Author Archives: Marissa-Anne Sciascia

Romance, Gender, and Sex Appeal Examples

Romance Appeal 

Example 1: Ralph Lauren Romance TV Commerical, ‘Do You Believe?’ https://www.ispot.tv/ad/IGKk/ralph-lauren-romanance-do-you-believe-song-by-jessie-j

Analysis: This advertisement first aired back in May of 2019 for the release of Ralph Lauren’s new fragrance, Romance. The song featured in the commercial is called ‘Real Love’ by Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne. The clip features a young couple falling in love. There are cliche romantic scenes where the couple is walking through what appears to be a sea of flower petals, and one where they are running and kissing in the rain. At the end of the advertisement the woman introduces the perfume by asking “Do you believe in romance?”. I am not sure how effective an advertisement like this is, because the entire time I am watching the ad I am too busy wondering what the hell is this an advertisement for? It is only at the very end that they disclose that and make it clear. The romance appeal is basically depicted via this picturesque couple, which some people may envy. Ralph Lauren wants you to associate this type of relationship with the use of this fragrance.

Example 2: Sandals Resorts TV Commercial, ‘Who Says?’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lMxZNFripE

Analysis: Sandals Resorts advertisements are pretty well known for utilizing the romance appeal to draw people in. The particular commercial that I referenced above shows video footage of several couples in seemingly blissful love enjoying the amenities, and beautiful beaches and scenery that this resort has to offer. Even the voice of the woman narrating the commercial is smooth and sweet sounding. Through commercials laid out like this one, Sandals is able to get people to desire this type of romantic getaway. They are illustrating how happy, relaxed, connected, and “in love” their guests feel while staying at their resorts. This type of advertising in my opinion is very effective.  You are viewing all these images of beautiful people, enjoying gorgeous beaches, and luxurious amenities, while simultaneously listening to a soothing voice explain to you why the resort is so wonderful and what the perks of staying at a Sandals resort are.

Gender Appeal

Example 1: Controversial Peleton TV Commercial, ‘The Gift’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijof8uw4OHs

Analysis: I’m sure everyone recalls the super controversial Peleton commercial that was airing around this past holiday season. The commercial depicts a woman receiving a Peleton bike as a Christmas gift from her husband, and the “personal journey” she takes each day as a result of receiving the bike. Yes, an already seemingly thin woman, receives an exercise bike as a gift for Christmas from her husband- to lose more weight. This ad caught a lot of flack from viewers claiming it was sexist and degrading towards women, and pushing the agenda that sets unrealistic expectations for women’s physique. I do not think Peleton foresaw how negatively this advertisement would be received. I believe that the original intention of this ad was to demonstrate how a woman can play many roles in life, and still find time to take care of herself and exercise to improve her overall well being. In the ad you see that the couple has one child. You also see the mother returning from work and then exercising, and waking up at the crack of dawn to use the bike as well. So this woman is a wife, a mother, an employee etc. and she’s still making time to exercise thanks to the thoughtfulness of her wonderful husband. I think it was meant to appeal to the busy women of the world who strive to “do it all”.

Example 2: Chrysler Pacifica Commercial ‘No Matter How You Parent’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy-1JnWGk2c&list=PLVCNuSyxRxgit5N18YFOers7H-DQZKKOH

Analysis: I personally find this commercial hilarious. The commercial depicts two different “types” of moms in the school drop off/pick up line: The mom who is a hot, frazzled, mess that can’t seem to get her sh*t together, and the mom who is seemingly perfect, dressed professional, without a hair out of place. The fact that Chrysler chose to use women to advertise their newest model minivan speaks volumes in itself. It kind of illustrates the typical gender role of a woman: A woman’s purpose in life is to be a mother, and the primary caretaker for her children, therefore she needs a reliable and spacious minivan to schlep them around from place to place. So although the commercial is meant to say “hey, our minivan appeals to you, regardless of what ‘kind’ of mom you are” it nonetheless still resonates with the cliche message that women should be mothers, and therefore they should be driving around in minivans to transport their children.

Sex Appeal

Example 1: Gucci Guilty Perfume Advertisement

Analysis: The first ad I chose that utilizes the sex appeal tactic is this advertisement for Gucci Guilty women’s perfume. The ad displays an attractive man and woman, seemingly naked, embracing with a bottle of the actual perfume depicted in the bottom right corner. In very small font at the bottom you can see the words “The new fragrance for her”. The man in the advertisement looks as if he is smelling the woman’s neck, entirely enchanted by her. The ad is basically projecting how sexually desirable a woman will be if she utilizes this perfume.

