Monday, December 2, 2013

Dirty (Laundry) Tactics: Plain Style in Advertising “Blogs”

“Tough but True Laundry Tactics” is a plain style article that remains transparent despite its attempts to hide its motives. The author of this article seems to know a lot about doing laundry in other countries, use many concrete examples of how people in other countries or situations do (or do not) clean their clothes. Before reading the article, I thought it was about how to remove certain types of stains or how to combine loads. The article actually informs the readers about how people in other countries/circumstances do (or don’t do) laundry and then proceeds to advertise their product. The blog style of the article seems to establish authority on the topic of laundry and spike interest in Tide products as a blog style advertisement.
The article establishes authority on the topic in several ways. With a high readability score and an average grade level of 9, this piece is easy to read even though it delivers some interesting information on laundry practices in other countries. Evident in this piece is the lower levels of formality. The article is written in 2nd person, and the author uses several contractions. Talking about how astronauts and laundry, the author says, “Hopefully, they don’t make their moms do the washing!” ( There is a cliché right away in the first paragraph when the author writes, “If you’re among the fortunate few who can simply toss a load into a washer, count yourself lucky” ( The use of parallelism as a rhetorical device is found in the introduction as an attention grabber- “How do astronauts keep their clothing clean in space? Where do hikers on the Appalachian Trail wash their sweaty gear? How about sailors? ” ( Parallelism is used in the article to help strengthen the connection the author makes between astronauts and college freshmen when she says, “They take the same approach as many college freshmen: They wear their clothing as long as they can bear it, then pack up their dirty laundry and bring it home with them” ( These elements combine to make the article engaging and hold the reader’s interest to the end where it offers a shameless plug for the use of Tide products.
As an informational article about laundry, the writer spikes interest in Tide products by presenting the website as a blog and presenting interesting information about laundry in other countries. The page where the article is published looks like it is a blog but when you look at the URL, you notice it is actual a Tide webpage. They want people to purchase their product, buy Tide to Go Stain Erasers or Tide Travel Sink Packets-the product names are hyperlinks to a Tide website (one that no longer looks like a blog) where you can purchase the tide to go erasers. Tide is sneaky about the fact that the page is controlled by their company. The site itself is titled Fabric Care Solutions. Other than the URL, there are no hints until the very bottom of the page where their logo is displayed.
The article is aimed at people accustom to doing their laundry in a washing machine who will be traveling to other countries such as Africa and India as are mentioned in the article. It is also aimed at people who are planning a backpacking excursion in another country or planning on staying in hostels rather than at expensive hotels. The article offers an alternative to doing laundry the traditionally American way when it isn’t possible by using Tide products because the end goal is for the reader to purchase Tide products. The concluding statement of the article reads “if you’ll be traveling to a locale where you suspect that washing machines are in short supply, do yourself a favor: Pack Tide® to Go Stain Erasers. That way you can tackle any noticeable spills and smudges—and mask the fact that you’re wearing not-so-fresh clothes.”
Some may say that Tide is not intending people to find this site and by interested in purchasing Tide products just from reading it. This cannot be true, however, as the title itself is misleading. “Tough but True Laundry Tactics” can be assumed to be an article about different ways to handle a tough clothing job such as one with stains. The article is actually about how people in other countries do their laundry. The article also lures in the unsuspecting person looking for tricks to doing laundry with the ambiguous title. Tide could claim that the article was formatted as a blog to reach a wider audience and to simply educate people on how others in other countries do laundry, with the end goal being education and a side bonus if someone happened to be traveling in the near future, followed the hyperlink, and bought their product. This could be true except from a business perspective, Tide is a company out to make money, not to help people out of the goodness of their hearts and hiring someone to manage and write articles for a blog website under their name costs money. Unless the project had potential to make Tide a lot of money, they would not waste their resources on it.
Despite the hidden aspect of Tide running the site, the use of plain language helps the goal of the article become transparent by the end of the article. The article initially established credibility by acting like a blog written by a regular person without an agenda just looking to share some easy tips on laundry and promoting Tide. After discovering that the site was run by Tide and the reader realizes the article is a persuasive advertisement disguised as a blog, the reader may feel tricked and not want to buy Tide products. On the other hand, the reader may not care that a blog format was used because these days everyone has and reads blogs. Despite being written in plain language, the article was still able to hide the motive inside itself. This suggests that similar texts, though believed to be plain and direct, still can have hidden meanings and hidden agendas. It may seem that the goal is for the reader to think they want to purchase these Tide products and for them to think they came about that conclusion on their own, uninfluenced by an advertisement but rather guided by the blog article into making their own decisions. This brings up a question about the advertising methods being implemented today. How effective are blog style articles such as these? Are they effective because they lead the consumer to their own conclusion? The idea is similar to the old adage “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”.  

