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The Rhetoric of Cover Girl Advertisements

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jayleene
Words 698
Pages 3
Advertising seeks to obtain the greatest number of customers by spending the least amount of money. Therefore, advertisers must carefully consider their target audience and employ several rhetorical principles to convince their audience to buy a specific product. In January of 2009, Cover Girl released a new ad campaign featuring Ellen DeGeneres promoting a new anti-aging product. In the advertisements featuring Ellen, the advertisers at Cover Girl uses ethos, logos, and pathos in an attempt to convince women to buy their products. By identifying the ways in which Cover Girl’s new advertisements appeal to their audience, students of rhetoric can gain a more complete understanding of how advertisers employ rhetorical principles as tools of persuasion in order to motivate their audience to buy new products.
Choosing Ellen DeGeneres as the new spokesperson for Cover Girl most overtly appeals to authority. Many women trust Ellen both because she maintains a level of respect both personally and professionally. On a personal level, Ellen presents herself as an average woman who happens to be funny. Cover Girl hopes that women will identify with Ellen because of her positive and prominent personal reputation. Furthermore, Ellen hosts a talk show that, among other things, establishes her as an honest and reliable source of information. Several American women watch Ellen’s talk show daily and trust her as an authoritative and reliable source of helpful information. For example, Ellen recently included a segment giving advice to her audience about how to save money on Valentine’s Day. Several women rely on Ellen for important consumer information. Therefore, when women see Ellen featured in a Cover Girl advertisement endorsing Cover Girl products, they trust the product to do what Cover Girl claims that it will do. Because women trust Ellen’s advice and Cover Girl features Ellen in their advertisements, Cover Girl will sell more cosmetics. The new Cover Girl advertisments establish logos by explaining where other brands of anti-aging products fail to produce results and how Cover Girl’s new anti-aging product works. In the television advertisements, Ellen states, “A department store brand can glob up in lines and wrinkles and actually make you look older. Simply Agless stays suspended over lines and makes you look amazing.” By offering an explanation of how other brands fail and how this cutting-edge product from Cover Girl actually works, Ellen DeGeneres appeals to the audience’s sense of reason. Ellen conveys to members of the audience that there is a problem with department store cosmetics and that Cover Girl has developed a new product that solves this problem. She then offers a seemingly reasonable explanation as to how Cover Girl’s new product works. Whether or not Ellen accurately describes the logic behind Cover Girl’s product, she still appeals to the audience’s sense of reason by attempting to explain the problem as well as the “science” driving the solution.
Cover Girl’s new advertisements also attempts to establish pathos, or an emotional response on the part of the audience. Humor is the primary emotional response that the advertisements seek to elicit. The television commercials attempt to do this by including comical “outtakes.” For instance, at one point, Ellen quickly moves her head from side to side in order to look at both of the cameras on the set and says “Which camera? Because there are two.” She also humorously caricatures models by making ungraceful attempts to strike model-like poses. By infusing their commercials with comedy, Cover Girl attempts to associate its new anti-aging product with positive feelings (specifically, humor) so that members of the audience will buy the product later.
Advertisers constantly use rhetorical concepts to appeal to potential customers. Cover Girl’s newest advertising campaign appeals to its audience on all three levels. By featuring Ellen DeGeneres, the advertisements appeal to the audience’s sense of authority. Through including an explanation of how their product works, Cover Girl hopes to appeal to the audience’s sense of reason. Finally, through extensively using comedy, the advertisers at Cover Girl attempt to establish pathos. Through analyzing and understanding how advertisers use rhetorical principles, students of rhetoric gain a deeper understanding of how advertisers use rhetorical principles to persuade consumers every day.

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