Example 2: GoDaddy.co Body Paint 2012 Superbowl Commercial https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=q9ucBY_2WEA 

Analysis: This commercial aired during the 2012 Superbowl. It features former NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and fitness guru Jillian Michaels painting another woman’s naked body with the name of companies that advertise on the GoDaddy website. The advertisement is basically suggesting that if you want your businesses website to get more traffic or clicks, you should consider using GoDaddy as the platform because they know how to grab peoples attention (ex: by painting advertisements on a naked woman’s body). I am unsure of how effective this ad is. I feel like some people may find it offensive or degrading towards women, while on the other hand some may find humor in how ridiculous the ad actually is.

 

 

Analysis of an Ad- “Billy never idles, neither should you.” DEP’s new anti-idling campaign

The advertisement I chose for our ‘Analysis of an Ad’ assignment is a billboard that was recently introduced as a part of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP’s) anti-idling campaign. This billboard debuted itself as a part of my daily commute on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (full disclosure: I went and looked up the advertisement online after I noticed it, as I did not want to use my cellphone to take a photograph while driving!).

The advertisement features a photograph of popular English musician Billy Idol, and displays a catchy play-on-words technique via his last name: “Billy never idles, neither should you.” There is also a sort of “badge”, that illustrates a vehicle with exhaust fumes emitting from it and a slash through it, repeatedly surrounded by the words “SHUT IT OFF”. To further drive home the point of the ad, the words “Idling is polluting, shut your engine off” are displayed below the badge.

There are two speakers in this ad; the DEP and Billy Idol. They are trying to present themselves as authoritarian, while clever. There are several indicators of this. First and foremost, I noticed that the text throughout the entire ad is capitalized and in a bold font. Most times, when receiving an e-mail or text message in entirely capitalized font, the recipient would assume that the sender is angry or feels very strongly about what they are trying to say. The color scheme of the entire ad is also very telling; specifically, the use of the color red. When I noticed the phrases written in red, my mind immediately went to “stop” or “no”. Drivers, the targeted audience, may associate the color red with traffic lights or even stop signs. Hence why the use of this color in the display is effective. The use of the word “never” in this ad also conveys the seriousness of this issue; they could’ve easily used the words “Billy does not idle, neither should you”, but that wouldn’t have been nearly as effective in expressing the importance of their message.

The ad is trying to convey to the viewer that as per the NYC DEP idling your vehicle is bad for the environment. Therefore, it’s safe to infer that the advertisement is basically intended for anybody who owns or operates a vehicle within the five boroughs. I immediately observed a few strategic uses to persuade the audience. The most noticeable technique employed, in my opinion, is the bandwagoning technique. It is illustrated point blank in the ad by almost literally saying “Billy Idol doesn’t do this because it’s bad so you shouldn’t do it either”.  Additionally, I feel like the ad utilizes a testimonial appeal tactic via Billy Idol’s celebrity endorsement. By showing the audience that Mr. Idol stands behind this environmental cause, it is hoping to strengthen peoples’ belief or understanding that idling their car is bad for the environment. This raises the question for me though: how much does Billy Idol the famous musician really know about environmental dangers?

In terms of appealing to the three components of the rhetorical triangle, I am not positive that this advertisement effectively satisfies all of them. When it comes to Ethos, the identity and credibility of the speaker(s) is (are) questionable. On one hand, you have the DEP- an established and credible New York City agency, comprised of individuals well-versed on preserving the environment. On the other hand, you have celebrity Billy Idol- who is extremely successful and wealthy, but really does not have much of a background or an affiliation with preserving the environment. I feel as though credibility may come into question there.

Additionally, the advertisement relies on the assumption that the audience knows who Billy Idol is. Realistically drivers in NYC are eligible to acquire their licenses at the age of eighteen. These individuals were not even born yet when Billy Idol was at the peak of his musical career and a major influence in popular culture. This presents the following questions: do they even know who Billy Idol is or understand the wit of the catchphrase used here?

