Advertisement has become an integral part of modern life. People watch and read around five hundred of them a day, what illustrates its natural incorporation into one’s life, bringing a variety of messages. Therefore, advertisements construct a platform of propaganda that can effectively deliver a particular message or information to an existing or a potential customer. Scholars define it as “any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas or products by an identifiable sponsor”. Moreover, they estimate that advertisers spend more than five hundred billion dollars a year and that amount increases each year. Despite being costly, publicity can raise more opportunities for business. Undoubtedly, it helps develop brand loyalty by constructing market segments. To succeed with this task, advertisers apply to rhetoric; as a result, advertising and rhetoric become integral notions. Therefore, it is important to explore the mechanisms of persuasion through analyzing the action of corresponding strategies and approaches. This paper will observe the case of Apple’s “Get a Mac” advertisement with the purpose to identify and discuss its visual as well as oral persuasion techniques.

The Use of Language in Advertisment

Promotion and Prevention Focus

Advertisement relies upon “two distinct self-regulatory orientations: promotion focus and prevention focus”. People with a promotion focus intent to pay more attention to the commercials that depict beautiful, luxurious, and innovative goods and services. This attitude is not surprising, since hedonic matters serve as remedies for fulfilling the corresponding goal to achieve the maximum pleasure and satisfaction from life. In contrast, individuals with a prevention focus seek for reliability and stability, cherish practicality of products and services. That is why, they more readily perceive and consume the advertisement that displays time-tested and robust goods. Given this difference, identifying and evaluating the needs of targeted audience is essential, since it helps correctly detect the typical focus of a particular market segment in order to align the rhetoric accordingly.

Without a doubt, promotion focus is as important as other personal characteristics of a human personality. Studying subjective mentality with all its many-faceted aspects is necessary for building a brand personality, which can correspond with the resonating human individuality. In this regard, brand personality is “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand”. While connecting this definition with the above-discussed foci it is natural to point to the following examples. A brand personality that includes spontaneity, the fickleness of tastes and views positively relates to a promotion focus and negatively applies to prevention focus. Simultaneously, an advertisement that presents solid and dependable products that have a good range of practical feasibility will target people with a prevention focus.


Nevertheless, being seemingly opposite, these foci can overlap, leading to the construction of a brand image that is not only innovative, but is also time-tested. For instance, Apple’s products are obviously luxurious and advanced, simultaneously, they also possess a notion of a good quality, well-developed security aspects, and a great range of practical applications that increase the usability of Apple commodities. That is why, there is a good chance that an audience with both promotion and prevention focus will be attracted by Apple’s advertisement. Considering the rationale, on the one hand, the casual image of a Mac attracts people with a promotion focus as they are sensitive to the contemporary popular culture and enjoy freedom and liberty in life, particularly, in clothing. On the other hand, Mac’s resistance to viruses, confidence, and optimism regarding own future correspond to individuals with a prevention focus who strive to get a secure and reliable product. Thus, it is possible to deduce that Apple’s publicity is successful because it manages to naturally combine promotion and prevention foci through the application of both explicit and implicit assumptions.

Explicit and Implicit Assumptions

Researchers claim that advertisers can either make direct statements that highlight the benevolence of the promoted goods and products or provide indirect hints that imply the same. The first approach is an explicit assumption regarding the value of a particular commodity; meanwhile, the second method is an implicit assumption that carries the similar message in a covert, metaphoric way.

Scrutinizing why advertisers apply to metaphors instead of making direct claims, researchers conclude that it is an attempt to circumvent people’s reluctance to watch and perceive commercials. In essence, consumers know that advertising affects them, thus, to prevent its compulsive effect they prefer to avoid it. Nevertheless, when an advertisement is implicit (presented through metaphors) audience involuntarily becomes interested. The example of such is Apple’s Mac, where the main catch is the personification of the computer systems that are represented as male characters. It depicts a prolonged use of metaphor throughout all “Get a Mac” videos, which represent the benefits of the latter by giving a comparison of PC and Mac systems in a humorous and ironic way. These stylistic devices accompany the metaphor and reinforces its impact.

In addition, apart from implicit assumptions (indirect claims), there are explicit ones, which enhance the success of persuasion. For instance, in the video Apple Get a Mac Ad – Viruses a PC states that computers always have viruses that complicate their work, whereas a Mac replies that it is true for a PC, but not for a Mac. It is an example of an explicit assumption that Mac is a safer and more robust system; therefore, it is more dependable and innovative. As a result, the audience gets an idea that they should purchase one. Comprehending the role of implicit and explicit assumptions, it is necessary to clarify that they are constructed through logos, pathos, and ethos appeals.

Logos, Pathos, and Ethos Appeals

Persuasion is “the process of changing or reforming attitudes, beliefs, opinions, or behaviors toward a predetermined outcome through voluntary compliance”. According to Aristotle, to persuade an audience one should refer to such tools of rhetoric as pathos, ethos, and logos appeals.

To build an ethos appeal, it is appropriate to use individual’s credentials that can be personal or professional qualities that other people recognize as attractive and dependable. In other words, it exploits the reference to opinion of famous and successful people because the majority tends to appreciate them as reliable role models. Furthermore, pathos appeal suggests presenting an argument that resonates with people’s feelings and emotions. In particular, it should increase emotional perception and, respectfully, evoke a sensual reaction from the audience. In contrast, logos appeal corresponds with people’s mentality enhancing cognitive perception of rhetoric. It presents a chain of reasoning, provides a clear causal link that should convince to change or modify their views. Overall, these three aspects of persuasion help constructing an effective advertisement. In addition, to succeed with the goals one should utilize the numerous techniques of exploiting the above-discussed appeals...

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