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But once style has been differentiated from content, the question of relative causal potency readily comes to the fore. The advertising decision is broadened to include how to say it as well as what to say. It is not at all clear that decisions about content will always be the most important decisions facing the advertiser. We can thank psychologists and their tradition of studying strong—weak arguments for this insight. When arguments are not processed, content is unlikely to be the most important factor in achieving persuasion.

Why should this be so?

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This question cannot even be asked from within a universalist psychological stance. The change in actual advertising will not even be noticed within an experimental tradition that is committed to the use of typed texts that argue a point in words alone; for example, a recommenda- tion, supported with arguments, that student graduation should be conditioned on a qualifying exam a stimulus used multiple times in research associated with the Ohio State tradition; see McQuarrie [, ] for a discussion of the un- derlying issues.

Style is simply invisible to psychology. Consider again the oft-used manipulation wherein some experimental stimuli use strong arguments and others use weak arguments. But to a rhetorician, the whole enterprise is misbegotten. First of all, if an advertiser found him or herself facing a situation where consumers were unlikely to process arguments, she or he would employ some other stylistic element instead.

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Third, of course there are situations where consumers fail to process arguments in ads—that is easy enough to arrange, and these may even be the norm today. The question the rhetorician sets himself is to discover what advertising device would be effective under these circumstances.

In short, from the standpoint of the rhetorician, the psychologist is not actually studying advertising, regardless of the labels applied—he is parsing processing conditions under which a written text might produce one or another response. The relevance to advertising of the insights gained thereby is, strictly speaking, unknown, but arguably suspect—print advertisers could use large chunks of written argumentation if they wished, but it is a choice they now largely eschew.

Psychology and related cognitive science disciplines remain vigorous enterprises today, and can be expected to respond positively to the rhetorical challenge—if we succeed in catching their attention. As noted, rhetoricians are omnivorous consumers of causal knowledge, and that portion of psychological research not bewitched by univer- salist precepts has much to offer students of rhetoric and students of advertising. The more we learn about consumer response—the province of psychology—the greater will be our ability to identify and evaluate the available means of evoking these now more thoroughly understood responses.

Finally, we would like to argue that the study of advertising phenomena has the potential to advance the larger enterprise of rhetorical scholarship. Mass-media brand advertising is the largest organized persuasive endeavor in the world today. Relative to other large-scale persuasive enterprises politics, proselytization , it is the most focused on the use of artifacts as opposed to live speech and interactive events.

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Odysseus Panourgos: The Liar's Style in Tragedy and Oratory

Many scholars of rhetoric are found in English and other humanities departments, and this will continue to be true so long as composi- tion is taught there. And although there are many kinds of written text suitable for rhetorical analysis, it should not surprise us if literary scholars tend to pursue the development of rhetorical scholarship by applying rhetorical ideas to literary texts.

However, persuasion is only one of many aims of literary texts and belle letters generally. By contrast, advertisements represent the epitome of persuasive text artifacts within contemporary culture. To the extent that rhetoric is a text-analytic discipline focused on persuasive outcomes, advertisements, and not belles lettres, ought to be considered the central or main domain for developing the rhetorical discipline going forward. Rhetoricians need to populate marketing departments as well as English departments. In short, studies of rhetoric in advertising aim to provoke the same sort of adaptive response from practitioners of semiotics, poet- ics, and aesthetics as from practitioners of psychology.

Deeper insight into the phenomenon of advertising is the hoped-for goal in each case. The other opportunity presented by advertising is that most print advertisements are no longer written texts. They are pictorial texts that include some words. Ex- cepting radio, other advertising media are, if anything, even less focused on words. In principle, rhetoric, as a body of theoretical ideas, ought to be no less relevant to pictorial persuasion than to verbal persuasion.

Note also that nowhere else in contemporary culture are pictures so central to persuasion as in mass-media advertising. Now imagine, if you will, that rhetorical scholars en masse chose to eschew the opportunity presented by the widespread use of picto- rial persuasion in advertising. Or suppose rhetoricians were to cling stubbornly to ancient classical ideas about the use of verbal stylistic devices, and insist on applying only these inherited ideas to the new pictorial artifacts. Would the revival of rhetoric as a scholarly discipline continue apace? We think not.

Rhetoric has to be able to generate new theoretical insights about advertising to retain its claim to bear knowledge. Advertising is the main show today. What public oratory was to the ancients, advertisements are to moderns and postmoderns. The advertising enterprise is certainly ripe for rhetorical inquiry, but it promises much more to rhetoric than a fruitful domain for the application of existing ideas. Rather, exploration of the advertising domain is crucial if rhetorical scholarship is to be more than a recovery of lost insights of the ancients.

