Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ethics and Emotional Appeals

By Lyndsey Hedge

Do you ever hate going to work, wishing you were somewhere else? No
matter how wonderful you say your job may be, I know there are times
when you would rather phone is sick then be at work. I saw this
commercial during the 2009 Super Bowl for and it
caught my eye quicker than any of the other commercials I had seen so
far. The commercial was actually pretty annoying but the emotional
appeal it used in its advertizing made me tune right in. I will not
say where I work or what specific job I am referring to, but I feel
exactly like the lady in this commercial does about 40% of the time I
am at work. Sad, right? This commercial makes me want to go to and pick me out a job where I can work my own hours,
travel and be able to do normal human things at work like checking my
email for instance. What kind of job does not allow you to check your
email? The commercial for knew exactly how to target
their audience with the emotional appeal of this AD.

Friends, family, co-workers, the media and about 20 other million
different things can persuade a person using their ethical and
emotional appeals. Gosh, I remember this really young girl, about 6
years old coming to my door last summer at home selling Girl Scout
cookies. Of course, the broke college student who was home from work
on my flex day, decided to answer the door. This girl was precious;
blonde hair with her little pig tails and her uniform, all dolled up
to sell her cookies. She goes on to give me her speech on how she
needs to raise money to go on her summer camping trip to pretty much
save the world. How could I say no? I ended up ordering 5 boxes from
her and I don't even really like the damn cookies. She most definitely
used her emotional appeal to persuade me into buying those cookies.

"Using emotions to persuade others is ethical as long as the persuader
allows, encourages and facilitates rational decision-making on the
part of the persuade." Not all emotional appeals work the same. There
are several different ways that can affect the success of emotional
appeals. These include; emotions potency, persuade salience and fit to
persuade personality. If I were to watch a commercial for axe
deodorant for men, I would not be persuaded to run out to the store
and purchase the item. Although the commercial may draw to my
attention with the attractive men, it would not attract me to the
actual product being advertized, only the propaganda that is being
used to sell this product.

I am persuaded emotionally by my friends all the time. I remember last
year at the Pitt State game being persuaded to drink Michelob Ultra
Light over Bud Light because it had fewer calories. I am not one to
sit around and count my calories, especially when it comes to beer,
but the way this girl persuaded me made me want to start drinking that
beer over the other one I had been drinking before. Pretty ridiculous,

I think it is funny how easily we are persuaded. I have this book at
home called "Eat This, Not That", and it says how you should eat this
all natural peanut butter over the Jiffy brand. Well, I was on this
health kick at the time so I went out to purchase the healthy peanut
butter in hopes of it making me healthier and the crap they put into
the "healthy" peanut butter is disgusting! I tried putting it in my
dogs Kong toy that she loves to much and she could even tell the
different and looked up at me like "momma, what the hell did you just
put in my toy?!" Those words of course didn't come out of her mouth
but I knew exactly what she was thinking…the same thoughts that were
running through my head when I put it on my waffle in the morning.
Sick. So, although the emotional appeals on a specific product being
advertized may make you want to go out and purchase it, it may not end
up being something you love. We are persuaded all the time and the
media allows us to not make our own decisions but simply base our
decisions off the advertisement and that advertisement alone.


Ethics and Emotional Appeals. The role of and imitations of emotional
appeals in persuasion. Official Super Bowl Commercial 2009.

Douglas Walton, The Place of Emotion in Argument (Penn State, 1992).

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