Use of Pathos in an Ad Commercial

Use of Pathos in an Ad Commercial

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Use of Pathos in an Ad Commercial


The images which are used for advertisements, newspapers, or magazines usually include the significant purposes and ideas. Then, in many cases, they are described by ethos, pathos, and logos which are used frequently to catch viewers’ attentions. Even if the ads do not have concrete strategies and clear opinions, those ads may not be able to persuade the viewers. In other words, the excellent ads could use one of three persuasions. The following advertisement is the good example of embedded pathos in the advertisement.

The advertisement of the Office of National Drug Control Policy strongly persuades the reader not to dabble with marijuana. In the image, the close-up of a crooked bicycle wheel sits on an asphalt road. At first glance, maybe the reader does not recognize what the image explains the reader and what is about. However, the viewer figures that there is a sad story in the ad. The viewer reads the story of this wheel on the upper right hand corner of the picture. Then the viewer understands that this advertisement is about marijuana. In this advertisement, Pathos, which is used for emotional appeal, is embedded efficiently. Also, it is the best choice for this anti-drug ad and more suitable than ethos or logos because appealing to person’s character or logic do not work so much for the marijuana addicts. That is why this image successfully persuades people who disregard the risks of marijuana.

First, the ad tells the story of an accident which was caused by a person who smoked weed. It says, “You smoked weed. You got behind the wheel. And you hit a six-year-old girl on her bike. Weed can make you do stupid things like that.” Like this, the sentences help us to understand and to imagine about this picture. In this quotation, marijuana is described as informal word “weed.” Sometimes, to use a casual word is more persuasive than a formal word. The affinity for “weed” expresses that everyone could be involved in the accidents because of marijuana addicts. As a result, the readers keep away from marijuana. This story and the close-up wheel appeal to the reader’s emotion how about terrible marijuana is. In these sentences, not only pathos but also ethos which appeals to a person’s character or personality is embedded. By using second person discourse, the ad persuades especially current smokers to quit right away and at the same time discourages readers from smoking weed and reads directly toward each viewer.

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As readers read, this accident could be one of the examples of “stupid things.” It implies that there are many accidents which are caused by marijuana.

It is obvious that the victim was a girl, not from the sentences, but the picture because the color of the rim is pink and the small flower decorations are fixed on the spokes. The strategy of focusing on the wheel makes us imagine what happened to the rider. And the contrast between the sad story and beautiful blue sky of the background forces us to imagine how miserable the accident is and emphasizes the girl’s sorrow. Maybe she enjoyed cycling under the sun. And then, all of a sudden, she became the victim of weed. Marijuana spoils not only smokers’ lives, but also unrelated people’s lives. By showing this terrible fact, it teaches us that marijuana which is smoked casually has the potential to kill someone and this picture successfully insinuates an abhorrence into the audiences.

On the bottom of right corner, the readers find the word “regret” with unique font. This word simply represents the voice of people who made mistakes. Therefore, it affects the readers’ thoughts powerfully. To use different font is a way to catch the audiences’ attention.

Finally, ads tend to be ignored in magazines but at least one of three modes of persuasion is used nicely, ads appeal strongly toward us. In this anti-drug advertisement, pathos is used efficiently. That is why it caught my attention and I decided to write about this. While this shows the fear of marijuana, this leads us to imagine story of the picture. In addition, it makes the reader reconfirm the significant fact that marijuana can cause murder like alcohol. The image produces sympathy for the girl and hate against marijuana. The fact that this ad provokes our imaginations is the strategy of the creators and the most successful point.

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