Plastics are a product that is very common in our everday usage. We use plastics everywhere ranging for Tupperware to the cars that we drive. Although most everyone has accepted the fact that plastics make our lives easier and has become essential to us, there are people out there who are perhaps unaware of how important plastics are to our society, or people who just don’t approve of plastics because of its environmental harm. An advertisement in a Health Care magazine tries to convince this audience why plastics are needed and the usefulness of plastics. The advertisement tries to show its audience that plastics play an important role in our everyday lives and tries to make the audience question where we would be without the use of plastics. This advertisement, directed towards people that do not realize the usefulness of plastics or who do not approve of the use of plastics, through the use of pathos, logos, and ethos tries to persuade its audience that, “Plastics make it possible.” The pathos plays on the audience’s sympathy of why we should use plastics, the logos gives reasons how plastics are useful and why they are used in our society, and the ethos makes the audience feel that if unconvinced by the advertisement alone, there is more information available to them.
First and foremost seen in the advertisement is pathos. The advertisement grabs the audience’s attention by showing a picture of a bunch of boys playing football. Knowing that the children are our future and that the children of today shape our tomorrow, many people are concerned with the problems of our younger generations and care a great deal about what happens to our younger generations. The advertisement does a good job of playing on the audience’s emotions by involving children. Half of the advertisement is covered by the picture of a bunch of little boys playing football. The boys are wearing football helmets and look as though there is not one scratch on any one of them. The advertisement is trying to convey is that if it were not for the football helmets, which happens to be made out of plastic, then the boys would be hurt and all bruised up. This gives the image that the reason the boys can be rough with one another and not be hurt is do to the fact that they are all wearing plastic helmets. The advertisement is aware that the audience cares about children and about children’s safety. The advertisement is trying to play on the audience’s emotions to make them want to approve the use of plastics.
Another point that the advertisement tries to use is football itself. Football, one of America’s all time favorite past time sports, is used to appeal to the sympathy of the audience. The advertisement wants the audience to believe that if it was not for plastics, the whole sport of football would not even exist. Obviously if plastics were not used the sport of football would still exist since football was invented before plastics were. The advertisement takes this issue to an extreme, but the advertisement accomplishes what it is trying to do. The advertisement is getting the audience to believe that if plastics were not used the sport of football would cease to exist. Through the use of pathos in this advertisement the advertisement makes the audience think that if it were not for the use of plastics the things that the audience enjoy and the safety of children would be in jeopardy.
After the advertisement gets to its audience through pathos it goes on to hit the audience with its logos. The advertisement continues in its argument by stating that plastics keep food fresh, make it possible to tell if something has been tampered with, and protect foods from getting damaged. The advertisement is again trying to make the audience believe that if it was not for plastics, foods would not stay fresh, it could not be seen if items such as medicine were tapered with, and foods would get damaged. Again this is not entirely true since all of these things except perhaps tamper proof bottles were done before plastics were invented. The advertisement is trying to make people aware of the many different uses of plastics and how it plays a vital role in everyday use. The advertisement tries to show that through the technological advancement in our society we have developed plastics, which make our lives easier and are definitely beneficial to us. With a simple quote that “plastics make it possible,” the advertisement wants the audience to realize that without the use of plastics things could possibly still be done, but why would you want to go through all of the trouble when plastics make everything a lot more convenient.
Finally the advertisement hits the members of the audience that are still skeptical with its ethos. Through the use of ethos, the advertisement builds its credibility by offering a 1-800 number. By doing this, inquiring people that want to find out more about why plastics are a vital role in our lives can call to learn more. The advertisement also builds its credibility by offering a free booklet that can offer more detailed information than the one page advertisement. This appeals to the audience because they can feel a sense of ensurement towards the advertisement. Thus the advertisement shows a sense of reliability towards its audience. Also knowing that this access to additional information whether it be a phone call or booklet comes at no cost to the audience makes the audience feel that this advertisement is legitimate. Through the use of ethos, the advertisement provides its audience with what the advertisement thinks should convince its audience that plastics are okay to use and that we should continue to use plastics.
Even though the advertisement uses all three points in a rhetorical triangle, pathos, logos, and ethos in its advertisement, I do not think that the advertisement is very convincing towards its whole targeted audience. Something that the advertisement needs to ask is who its target audience is and what will it take to convince that audience to accept its product. Through the pathos and logos the advertisement seems to be geared towards people who are unaware of the importance of plastics or people who do not approve of plastics. Once the audience is identified the advertisement needs to ask what will get the audience to accept its product and what are the reasons why its audience does not approve of its product. The advertisement does a good job of making those of its audience who are not aware of the importance of plastics realize that plastics are important, but does not do a good job of persuading the other half of its audience that plastics should be approved.
The logos that the advertisement uses to persuade its audience who do not approve of the use of plastics is ineffective. There are many reasons why the advertisement’s audience may not agree with the use of plastics. A main issue could be how the plastics are made or what kind of effect plastics have on the environment. Perhaps when making plastics, chemicals are used that harm the environment. The advertisement mentioning the use of Styrofoam does not help convince this part of the audience that plastics should be accepted. If anything the use of Styrofoam may remind this audience why it does not approve of the uses of plastic. The audience may not agree with the use of plastics, namely Styrofoam, because it is not biodegradable. This goes back to harming the environment. None of these issues are brought up in the advertisement when trying to convince the audience that plastics are useful and “good.”
I believe that the advertisement did not give audience-based reasons why the audience should approve of the use of plastics. The advertisement does not defend itself by giving reasons of the usefulness plastics are to the environment if there are any. If plastics harm the environment and the advertisement gives no argument on the improvements of the process of making plastics, or how plastics are recyclable then the advertisement is not doing an efficient job of persuading the audience to accept the use of plastics. The advertisement is using writer based arguments rather than audience based arguments and thus does not accomplish its goal in getting this particular part of its audience to change their minds about the use of plastics.