The advertisement shown above can be found here: https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-new-england-journal-of-medicine-sinks-a-bit-lower/
Economists argue that competition within a discipline aids in the quality of the product. Rhetorical analysts could, on the other hand, argue that such competition aids not in the quality of the product itself, but in the quality of the product’s advertisement which is used to sell it. This leads to some extensive rhetorical devices being used in advertisements in order to subconsciously persuade the viewer of the ad in favor of the product.
Such is the advertisement displayed above. Bayer, the famous pharmaceutical company clearly created this advertisement in order to promote Colon Health, a drug that they claim improves “overall digestive health”.
Even though the purpose is clear, I found it very interesting how the author uses scientific reasoning, thus logos, to bring across the purpose to the audience. Furthermore, the author itself shapes the advertisement and the ways in which it delivers its message to the audience. However, what I found most interesting of all was how the audience shapes the purpose of this advertisement.
Yes, the author and the audience both shape the underlying purpose of this rhetorical text. You might ask yourselves, what makes a rhetorical text rhetorical? You guessed it, the rhetorical devices used by the author to persuade the audience and to bring across the purpose of the text! These can be found throughout the whole of the advertisement above, and I will go into detail in explaining the four major ones I think to be the most influencing in the ad.
Firstly, as seen in the zoomed in image of the advertisement above, the author, Bayer, uses ethos to ensure that the audience trusts the ad and what it is promoting. Because Bayer is such a large pharmaceutical corporation, it has authority over its audience when it comes to making statements about science, since the audience is more likely to trust such a large and famous corporation regarding a scientific claim.
Not only does the logo of Bayer stand out, but also the word “recommend”, which is in a yellow color and stands out from the white text. This seems as if the Phillips Colon Health made by Bayer is recommended to be used; the word “recommend” next to Bayer’s logo and its authority ensures that the viewer trusts Bayer, thus what the ad is promoting.
This brings us to the audience of the text.
As seen above, “and it’s more affordable for your patients” clearly indicates that the advertisement is meant for physicians, not directly for patients. Not only does this shape the purpose of the ad, which is to inform the physicians that Bayer’s products work and are superior to others, but it also shapes what is displayed on the advertisement itself. Consider the image below.
Lactobacillus gasseri, bifidobacterium bifidum and bifidobacterium longum are terms clearly not meant to be understood by consumers of this drug, yet by their physicians, which we have established to be the true audience of this text. Although some might argue that these terms were used by Bayer to impress patients, I would argue otherwise. I believe they are used to make the physicians viewing this ad believe in the product they are being advertised because they know these terms and their benefits to patients.
Furthermore, the fact that all three of these highly scientific terms are directly followed by either “helps” or “supports” also further suggests that Bayer wants to promote this product on the basis of being beneficial to the ones who consume it.
The advertisement advertises that the product has 3 clinically tested strains in only 1 probiotic. To support this claim, the ad features the image below.
There are clearly three distinctly shaped objects that could be called the “strains” as mentioned in the title of the ad. Not only are they bright green, but they are also illuminated and surrounded by light coming from the box of the product. This gives off the impression to the audience that these three strains are quite special and that they all fit inside of the box, which is exactly what they advertise, that all three fit inside one pill. The bright green and the light around these objects draw the readers’ attention and makes them feel as if this product is something special, because it is illuminated by these beautiful strands of light. That is, at least, what the ad did to me.
Hence, its purpose is shaped through the stylistic features by the author as well as the audience of the text.