Advertisements must be meaningful and powerful enough to impose a lasting impression on the audience. Though the methods that advertisers use are often subtle, they are still present. The addition of a simple phrase is enough to change the whole message and sometimes even a person’s perception of the advertisement. In magazine ads, the advertiser is essentially limited to certain means of communicating his or her beliefs. However, this limitation forces them to perfect the few images and phrases that are allowed. Furthermore, a magazine ad must instantly capture the customer’s attention or else it has failed and the page will be turned. A particular magazine ad that I chose to focus on was Kodak’s Motion Picture Film. The ad created a unique relationship between the film and the human eye and attempted to persuade the audience of this film’s superiority to other alternatives through the use of pathos, logos, and appeal to the human appreciation of beauty.
The advertisement’s overall message is that by using this certain type of film, Kodak Motion Picture Film, will truly bring out the best in a movie or recording. The main line, „Feel it. Or forget it. Film. The difference.“ emphasizes that with the film, the audience will truly „feel“ the movie. „Feel it or forget it“ implies that it is almost not worth watching if you cannot feel or experience the moment. Another interpretation could mean that if you cannot capture the moment so that you can relive it with the crisp clarity of this film, then you will forget it. Either way, it still presents the film in a positive and appealing light. The mention of „Film.“ diverts the audience’s attention to the product to help reinforce the connection between an amazing movie experience and this particular film product. Oftentimes, advertisements simply focus too much on capturing the audience’s attention but completely fail to divert the attention back to their product. However, this is different. By using the simple „Film“ followed by a period and „The Difference,“ the advertisers are essentially shifting the focus of the ad onto the actual product. The use of logos tends to make the audience form a strong logical relationship between the quality of the movie and the film.
In addition to logical appeal, the ad also compares the Kodak brand film to other film products in subtle ways. By stating „It’s the difference 10 times more resolution makes in portraying nuance and detail.“ the Kodak is essentially saying that its product is much better than other film products. The quality of those products just cannot compare to something that is obviously „10 times“ better. The emphasis and usage of these key words makes the message so much more powerful. However, the drawback to this is that it causes the customer to wonder what this product is being compared to. After all, many customers understand that advertisers often compare their product to much lower quality ones simply so that they can claim that their product is so much better. But even with this minor flaw, the ad is still powerful and effective in conveying its message.
Besides utilizing comparison to establish the products superiority, the ad also attempts to expose a human’s appreciation of beauty. By mentioning how it can portray „nuance and detail,“ the ad is essentially referring to the background image of the beautiful woman captured in the perfect light and zoomed in to focus on her smooth, glowing skin. This attention to detail helps make the image and words go hand in hand, complementing each other in the most effective way. The appeal to a human’s love of beauty is one of the most important tactics in this advertisement. The complexity of the human mind is almost impossible to completely understand, but all humans seem to have an innate appreciation of beauty that surrounds us. The Kodak advertisers exposed this human weakness and placed a great deal of effort to invoke the thought of beauty through words and imagery. The beauty of the woman in the background completely strangles the audience’s attention and creates a connection between beauty and this product. Essentially, this is a unique use of pathos. The combination of the perfect words and beautiful visual aids causes the audience to feel „good“ and „content“.
While associating the film with beauty is one approach, the Kodak advertisers also added another more subtle comparison. The addition of the lines, „Only film sees the way you do“ and „And it’s the way film’s organic structure sees like the human eye-not like a machine,“ are actually a very clever comparison of the composition of the film being organic and the composition of the human eye. By creating this relationship and similarity, it strengthens their claim that this film is quite similar and is able to capture a scene just like the human eye. This is a unique rhetorical strategy because in a way, it establishes ethos by creating a certain feeling of trust and assurance since this film is organic like us. Also, it incorporates logos because it makes it more logically appealing since this film is almost alive. It is different and possibly much more enhanced than other alternatives.
Also, the last major part of the ad states, „So there’s nothing between you and your audience.“ The basic idea here is that your audience is going to see the exact same brilliance in a scene as you did when filming. However, the way this is presented makes it extremely appealing because a filmmaker’s desire is to convey what he or she sees. By understanding the audience’s background, likes, and dislikes, the advertiser is able to expose these character qualities. In a way, this ad is also degrading other film products, claiming that they simply do not have the same quality as the KODAK Motion Picture Film.
Though Kodak used a fairly unique approach in this ad, they still utilized basic rhetorical devices such as pathos and logos. But they took the ad to the next level by appealing to humans‘ innate appreciation of beauty. The incorporation of numerous rhetorical strategies, often tangled up with one another, helped establish the lasting impression that this film, because it so similar to the human eye, is the best film product available. It convinces the audience that the film is unique and promotes it through a superior light. By doing so, the advertisers truly push the product out into the open and gives the audience an opportunity to love it or hate it.