Works Cited
“Tough but True Laundry Tactics”. Tide.  Proctor&Gamble, 2013. Web. 16 October 2013. <>

Creative Style and Pathos in “The Notebook”

The movie The Notebook, released in 2004 is based on The Notebook written by Nicholas Sparks. The use of pathos is what draws the audience members to the characters and helps them feel empathetic towards the characters and is used in every film is some way. The screenwriter uses elements of the creative style to establish pathos that both draws audience members in and to helps create a connection to the characters.
The production company needs to make back the money spent making the movie so the movie needs to be of interest to a vast number of people so the pathos of the piece should be appealing and interesting to the majority of potential movie goers. Screenwriter Jeremy Leven’s contribution to the movie version of The Notebook was to stay true to the elements of love and faith as they are illustrated in Sparks’ novel. “[New Line] didn't approach Leven as an unknown quantity. “My novels,” says Leven (and “a lot of my screenplays,” he's quick to add), “basically deal with love and faith, and religion.” So he assumes, when asked by a studio to write for them, that “love and faith is what the studio is after, not something else” (HollywoodJesus). The screenwriter of the film is as much responsible for the construction of pathos as the director. Where the director creates pathos on the screen the, screenwriter creates pathos on the page. Inspired by real people and tweaked by the screenwriter to be more universal, the Notebook was intended to portray a “a rare and beautiful relationship, one that withstood the test of time and circumstance” (Sparks).
The first lines of the movie, a voice-over of Noah narrating, provide a little exposition to set the stage as the movie goer enters into in the story. “[The first scene of a movie] throws us into its world, introduces us it to its characters and establishes its tone” (Mecca). An emotional connection is created with the narrator, Noah, in The Notebook. It draws the viewer into the storyline of the movie. The movie is not about anyone particularly special, just an everyday person that could be anyone in the audience. The initial repetition of the word ‘common’ is important because the use of a diacope helps indicate that the fact that the characters are common is important. The use of parallelism “common man”, “common thoughts”, “common life” serves to enhance the commonality of the narrator as perceived by the viewer (The Notebook).
The idea that this story is about a common person is important to frame a connection to the audience, the majority of who consider themselves common as well. The movie follows this “common” character through his journey to be with the woman he loves and then his mission to help the woman in the nursing home remember that she is the woman in the story he is reading to her which he believes will bring her out of a state of dementia and bring her back to him, even for a few moments. The commonality lets the audience members who do not have experience with dementia connect more fully to the characters and lets the audience members who do have experience with dementia relate at a deeper level of understanding and empathy. The author, Nicholas Sparks speaks to the success of The Notebook saying, “the story touched people in a deeply personal way. It seems that nearly everyone I spoke with about the novel knew a “Noah and Allie” in their own life” (Sparks).
The simple poetic lines also serve to capture complexity of experiences. Noah says, “I've succeeded as gloriously as anyone who ever lived. I've loved another with all my heart and soul, and for me that has always been enough” (The Notebook). The introduction shows how the characters are just common, everyday people, while at the same time it shows how wonderfully simplistic it can sound with how complex it truly is. As Noah says, he has “succeeded as gloriously as anyone who ever lived” (The Notebook). This simile is both profound and reductive at once. A “common” man has “succeeded as gloriously as anyone who ever lived”, a task not every “common” person can so easily declare. The commonality of the story prevents the alienation of audience members who may not have first-hand experience with dementia and keep them emotionally invested to the characters and the plot development.
Not only do the opening lines speak to anyone who has “no monuments dedicated” to them, it also calls to those who have loved with all they had, “heart and soul”, and draws them into the story of someone who could just as easily have been them (The Notebook). The lines serve to both capture the complexity of everyday life and to build a connection to Noah, the narrator and the other characters in the movie. The use of pathos is important in the establishment of a connection between the characters and the audience members. The creative style helps make the piece poetic and flow in a romantic way that adds to the emotional and romantic elements of the movie.
Elements of the creative style to establish pathos in The Notebook that draws audience members in and helps create a connection to the characters. This is done in different ways in every movie. Those producing movies want the audience members to care about the characters and what happens to them. They help to establish this emotional connection from the start with pathos. This investment in the characters is used to create a dynamic and (hopefully) unforgettable experience for the audience members.