Logos appears to be absent altogether from this advertisement. Statistics, data, facts, logical reasoning etc. as to why idling is bad for the environment are nowhere to be found in this display.  When it comes to Pathos, I do not believe that the advertisement packs a major punch in the emotional department either. Does the audience feel Billy Idols distaste for idling vehicles based on his facial expression in the advertisement? Perhaps it does, however I do not see this advertisement playing on people’s emotions to get them to appeal to the message that is being conveyed. If there were photographs in the background of nature decaying as a result of the pollution from car emissions, maybe some emotion would be evoked from this advertisement.

Overall, I do not feel that this advertisement is effective. It is void of any type of logical data or statistics to persuade the viewer or present a valid argument for the message it is trying to convey. It also relies on the assumption that the focus audience knows who Billy Idol is. Personally, looking at the ad it did not spark any emotions for me. I recall noticing the advertisement and thinking to myself “oh look its Billy Idol I wonder what he’s been up to these days?”, because he really is irrelevant in popular culture, and I have not seen him much in the mainstream media. I was not even focused on the message of the advertisement. I will say that it does effectively use language via the play-on-words with the endorsers last name, but that is about all I feel this ad accomplished.

For a better photograph of the advertisement, and for more information on DEP’s anti-idling campaign, you can visit: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dep/whats-new/billy-never-idles.page?utm_source=Search&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIoeCL1vmP6AIVA4NaBR2luQBBEAAYASAAEgJkGfD_BwE

Fear and Humor Appeal Examples

Fear Appeal
Example 1: “Smoking Kills” : https://twitter.com/tobaccopoison/status/915146927326580736

This particular advertisement was originally released by the organization ” the truth”. Some people may be familiar with their advertisements that appear on networks such as MTV. Their ad’s generally focus on major issues impacting our communities like addiction, smoking, environmental awareness etc. This ad, which was tweeted by the account Smoking Kills, depicts what appears to be a dead body on a table, most likely in a coroners office. All you can see is the bottom of the individuals feet with an ID tag looped around a toe. The tag reads “smoking kills” and the backdrop design of it appears to be the same design as a Marlboro carton of cigarettes. The top of the ad also features information on the statistics of how many Americans die each year from smoking related diseases along with what percentage of these individuals started smoking in their teen years.  From this, we can infer that this advertisement is targeted at younger individuals, in an effort to scare them into not smoking. Basically the ad is implying that yes you are young now, so maybe smoking won’t affect you as drastically as a teen, but ultimately we all end up down the same road if we start smoking: dead.

 

Example 2: “Was That Text Worth It?”:

Texting and driving is another topic that we often come across advertisements utilizing the fear appeal strategy. Depicted here we see a young girl laid out on what appears to be the medical examiners table in a dimly lit room. In this particular ad, you notice the utilization of slang in the wording of the ad and the emoji face placed over the victims face, both done perhaps to appeal to a younger audience or imply that young kids do the majority of texting and driving (even though plenty of adults are just as guilty of this too!). The message is very simple: Don’t text and drive, because it is not worth risking your life.

Humor Appeal

Example 1: Audi vs BMW

Funny Car Ads

Here we have comedic billboards pitting two popular, long-standing, car manufacturing rivals in the European car market against one another. The first ad featuring the Audi A4 essentially calls out BMW by showcasing their latest and greatest sedan stating “Your move, BMW.”. The second ad, featuring the new BMW M3, is BMW’s sarcastic reply “Checkmate”, a term that is utilized in the game of chess when you are declaring you are capturing your opponents King piece and winning the game. BMW is basically implying that their new model M3 is superior to the new Audi A4 (which in my opinion is true!). The issue with these ad’s is that they definitely do not appeal to everyone. As a car enthusiast I find it hilarious, but somebody who is not into cars, or doesn’t understand the rivalry between these two manufacturers may not understand the advertising strategy or find this humorous. I did notice that in the advertisement for Audi in the bottom left-hand corner the website is advertised, whereas in the ad for BMW, the location and website for the dealership that paid for this ad are specifically listed.

Example 2: Dentastix

This advertisement for Dentastix depicts what looks like a basset hound, drooling over a bird in a bird cage. The bird appears to be passed out/dead from the stench of the dogs breath. The wording reads “against bad breath”. I am on the fence about whether or not this is an effective ad. It is humorous and could appeal to a large group of people (dog lovers, animal lovers etc.). I mean just look at how cute that dog is!? However, it does not give much detail on what exactly the product is. It may prompt somebody to look up exactly what Dentastix are, but the ad itself isn’t very specific. As a dog owner, I am familiar with the product; but not everybody is a dog owner. Additionally, they could’ve done something like list the benefits or the ingredients, or what exactly makes their product so effective.

