I chose last week to teach my students about the techniques advertisers use to sell us stuff. I did that on purpose, knowing that the Super Bowl was this past weekend. My students were given the assignment to watch a t.v. show (any show) and analyze six commercials. They could watch the Super Bowl if they chose.
Here were some of the techniques I told my students to look for:
pathos - an appeal to emotion
ethos - endorsement by a celebrity or an expert
snob appeal - making the use of a product look like something wealthy people would do
plain folks - making the product appeal to ordinary people
and there was another tactic on the list ... patriotism.
My students and I agreed that one rarely sees patriotism in ads anymore, since so many products are made abroad. But just look at the Chrysler commercial below. I can absolutely vouch for the locations. It shows the building I worked in when I lived in that town. And look at how many other buttons it pushes. Whoever made this ought to be putting his or her talents into art films instead of car ads.
I feel moved to buy a new car.