There are numerous types of advertisements, ranging from magazine ads to television ads. Because the means of communication are different, the structure and presentation of the ads varies greatly. In magazine ads, the advertiser is essentially limited to certain means of communicating his or her beliefs. He or she must incorporate images and text in a balanced manner to convey the message or argument. However, this limitation forces them to select the most appropriate images and phrases. Furthermore, a magazine ad must instantly capture the customer’s attention or else it has failed and the page will be turned. A specific advertisement found in a gaming magazine is about joining the Army. Though on the surface the ad suggests that it is “army strong” to make the most of life, there is a deeper message. This underlying message is that joining the Army is an honorable act that will yield a strong willed character that will be successful in life. This message is subtlety conveyed through the extensive use of pathos and logos, but is also weakened by the generality of the statements used.
The Army utilizes pathos in the advertisement to elicit feelings of pride and self-worth in the audience for undertaking such an admirable act. The specific phrase “getting the most out of life is army strong,” suggests that those in the army are strong. “Getting the most out of life” is an essential characteristic of an Army figure because as the picture of the Special Ops Chief preparing for a jump suggests, there are endless opportunities available if one joins the Army. It indirectly instills in the reader the idea of self-worth because “getting the most out of life” includes acting honorably and selflessly. The concept of acting selflessly, or altruistically, is often linked to a positive and caring personality. Society has instilled in people of today that when a person acts in the benefit of others, it makes him or her a better person. Though this may seem rather too simplistic, the emotional effect appeals to the innate appreciation of righteousness, which is created by culture. Furthermore, the concept of joining the American army is patriotic. An individual that is raised up in America that believes in the concept of freedom is more likely to consider joining the army and defend this right. The sense of patriotism is certainly a strong motivator and automatically enhances the argument because the viewer is already more appreciative and accepting of its message.
In addition to the use of pathos, the Army advertisement incorporates logic to discuss the issue at hand. The logic in the advertisement is created by linking the concept of strength to the army. After all, the advertisers mention how being “army strong” is exceptional and extremely appealing. In addition to its appeal, the Army continues with the reasoning of why and how joining the Army is strong. The strength stems from the intellectual knowledge that is explicitly stated and also from the physical strength that is implied through the picture in the background. This intellectual and physical strength can then be connected or at least create a mental connection in the viewer’s mind to success and an enjoyable career. It creates a domino effect in the reader because they see the “strong” and “expert training” and “getting the most out of life” and this triggers ideas of happiness, success, wealth, and numerous other positive qualities. Because all humans believe in this concept and want to attain this level of success and happiness, they are more inclined to pause and ponder the message presented in the ad. Because the reader pauses to consider the message being portrayed by the ad, the ad has achieved its goal. It has successfully captured the viewer’s attention. From there, the reader would continue and read about how joining the Army can yield training in 150 different career fields. This also logically appeals to the viewer because it shows that there are numerous options available in the army that would satisfy various interests. This availability of options allows the reader to feel less inhibited. Furthermore, the mentioning of money for college is another essential aspect of the logical argument that can also be slightly categorized with pathos. This goes along with the concept that money for college has become extraordinarily high and sometimes impossible for many families and students. As a result, they miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime and lack the possibility of a strong education. By suggesting that money will be provided for college, it makes financial sense for many individuals to join the Army and lead a successful future.
Though the advertisement makes excellent use of pathos and logos, its message is somewhat weakened by the lack of specificity and additional information about the Army. Though it mentions some benefits, there are very little. Additional information on the benefits, such as health, would make this ad much stronger and logically appealing. The information would allow further connections to be made by the reader. They would gain a greater understanding of the Army and potentially formulate a stronger desire to find out more about it. This stronger desire to gain additional knowledge could also yield a stronger feeling of joining the Army and making a difference for the individual and the country. Furthermore, the background photo is not extremely clear and representative of only certain aspects of the Army rather than all positive aspects. As a result, the background selection slightly inhibits the effectiveness of the message.
The effectiveness of this particular advertisement by the Army is the result of extensive uses of pathos and logos. The emotional and logical connections together create a stronger effect on the reader, compelling him or her to learn more about the Army. But despite the exceptional use of these two strategies, the ad still contains a few flaws, such as the lack of further information. All in all, however, the ad does an effective job of conveying its underlying message that joining the Army will make the individual a better, stronger, and more successful person.
Burns, Robert. “Army Launching ‘Army Strong’ Ad Campaign.” Boston Globe 9 Oct. 2006. 9 Feb. 2007 .