Works Cited
“Film Review: The Notebook”. HollywoodJesus. 25 June 2004. Web.
Mecca, Dan. “The 25 Most Memorable Opening Scenes in Film”. TheFilmStage. 3 Sept. 2010. Web.
Sparks, Nicholas. “Inspiration for The Notebook”. Nicholas Sparks: Stories. Willow Holdings, Inc. Web.
The Notebook. Dir. Nick Cassavetes, New Line Cinema. 2004. Film.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Creative Company with a Creative Style

             For my creative style critique, I have chosen to look at a review of the Apple iPhone 5s. The review can be read in full at The title of the article is “iPhone 5s Reviews Point Out The Good, The Bad – But Mostly The Good”. What’s interesting to look at in this review are the many rhetorical devices implemented throughout the article put in place to subconsciously sway the reader into siding with the iPhone. Even in the title the reader is being set up towards a certain preference or intended reading. While the “bad” aspects of the phone seem like they may be included, in reality they are just pushed aside to make way for the good. By acting like there are two sides to the story, the reader is influenced to believe that they are making the decision that the iPhone is superior on their own. Many examples of subtle influences are prevalent throughout the article, and it is interesting to examine the ulterior motives the company has other than just explaining a couple of features.
            The iPhone itself is a creative text. It is designed in certain ways so that it can influence consumer interest without making changes to its fundamentals. Most new iPhones don’t stray far from the overall functionality or design of their predecessors. Apple has created a product that is dependent on cutting edge technology, as well as aesthetic appeals, and over time consumers have begun to trust the brand due to the proven reliability of the products. So when Apple announces a new product such as the iPhone 5s and focuses on a couple of minor new features such as gold being a color option, and a fingerprint scanner lock button, the consumer desire to have that new product is immediately triggered due to the fact that a reliable piece of technology just got a little bit better. But is the new phone actually better than its predecessor? Most practical people would say that a couple minor features are not worth the hundreds of dollars it costs for a new phone. However, in contemporary society where aesthetics are half of the battle so to speak, it can be argued that many iPhone users will desire the new phone.
            Gold being a new color option is a great example of how aesthetics can win over an audience. For the entire life of the iPhone, there has never been any other option beside white or black. In fact, in the earlier models of the iPhone, black was the only option one could choose. By simply introducing a new color, many people began to get excited. There is another reason however as to why adding gold as a new color increased desire.
Power is a very desirable trait for some people. In fact, I think that Apple would say that their products appeal to people of a certain status. Keeping that idea in mind, I believe that Apple incorporated gold as a new color in order to rhetorically persuade their audience to see the phone as a power symbol. This is an interesting idea to think about due to the fact that such a miniscule feature such as a new color can influence an audience just because of the status that the product gives off. Apple takes advantage of society’s desire to have the “coolest” technology available, and in return is able to deploy marketing strategies that do not focus on the functionality of the phone. This sort of marketing and advertisement is extremely creative, and deviates far from the norm so to speak when we look at other companies who advertise their products based on how they function and what they can do, not what they look like.
By implementing the creative style into advertising for the iPhone 5s, Apple is able to rhetorically persuade their audience and deliver a product with an exceedingly high approval and desire rate before it is even released. Taking full advantage of what the creative style has to offer and focusing on what the people will be surprised and excited by, Apple is able to turn a slightly newer version of an outdated product into something that is completely rejuvenated and hyped, and I think that is pretty amazing.
M. Walters