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In this particular ad launched by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, a young child is placed to the left of the ad.
The little boy is shown staring directly into the eyes of the audience establishing an immediate connection with the audience. Pursed between his lips is a smoldering cigar, and resting directly in front of him is an open book. The second thing to grasp the viewer’s attention is the text positioned to the left of the ad. These words state, “You wouldn’t let your child smoke” followed by the words, “ Like smoking, eating bacon, sausage, and other processed meats is linked to cancer.” This persuasive ad is cloaked with strong emotional appeal designed to attack the sentiments of young parents and mothers; however, this ad lacks sufficient evidence and is riddled with fallacy.
The organization, PETA, fashions this ad to create an argument to “Go Vegan!”. This ad uses a very graphic photo of a child, no more than three years of age, smoking a cigar to aid their argument by comparing the notorious act of smoking to the everyday action of eating processed meat.
PETA created this ad to persuade viewers to “Go Vegan!” by fabricating an emotional appeal to influence the young parents and mothers of society in order to further their agenda. The use of the adorable young boy creates a need to nurture and a need to feel safe on behalf of many new parents and mothers. The first thing that all viewer’s notice is that young child smoking the cigar.
Automatically, most people think that this is an anti-smoking ad which acts as a red herring to the creator’s ulterior motive. PETA is a corporation that many people have very strong emotions toward. Whether good or bad, PETA is aware of this, so the use of this red herring gets their message across before the audience can comprehend who the ad is created by. This ad may be successful when it comes to captivating the viewer’s attention; however, PETA’s ad has a vast shortage of sufficient evidence. This ad fails to give proof or statistics to justify their claim. By not giving a link or reference to necessary facts and support, the viewer can only use the validity of the company that produced the ad. The use of the young boy and the text that states, “Like smoking, eating bacon, sausage, and other processes meats is linked to cancer,” creates the illusion that smoking and the consumption of meat breeds cancer at equal proportions: committing the fallacy of false analogy.
This ad also creates a sense of false dilemma by birthing the idea that if the viewer refuses to remove processed meat from his or her child’s diet, then that child will ultimately be diagnosed with cancer. The producers at PETA partially succeeded with this ad by their ability to create an ad that would manipulate young parents into see PETA’s position; however, PETA proves that ads can be created using stealthy stratagems to persuade viewers inadvertently. The inability to provide sufficient evidence and information as well as the large number of fallacy within this ad proves that this ad as weak. With additions of sufficient evidence and support, the effectiveness and strength of PETA’s ad would become a much stronger argument.
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