Good Essay About Anti-Drunk Driving AD: The Rhetoric
The rhetoric being anti-drunk driving ads is often transparent. Alcohol companies create and ad showing an individual who does not drive, but instead spends all night partying, appealing to the sensibility that no you do not have to die on the road, but instead can die from cirrhosis of the liver. Few ads, however, appeal to the legitimate idea that drunk driving is wrong, or that the value of a human life is more important than drinking. It always appears easier to make it seem that partying all night is important than being responsible . There has been a shift in anti-drunk driving ads lately, however, and they have begun to change their rhetoric. Though it is equally transparent as before, now playing on a human’s emotional sensibilities instead of their need to be liked and wanted by peers, the ads now appear to convey an understanding that lives are more important than partying. What is more, the ads suggest an understanding that more than the life of a driver would be impacted by a drunk-driving death, making the rhetoric more powerful.
An ad run by Budweiser’s anti-drunk driving campaign, titled, “Friends Are Waiting,” shows a young adult man and a golden retriever puppy. The viewer gets the chance to see the man and puppy bond as the puppy grows into a dog. Throughout the sequence, Budweiser paraphernalia is seen only four times, which is unprecedented . Near the end of the commercial, the man leaves the dog at home, going out with friends for a night on the town. His faithful dog waitsand waitsuntil words flash on the screen saying, “For some, the waiting never ended. But we can change that.” Immediately the ad appeals to the viewer’s sense of pathos, according to Nurit Guttman’s, “Communication, Public Discourse, and Road Safety Campaigns: Persuading People to Be Safer,” as the viewer immediately feels an overwhelming sense of sadness over the dog losing an owner for whom he deeply loved . We assume the man has been killed in a foolish drunk driving accident and the dog will be left to die, waiting pitifully by the door, unable to understand what has happened to his friend. It is too much to bear.
In the next frame, the door opens and the man walks in. The viewer is simply overjoyed, almost as much as the dog, that the man is back and the dog does not have to be alone. He tells the dog he is sorry, that he drank too much, and he made the responsible decision to stay at a friend’s house. We are so relieved to know the dog will not spend the rest of his life miserable and alone. His responsible decision coupled with the fact that he took his animal into consideration and him happy evokes our own happiness, as well as our respect. This appeals to our sense of ethos, which makes us believe that this man’s actions were just and correct . It is easier to believe those whom we respect. More importantly, it is easier to follow the lead of those we respect. The ad expertly plays on our emotions, creating a situation wherein we fall in love with a kind and caring dog. Fearing for his emotions, we are also emotionally involved. When we learn the man is responsible and caring toward the dog, he becomes the leader of the audience. He made the decision to stay at a friend’s house after drinking too much in order to make it home safely to his friend, making it easier for us to follow his lead.
The absence of gratuitous partying, and the overwhelming presence of love and friendship appeals to our sense of logos. Logos uses logic to help us make informed decisions and it appears logical to remain safe in order to make it home to friends and family, rather than to stay at parties in order to wake up with a headache . As mentioned, many ads use the idea of staying at a fun party in lieu of driving home as bait to stop drunk driving. Essentially, if you are having too much fun where you are, why leave? This logic is flawed though because it does not acknowledge that many of these people may be partying so vigorously because they are trying to escape the fact they have nothing waiting for them at home. Contrarily, “Friends Are Waiting” addresses that staying safe is most important because somebody is waiting at home . While it is all right to go out, have fun, and even get drunk, staying at a party because you are having too much fun to leave every weekend seems too ostentatious. However, the argument that somebody special for whom you love deeply is waiting at home is far more logical. We must stay safe for ourselves, but also for those who are waiting for us. More importantly, we must stay safe for those who depend on us, and those who may not understand where we have gone if something happens to us. This argument is far more logical, and more attractive to the logos sensibilities than staying at parties because they are too fun to leave.
In sum, it appears anti-drunk driving ads are trying a new, possibly more effective form of rhetoric. Instead of forcing the public to believe parties are too fun to leave, they are convincing the public loved ones are too precious to abandon. While the rhetoric is still transparent (not everybody has loved ones, and emotions are easily manipulated), it is possible this form will be more effective. Bonding with an animal, or even an ad showing bonding between humans is more powerful because it allows us to use ethos, logos, and pathos, rather than just logos.
Budweiser. "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eubWYPhcEEo." 14 September 2014. “Friends Are Waiting”. Video. 3 March 2015.
Guttman, Nurit. Communication, Public Discourse, and Road Safety Campaigns: Persuading People to Be Safer. London: Routledge, 2014. Book.