Reflections on my ‘This I No Longer Believe’ paper submission…

  • What did I learn about myself? I realized in the process of writing this paper just how therapeutic writing is for me. I knew this was always a tool I had relied on in the past to manage my stress and anxiety, but I kind of fell off of the wagon so to speak. Formerly, I was quite diligent with keeping a journal. After writing this paper, I think I might make it a point to return to journaling. This might be what is lacking in managing the chaos in my day to day life at this point!
  • What did I learn about writing? I learned that writing can be messy- AND THAT IS OKAY! Re-reading and revising drafts, gaining feedback from peers, and taking time to reflect is SO important. Perfectionism is a myth. It does not exist. I think we could all do with putting a little less pressure on ourselves…
  • What was easy, what was hard? What was new/different? The easy part for me was deciding what I wanted to write about. As soon as this topic of our first assignment was given, I instinctively knew what I wanted to write about. The difficult part for me was trying to nail down getting my points across as to what information I specifically learned that shaped why my viewpoint changed. It is hard to not get emotional about traumatic things that have happened in our lives, and it is hard to prevent those emotions from taking over when presenting information. Also, as per the usual struggle for me- writers block happens! Sometimes you just need to take that break and stretch,  grab a coffee, go on a short walk, and then re-visit the work.
  • What did I gain from the assignment, or what did I hope to gain but didn’t? Not to sound cheesy, but writing this paper gave me so much strength and courage- and that is exactly what I had hoped to gain from this assignment. I chose my topic for this assignment knowing that it would be difficult for me to tell the story, but also feeling that this was a necessary story to tell. There wasn’t a particular aspect of my writing that I had hoped to improve on, because I do feel that creative non-fiction is a strong style for me. However, this writing journey was more emotionally eye-opening than anything else.  Additionally, I learned that I spend so much time worrying about grammar (which evidently I don’t really have an issue with?) while all along I do struggle with verb tenses! This paper highlighted that weakness for me, and it is definitely something I will be working on moving forward.
  • What additional support would have been helpful for me? I would have liked to review more exemplary samples of previous students work with our class prior to doing this assignment.
  • How do I think our peer review process went? What should we change for next time? Overall, I would say the peer review process went well. I think everyone was able to work in whatever capacity they were comfortable in, which is important. However, I do think that next time we should consider the following: Initially, reading multiple students papers and providing feedback proved to be a useful tool; but I feel it would be more beneficial if during the second round of peer review we worked specifically with ONE students work (again, in whatever capacity each person is comfortable with). I feel like there was not enough time to give sufficient feedback to multiple people, especially as the papers grew more in depth. I think it would be a more beneficial experience if, for the second round of peer review, everyone was assigned ONE specific paper to focus on. 

WMD Blog Assignment Response- Marissa Sciascia

What data do you already track about yourself, or have you tracked in the past but no longer pay attention to? Why have you made these choices? What do you get out of it? What are the advantages/disadvantages of self-tracking? Of using digital devices to help us do it? What patterns do you think are present in your life, but don’t have the data to back it up? (For example, the person who found that coffee actually hurts his concentration, or the person who found that watching a bad movie made him feel negative about his own film career). 

Data that I track about myself on a routine basis relates to my exercise habits. I am an avid runner, and I track various aspects of this activity. This includes everything from the date and time of my run, the length of my run (measured in miles and in time), my average pace for each mile, and my heart rate. The device that aids me in easily tracking these factors is my FitBit. I have an application on my cellphone that pairs with the device to log all of this data. I track this data for several reasons, one of the main reasons being my participation in multiple 5k’s and running fundraisers throughout the year. I like to feel prepared when participating in these events, and by tracking my running data I give myself the ease of mind knowing that I can conquer the event without feeling like my lungs are collapsing or without fear of failure. It helps me make adjustments to things such as my breathing techniques or my stride, so I can improve my run times and my stamina throughout each run. 

