Category Archives: Analysis of an Ad

Use this category for your “Analysis of an Ad” assignments

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:

Analysis of an Ad Assignment

SEATED is a new application to book reservations in different restaurants and get rewards afterward. This application is presented as a modern alternative to explore a great diversity of elegant and prestigious restaurants statewide.

SEATED persuades the audience to use the application by following these steps: 

1- Find a spot: Browse over 1,500 curated restaurants and bars listed in the application. Sort by location cuisine, price, and more. It presents a large number of restaurants to explore using filters according to your preference.

2- Take a seat: Book a reservation ahead of time or use their walk-in feature for casual dining. You have the option to make the reservation in advance or make it when you are walking around the city.

3- When you are finished, snap a picture of your receipt. You must take a photo and upload,it in order to get benefits.

4- Get rewards: Earn a percentage back in rewards you can spend on brands such as Amazon, Uber, Delta, Airbnb, Sephora, Nordstrom, and more.

The Ad relies on Restaurants are vital threads in our social fabric, but options like food delivery and meal kits are keeping many of us at home. This means less profit for the average restaurant. Seated rewards you for dining out more often, which is suitable for restaurants, good for you, and good for society!

The intended audience of the Ad is for people who like dining out; therefore, they will get rewards if they use the Ad. Also, it tries to convey people to go out for diner instead of ordering food delivery.

The strategy is to persuade the audience affirming dining out has never been so rewarding. It has selected a lot of restaurants to discover and give coupons for discounts. Besides that, they offer rewards for your spending at dinner. It sounds a good deal if you want to spend money, having a good dinner.

Another strategy is to make the audience aware of the importance of going out to dinner to boost the economy. The Ad promotes social integration since it tries to make people share more and be less isolated at home.

The Ad appeal to logos because it argues by logic. If you are frequently visiting restaurants for dining out, now you will get rewards and explore more and more restaurants. The Ad does not appeal to ethos because it hasn’t established an excellent reputation yet. I understand that it is a new Ad; nevertheless, it doesn’t show proof or statistic to corroborate its reputation and credibility. The Ad appeal to pathos because it uses emotions to connect with the audience. The Ad is presented as a social being that connects people; for instance, it offers that dining out is vital to society.

Clearly, the Ad is not effective at this moment. It encourages us to go out for dinner; however, there is a real problem outside with the coronavirus. Nobody wants to be outside to be exposed to the virus. For example, authorities are calling its residents to avoid public and crowed spaces or being in quarantine or isolation.

AD Analysis

I am one of those New Yorker’s who constantly finds herself in and out of pharmacies. My mom is sick and must keep herself medicated to minimize pain and other symptoms. A regular visit to the pharmacy consists of me providing whoever is up front with her date of birth (or mine), wait for them to prepare the medicine or just simply wait for them to look for the prepared package, sign and say goodbye if I feel like is necessary. Now, in any of these visits, neither the cashier or I begin a sort of personal conversation or talks about anything other than medicine.

Capsule Pharmacy is the speaker of this ad, they are presenting themselves almost as a safe space. They want us to look at them as someone who is looking to make a change towards ‘pharmacy life’ in a very comical way. You can tell by the way they are trying to approach the desire audience with their words, more in a family way than in a stranger way. This ad in the D train really makes you think, ‘What kind of pharmacist is this? I do not want it. #Creepy.’ This approach is very funny to me, since it would be weird to go to your regular pharmacy, ask for your medicine and once you receive it,  get a nice and sweet “I love you” from the pharmacist. It is just weird and creepy! They are trying to attract those who frequently find themselves on the way to pick up medicine for themselves or for love ones. Currently, many people long for attention and I believe this specific ad is doing that. Telling those whoever encounter it “with capsule you will get the attention you need, and whenever you need it… Also, as weird as you need it.”  Capsule uses the simple and direct language to attract their audience, also they try to pick a certain part of your brain that might make you feel uncomfortable by hearing the words ‘I love you,’ but yet you are paying attention to their message.

Ethos in advertising is to use an appeal to an individual’s moral and character, thus making them think that what they are presenting is trustworthy. Based on this, I do not believe that this advertisement has use ethos to try an engage their audience. Using the
“most likely to hear ‘I love you’ than ‘next please,’” it pushes the audience away from considering the thought that they are trustworthy. However, it depends on the person, because someone might be susceptible to these words, thus, leading them to believe in the well-functioning of this company.   Logos is an appeal to logic; this is something else I do not believe the add has used or introduced properly for the same reason mentioned above. An ‘I love you’ from a stranger and more one in that situation, it is not rational. However, a rhetorical device the ad does use is pathos, the appeal to emotion. By using the word love and what the recipient of the ad might want, they are toying with our emotions and allow us to play it out, considering a situation where this might happen, whether they mean it hypothetically or literally. I believe this ad is effective. I am someone with a wide sense of humor, and curious, too. If I am presented with this advertisement at random, I will not deny I will raise my eyebrows at it, but I will laugh and decide to give it a try. Sometimes you need someone else to take care of your to-do list and this application or system could be it, even if its in an eerie kind-of-way.



Analysis of an Ad Assignment

Original Post Due: Wednesday 3/11 by class time
Comments To Your Classmates Due: Monday 3/16 by class time

For this assignment, you will take a picture of an ad or other poster that you see out in the world. We’re in NYC– there are ads everywhere. You may not use an ad we have already analyzed together in class, and you may not knowingly use the same ad as a classmate.

While it is possible to use WordPress on your phone, I strongly suggest you use a computer to write your post, especially if you have never used WordPress before.

Part 1 Instructions

After you find your chosen ad, do the following:

  1. Write a blog post on our course site following the Posting Directions. Embed the picture of your ad using the “Add Media” button.
  2. Under your picture of the ad, write a rhetorical analysis of your chosen ad. It should be the equivalent of about 2 pages of size 12/double spaced writing in a word processor.
  3. Before you post, find the “Categories” section in the right-hand sidebar of the post editor. Choose the “analysis of an ad” category.
  4. Hit the blue “Publish” button.

If you have questions about WordPress/how to post, you can email me or leave them in a comment.

Some guiding questions for your analysis:

  1. Who is the speaker in the ad? How is the speaker trying to present themselves? How does the speaker want you to view them? How do you know?
  2. What are the messages/arguments that the ad is trying to convey?
  3. What assumptions does the ad rely on?
  4. Who is the intended audience(s) of the ad? How do you know?
  5. What strategies does the ad use to try to persuade the audience?
  6. How does the ad appeal to ethos, logos, and pathos to persuade the audience?
  7. Do you think the ad is effective? Why or why not?

Part 2 Instructions

Choose (at least) two classmates’ posts to respond to with comments.

In your comments, you must add to their analysis of the ad. It is not enough to simply agree with their take and compliment them on it (although you can do that too!). Adding can mean disagreeing with their interpretation and explaining why, or it can mean offering additional interpretations even if you think their take is valid:  “Another interpretation could be that the argument is _________, because if you look at _________, maybe that means _________.” Or, you can analyze some aspect of the ad that your classmate didn’t talk about in their post!

Always support your analysis with evidence.

Each comment should be the equivalent of at least half a page of (size 12 double spaced) writing.