There is no doubt that the human population is influenced by advertisements. From newspapers and magazines to television and the radio they play a role in our everyday lives. Whether you realize it or not, you have probably made a decision based on an advertisement. With a combination of kairos, ethos, logos, and pathos the creators of advertisements can send a powerful and effective message. The Surfrider’s Rise Above Program had an advertisement, “What Goes in the Ocean Goes in You,” created by Pollinate Agency in Portland in 2012. It made all of its viewers question how much pollution is affecting them, especially indirectly through their food.
Kairos “refers to the elements of a speech that acknowledge and draw support from the particular setting, time, and place that a speech occurs” (Purdue University 2017.) This advertisement was a good use of kairos because they used timeliness to educate people on an issue, pollution, that they were already worried about. The Surfrider Foundation wanted to make people more aware of how oceanic pollution is affecting them. Plastic that is dumped into oceans is not biodegradable, but instead photodegradable. This means that the plastic is broken down into smaller pieces that fish and other ocean animals mistaken for food. In 2012, it was estimated that seven million people died from air pollution alone (Johnson and Andrews 2014.) This statistic made people aware of how severe the issue of air pollution is, but not any other types, which is why it was a good time for this advertisement to come out. While the scare of air pollution was fresh in people’s minds Surfriders could also begin to educate people on oceanic pollution.
Ethos “refers to an author’s perspective” (Purdue University 2017.) This advertisement is an example of ethos because it sets the tone for the viewer. At a first glance, colors can make or break a visual. Surfriders advertisement catches the viewer’s eye and then keeps them interested because they can look at the perspective in terms of their own personal lifestyles.The white background in this particular visual sends out a message of universality. Not having a specific background allows any reader to relate, which is necessary because pollution is an issue all around the world. If there was a background of China, for example, then people in every other country would automatically assume that this issue didn’t apply directly to them, which is not true. Therefore, keeping a simple white background set the tone for the rest of the information in the advertisement.
Logos “refers to the structure and content of the text itself” (Purdue University 2017.) Adding the text “recent studies estimate that fish off the west coast ingest over 12,000 tons of plastic a year” to this advertisement gives the viewer a sense of logic. This is a good use of logos because many people start to believe something once statistics are involved. By putting the number 12,000 into their heads they can begin to process how many tons of plastic that actually is. Giving the viewer an image paired with concrete data structures the advertisement in a way that they will remember and truly comprehend.
Pathos is referred to as “how well an author appeals to an audience’s emotions” (Purdue University 2017.) The image in the advertisement clearly shows the sushi wrapped in plastic bags. Having such a bold image immediately causes the viewer to feel some type of emotion. Some may feel sick, some may feel confused, and others may feel angry. Any of these emotions evoke some type of thought process, which is what Surfrider is trying to do. By combining the plastic wrapped sushi and the statistic most people will start to wonder if they should be more aware of the issues at hand. If the view begins to question their morals, then the use of pathos has succeeded.
We live in an environment that is deeply saturated by advertisements, both positive and negative. Surfriders impactful advertising is no exception to this statement. Between kairos, ethos, logos, and pathos it was able to make people think about how pollution is affecting them indirectly through food. This proves that when an advertisement uses these devices productively it can be thought provoking and eye catching to all of its viewers.
Hickman, Bill. “New Rise Above Plastics Print PSA’s from Pollinate.” Surfrider Foundation, 24 Jan. 2012, http://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/new-rise-above-plastics-print-psas-from-pollinate.
“The World’s Worst Pollution Problems: Assessing Health Risks at Hazardous Waste Sites.”The World’s Worst Pollution Problems: Assessing Health Risks at Hazardous Waste Sites, 2012. Blacksmith Institute, http://www.worstpolluted.org/files/FileUpload/files/2012%20 Worst Polluted.pdf.
Johnson, Andrew Jacobs And Ian. “Pollution Killed 7 Million People Worldwide in 2012, Report Finds.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 25 Mar. 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/26/world/pollution-killed-7-million-people-worldwide-in-2012-report-finds.html.
“Aristotle’s Rhetorical Situation.” Purdue Online Writing Center, 12 Oct. 2017, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/625/03/.