason for a lack of trace to the advertisement. In return found a the advertisement on an online magazine website Mamamia, and also the homepage for the POWA organization.

The advertisement provides a personal relation to rape, and evokes anger in the viewer through physical representation, emotional connection, power of organization. The advertisement’s emphasis on force was seen both physically and in writing. It is clear the creators’ intended purpose was to establish a clear definition of rape, and enhance this with a visual analogy. Ultimately the argument was efficient in the task of conjuring feelings against rape and clarifying its definition. Providing the viewer with a clear stance, and pushing them to make a personal connection with the harsh, yet sensitive, subject of rape.

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