Advertising offers rhetoricians the chance to build on what was inherited from ancient times, but also to develop new ideas. Recall that the goal of this volume is to present new thinking. Such outlets generally require that articles contain a review of the relevant literature, and often insist on empirical evidence.

In contrast, the chapters in this book offer what standard journal articles cannot—innovative ideas about where research in advertising rhetoric should go next, sometimes based on little more than expert opinion, blue-sky thinking, or clap-to-the-forehead insight. The volume is divided into four sections. In Chapter 2, Eric D. DeRosia asserts that although researchers pay lip service to the ancient Greek and Roman scholars who were the fathers of rhetorical thought, very few modern researchers treat their ancient admonitions as hypotheses to be tested in a current advertising context.

DeRosia laments the fact that researchers have not gone further in marrying the art of ancient rhetoric with the science of modern inquiry, to test whether these ancient truths can inform the selection of advertising style in a modern world.


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To further this aim, he provides a list of ancient hypotheses yet to be tested. In Chapter 3, Barbara B. Stern asserts that researchers have been guilty of nar- rowly focusing on ancient narrative or oratory rhetoric, the rhetoric of telling, as detailed by DeRosia in Chapter 2. Dramatic rhetoric, the rhetoric of showing, has been ignored. Stern applies dramatic rhetorical analysis to the study of soap operas to illustrate how this type of rhetoric can help us understand the message embed- ded in both the medium itself e.

He contends that in their initial zeal to demonstrate that advertising style had meaning, researchers narrowed in on the symbolic aspects of advertis- ing images and dismissed the iconicity of these pictures. The next three chapters of this volume examine the cognitive processing of advertising rhetoric.

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Each chapter attempts to marry cognitive theories developed in psychology for understanding consumer response with the rhetorical perspective that has proved useful in understanding advertising style. In Chapter 5, Bruce A. Huhmann models how the stylistic properties of ads affect psychological variables such as perceived openness and the cognitive resources required to process an ad.

The outcomes examined by Huhmann match up well with those listed by DeRosia in Chapter 2, allowing cognitive psy- chology to explicate the processes underlying ancient rhetorical advice.

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In Chapter 6, Paul E. Ketelaar, Marnix S. Beentjes unfold the concept of openness, touched on by Huhmann in Chapter 5. These authors develop the properties that contribute to openness and empirically test consumer response to openness. These authors join Stern Chapter 3 in calling for a new consideration of the negative effects of rhetorical techniques. In the last chapter of this section Chapter 7 , Mark A. Stern examine the visual rhetoric that is growing in prominence in modern advertising practice, as explicated by Larsen in Chapter 4.

They combine incongruity theory from psychology with rhetorical theory, to generate hybrid hypotheses regarding the types of schemas that are brought into play during consumer interpretation of advertising images. In Chapter 8, Tina M. Lowrey examines the structural property of complexity, also touched on by Huhmann in Chapter 5. He develops the idea of multimodal metaphor—metaphor that occurs in the interchange between pictures, words, movement, and sound—to use in furthering research with television commercials.

Peracchio explain the effects of basic visual stylistic elements, such as camera angle and orientation, on consumer response. They examine three existing typologies of visual rhetoric and highlight the foundational similarities and omissions of each. They then extend these previous typologies by proposing a series of analytical questions that help not only to identify visual rhetoric more distinctly but also to classify its interpretation based on its conceptual and structural categories. In Chapter 12, Edward F. McQuarrie takes a workbench approach to the construction of typologies of rhetorical devices.

The goal is to stimulate other scholars to develop their own rhetorical typologies and to help readers evaluate the success of proposed typolo- gies and systems.

McQuarrie e Phillips - Go Figure | Rhetoric | Advertising

He takes two rhetorical systems in which he has been involved and disassembles them with an eye to teasing out the distinctive characteristics of rhetorical typologies generally. He then essays a new set of distinctions to show, step by step, how the construction of a rhetorical typology might proceed.

The Art of Rhetoric: Ten Principles of Persuasive Speech

Jonathan E. Schroeder, in Chapter 13, explains the importance of images to brand culture and introduces visual analysis as a way to make sense of rhetori- cal imagery in advertising. He provides three rich examples of the application of visual analysis to illustrate the method as well as to provide detailed hypotheses for future research. Linda M. Scott steps back to assess the fundamental nature of the rhetorical discipline, placing rhetoric and its contributions within related schools of thought.

Advertising rhetoric has matured markedly in the few decades since it was intro- duced to the discipline.


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  5. Having established itself as a valid approach to understand- ing how advertisements affect consumers, we think the time is right to deepen and extend its contribution. The territory is vast, and much remains unexplored. Bender, J. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Berlyne, Daniel. Aesthetics and Psychobiology. New York: Appleton.

    Deighton, John. Morris Holbrook and Elizabeth Hirschman, — Hunt, Shelby. Armonk, NY: M.