I also track this data because it undoubtedly gives me a feeling of self-accomplishment. Not many people wake up at three thirty in the morning and roll out of bed and say “Yes, I am so stoked to go run three miles before work!”. I am that special kind of crazy; but this feeling is not exclusive to every morning of my life. Tracking my runs and being able to reflect back on the data makes me feel like I am superwoman, and if I can make it through my morning run, any challenge that I may face throughout the remainder of my day pales in comparison. It is a psychological boost. It gives me mental clarity, and wipes away my stresses.  

Of course, as with anything, there are some disadvantages to tracking this information. On days when I am not feeling 100% and I struggle to keep my average pace, or I cannot run as far as I normally would, I look back at the data and tend to feel defeated. While this happens less and less (as I learn to not be so hard on myself!), it still does occur. I have noticed that on select days when I have a “shitty” run, my attitude for the rest of the day is definitely compromised. This is a pattern that I know is present in my life, but I do not necessarily have any data to back it up. I suppose I could start tracking my moods on a regular basis via a journal of some sort, and examine the correlation between my mood and how “successful” my run for the day was.  It would be interesting to have the data to prove my theory. Overall, I do believe that tracking this activity is more beneficial for me than it does harm me. Running is a therapy tool in my life, and I do enjoy watching my progress and feeling a sense of accomplishment.  

If you took the SAT or ACT, did you opt to let the company share your scores with schools? What did you gain from that decision, and how do you feel about it in light of the article? How does the College Board (the company behind the SAT)’s business model intersect with what you learned about college rankings? How should standardized tests be used in college admissions (or, should they be used at all)? What do SAT scores and the methods by which they are measured reveal about students, and what do they hide? 

I took the SAT examination multiple times throughout my high school career; five times to be specific. I took this exam so many times out of fear that I would be rejected from colleges if I did not have a high enough score. I felt there was always room for improvement. Each time, I did opt to let the company share my scores with schools. However, I mostly did this out of ignorance. I was not really sure what schools would do with this data, nor did I really care at the time. After reading the article and learning about what colleges do with this data, I can sincerely say I am appalled. Who benefits from the purchase of students test scores? This is certainly not done for the greater good of the students. College applications are expensive and time consuming. It is a waste of time and energy to have students apply to colleges that they never stood a chance of getting into in the first place, in order for “prestigious” colleges to maintain low acceptance rates. Are these colleges really all that prestigious if they purposely solicit applicants that were never qualified in the first place just so they can reject them? 

Additionally, I do not believe that standardized testing should be utilized to measure a student’s worth or gauge how successful they will be in their future endeavors. Furthermore, there have been plenty of successful people in modern times that do not even possess a college education! According to the article “15 Super Successful People Who Never Graduated College” from money.com, Ellen Degeneres whose net worth is approximately $400 million, and Steve Jobs, whose net worth at the time of his death was $10.2 billion, are among the chart toppers of college drop outs. I’m sure nobody stopped to ask what the hell their SAT scores were. A test cannot measure how successful a person will be. Colleges should be spending more time interviewing prospective students, rather than studying their test scores. 

In Class Assignment- Analysis of “Cherry” by Amy Winehouse

Her name is Cherry
We’ve just met
But already she knows me better than you
She understands me
After eighteen years
And you still don’t see me like you ought to do

Maybe we could talk ’bout things
If you was made of wood and strings
While I love her every sound
I dunno how to tune you down
You’re so thick and my patience’s thin
So I got me a new best friend
With a pickup that puts you to shame
And Cherry is her name

And when I’m lonely
Cherry’s there
And she plays along while I sing out my blues
I could be crying
And you don’t care
You won’t call me back, you’re stubborn as mule
Maybe we could talk ’bout things
If you was made of wood and strings
You might think I’ve gone too far
I’m talking ’bout my new guitar

The song “Cherry”, off of Amy Winehouse’s album Frank, is in my opinion a peculiar yet powerful piece of music. This particular piece was written at a time when Amy was struggling with depression and dealing with an on again/off again relationship with her boyfriend. If you read through the lyrics you can see that Amy is describing the qualities of her “friend” Cherry. She offers comparison between the way Cherry makes her feel, versus the way her significant other does. Winehouse artfully illustrates the support that she gets from Cherry, and her lovers lack of care and interest in her struggle with depression.  At the conclusion of the song she finally reveals that Cherry is actually her guitar. I love this piece of music and I feel its powerful because it illustrates a suffering artists struggle with depression and how she uses music as a form of therapy.