Advertisements are meant to convince people that the ideas, beliefs, viewpoints and interpretations of certain things taken by the advertisements are true. Thus, advertisements structure the views of a person to fit some structured ideologies. The advertisements are also produced in order to alter the opinions of people to align to a set line of views. This is done for varied of reasons that differ according to the target audience. Political advertisements tend to tell people that certain political stands are wrong while other stands are right. The Peace Little Girl, Daisy, advertisement is a political advertisement that seems to endorse Johnson, at the same time sidetracking Goldwater as an extremist leader. This advertisement may be seen as an attack to Goldwater, but it contains rhetorical appeals (logic, ethics and emotions) that help build a rapport with the viewers and present the concerns from the viewers’ perspectives.
Context of the Advertisement
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This advertisement was made during the presidential race that arose after the assassination of President F. Kennedy. Johnson and Goldwater ran for the presidency, and Goldwater seemed to take ideas of extremism that were not popular to the people; these made Johnson get a landslide win. The ideas in this advertisement are some perceived interpretations of Goldwater; people feel that electing Goldwater will lead to war that will, eventually, lead to nuclear war, and this will put the whole world in danger. Johnson seems to advocate for peace, and this makes the Americans identify with this man. During this time, Americans had lost a lot of people (soldiers) in a previous war, and they did not want a repeat of the same. Therefore, Johnson’s ideas were much accepted.
Rhetorical Appeals of the Advertisement
Rhetorical appeals refer to things that a writer or a speaker uses to draw and gain support of readers and the audience. These make the reader or audience develop some inclination to the topic introduced or being discussed by the speaker or reader. There are three levels of rhetorical appeal, and they have all been utilized in this advert. This advertisement appeals to the logos (logic) of the readers. The producers of this advertisement organized it in a logical sequence, and even people who do not understand English can get a grasp of the message. The advertisement starts in a serene environment, and a young girl, Daisy, is picking petals of a flower. She is counting the petals, and she seems to have trouble with the sequence of numbers. Abruptly, a man’s voice starts counting from ten downwards, and there is a huge nuclear explosion at the count of zero. The serene environment is no longer there, and the whole surrounding is full of nuclear dust. Logically, war brings destruction, and this is the same case presented in the advertisement. If Americans choose the wrong president, then the country will be torn in war. Electing leaders who support war, logically, will lead to a lot of destruction, death and environmental degradation. For instance, the audience will conclude (logically) that the girl is dead, and they will avoid electing a leader who is likely to lead to this; Americans can either choose peace or war.
The advertisement also appeals to the ethos (ethics) of the viewers. All societies, since time immemorial, have sought for peace, and they value peaceful coexistence among all parties in the society. In fact, most societies tend to reject violence, and they embrace peace; they are willing to invest a lot in maintaining peace in their midst. At the beginning of the advertisement, a young girl appears. Young children are embodiments of any society’s ethics, and all people are expected to safeguard children in these societies. This is because children cannot take care of themselves; thus, it the responsibility of all people to safeguard children in that society. However, the innocent counting of this child is interrupted by a harsh voice of a man; the ethics of many societies do not allow harsh reactions on small children. In fact, motherese, a soothing language to children is advocated. The harsh voice of a man shows that the ethics of the society have been overlooked. Therefore, this receives a negative attitude from the audience.
Finally, this advert appeals to the emotions of the audience. People feel a sense of attachment with the young girl, and they want to identify with the girl. In fact, people start to develop a love for this girl since as a result of her innocent nature; they even want to help her in the counting of the number of petals. The setting creates the connection between the girl and the audience and the audience feels part of the setting. The interruption in the counting, just as it interferes with Daisy, also interferes with the audience. The harsh sound can only spell doom that will befall the peace of the land. Predicatively, there is a nuclear explosion, and the land is no more. The young girl, presumably, is dead. The audience’s emotions lead them to feel that this should not happen; they sympathize with the girl’s death, and they are likely not to vote for a person who is likely to lead the country to war.
Democracy According to this Advertisement
This advertisement does not corrupt the democracy of the US. This is because the sentiments contained in this advert tend to drive the idea of the masses towards accepting a violence free society. Democracy should include the ideas of all people in the society; arriving at these ideas can take different paths, but the best path is convincing people that a certain viewpoint can work best to change the plight of the whole society. Thus, this advertisement calls people to leave some extremist ideas and embrace ideas that will work for the whole world. However, people are left to make their opinions on the ideas presented in this advertisement. The president does not tell people to vote for him, directly, but he makes people aware of the importance of doing so. These ideas are not imposed, forcefully, to the people, and people can choose to adhere to them or not. Therefore, it would be incorrect to say that this advertisement negates the ideas of democracy in the US.
Modification of Political View
The Peace Little Girl, Daisy advertisement helps to modify people’s political views. The advertisement clarifies that America does not need extremist views, but needs to embrace dialogue in shaping the world. The advertisement suggests that extremism will lead to political collapse since nations will get to war, and this will not help things. Therefore, Johnson’s advertisement advocates for friendship among different nations; instead of war, there should be fruitful cooperation that will see the countries growing together; thus nations will not have to fight since there will be mutual interdependence among the states. The use of a young, innocent girl seems to advocate for innocence in the political systems, and this makes people want to identify with the political system that will preserve life through avoiding unnecessary wars. People are made to see what is likely to happen in cases of war, and probably, those people aligned to the opposing political views will divert from the side that condemns such views.
B.F. Skinner’s views on behavioral modification, democracy and freedom
This advertisement reflects B.F. Skinners views on such areas as democracy, freedom and behavioral modification. The people who proposed this advertisement understood the determinants of behavior in the society, and they wanted to use this knowledge to influence other people. In this society, people love harmonious living, and they will react negatively to ideas that are likely to cause disharmony. This goes in line with Skinners theory of behaviorism. Skinner says that people react to reinforcements of reward and punishment. In this case, the reward of electing a peace loving leader will lead to peace in the society. In this advertisement, the embodiment of this peace is the innocence of the young girl who is still struggling to learn the world. The peaceful environment in which the young girl is has fun reflects the peaceful environment that will prevail in times of peace. Contrary, electing an extremist leader will lead to wars that could even lead to nuclear war; this will lead to pathetic life on the planet. On the other hand, the punishment associated with this advertisement is the nuclear explosion that clears the beautiful environment. Therefore, the reward associated with this election will make a person focus on choosing a leader who embraces peace.
Skinner says that the freedom of an individual should not interfere with the democracy of all people. The two concepts, democracy and freedom, are related but can be used in the wrong manners. They should advance harmony in the society, and all people should be encouraged to adhere to these ideas. Skinner also says that the coexistence in the society is based on the set laws that guide all people; he notes that all people do not adhere to these things, but, for the good of all, these rules are followed with accompanying rewards and punishments.
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