Possible Topics for FP1

January 24, 2015

The first formal paper for Composition and Communication this semester seems like it is going to be a fun one to write. Here are a few possible topics I think might be enlightening/interesting to write about (and also compare and contrast):

  • How are the two latest commercials for the beauty companies Dove and Aussie different but similar? Also, how do the styles/strategies of each ad affect their respective message?
    • Aussie commercial: Man dressed as a women, pretty much making fun of and showing how stupid it is to take care of/obsess over hair so much. Also pretty much makes fun of its own product because if hair isn’t and shouldn’t be important, why should we care what products we use? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-igSlC7oD4)
    • Dove commercial: Doesn’t discuss product really, but features heartwarming and emotional appeal that shows young girls who don’t like their curly hair at first, but are sung a song from friends/family with curly hair that essentially tells them to “love their hair and themselves” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou7CyPtkpng)
  • How are the emotional appeals in the McDonald’s “Signs” commercial and the Dove “Love Your Curls” commercial similar/different? Do these more emotional appeals coincide with both companies trying to rebrand (McDonald’s re-inventing their menu, Dove taking on hair care products, etc.)?
  • Many commercials nowadays try to get audiences wrapped up in a story or situation that just so happens to involve their product as well. How is this interpreted similarly (and differently) in commercials like Sonic’s “Buy Your Best Friend a Corn Dog Day” and Taco Bell’s “Take the Money and Run”?

One thing that I noticed right away after reading both Bryson and Fletcher’s articles is that they are both structured similarly. For example, both articles don’t seem to explicitly state their main point/thesis until the ending of the article. They both also use various examples that help demonstrate their central argument throughout the essay, but Bryson seems to employ the use of many more than Fletcher does. Another similarity that seemed to stand out to me was that both authors seemed to tell their point of view about advertisements from a rather biased (rather than objective) point of view. For example, Fletcher argued throughout his essay that advertisements were good; Bryson, on the other hand, argued that advertisements were pretty bad and did not always tell the whole truth. On the same token, both authors seemed to entertain the idea that although not everyone agrees about whether advertisement is good or bad for public society, advertisements are usually successful because so many people buy in to them (despite their positive/negative consequences).



#4 on page 70:

The ad from the internet that I chose to investigate was found on the sidebar on CNN’s homepage. Since the link to the ad may change depending on what your history/ad preferences are, I have attached an image of the ad so that all readers can get a better idea.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.47.31 PM

I feel like this ad is deliberately ambiguous, and uses the “weasel” word “better” in order to be more appealing to potential job seekers. Although Howe Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling have described themselves as having better benefits and better pay, they do not specify who they are better than. Having better pay and benefits than a CEO of a major company would be something great, sure, but what if this ad is simply saying that they have better pay by a fraction of a dollar of better benefits than a company who offers none? The word “better” seems to be a “weasel word” that allows companies like Howe the opportunity to mislead their potential customers, or in this case, employees.


#4 on page 119: 

I feel that for the most part, advertising is not a positive thing. Although it may show us products that we love or want, it also tends to show us these products in a way that subconsciously demeans women, minorities, etc. Our culture is too entrenched in advertisements and I wish that was something that would/could change. I am glad that more companies are being pressured to be more honest and just in their ads, but I feel like we still have a long way to go. Until ads are more fair and less objectifying, I believe they do more harm than they do good.

As a public speaker, Jean Kilbourne is extremely talented. She informs her audience, she effectively attempts to persuade them, and also entertains them with funny anecdotes and ads along the way. Because she does all of this and then some, Kilbourne fulfills the 3 general purposes for public speaking. She also fits almost all of the competencies believed to make a speech great. For example, Kilbourne recognizes that her audience (at least at the time of the recording) was a college audience, and her speech seems that to fit her audience well. She is also very convincing at what she says, employs an adept arrangement of visual aids, and uses clear organization in her speech. The only competency that I wasn’t sure that she accomplished was well-supported ideas. Although many of her claims had evidence for support, some of her claims also seemed to have fallacies within them. For example, Kilbourne points out that because women’s bodies are “de-humanized” and are taught to be perceived as items, violence against women seems to be the “logical result”. In my opinion, this an example of a slippery slope. Despite a few fallacies, however, I really enjoyed Kilbourne’s speech and thought it was effective.

Two things that I observed about today’s impromptu speeches were that, for the most part, many people held good eye contact with their audience. This allowed me to feel more connected as a listener to what they were saying. I also observed that many people tried to incorporate humor into what they were saying, which allowed me to be more attentive and also made the speeches more memorable for me.