In my previous posts, I discussed what rhetoric, rhetorical canons, and logical fallacies are. I talked about how rhetoric is everywhere, including but not limited to in memes, social media, and advertiesments. Here, I will discuss all of these elements in a specific ad: the first Super Smash Bros advertisement.
Advertising with Rhetoric
Rhetoric is used in millions of advertisements, including the three rhetorical appeals: logos, pathos, and ethos.
Logos is used in advertisements by using logic or statistics to help persuade people.
Commercials containing statistics, surveys, facts, and other data are all using logos for the art of persuasion.
Pathos is used in advertisements when commercials manipulate people’s emotions to make them agree to their message.
A cute animal or a loving couple are examples of pathos, but so is a funny joke. Anything that has a purpose to make people feel an emotion and is successful is using pathos.
Ethos is used in advertisements by gathering credible sources. For example, a doctor in a medicine advertisement or children in toy commercials talking about how much they love the advertised toy.
Ethos is all about credibility. Famous celebrities selling products or big brands who build trust with their audience are using ethos.
The logical fallacy “appeal to authority” falls under ethos.
Fallacies and Canons
Another component of rhetoric used in advertisements is logical fallacies. The advertisements use these fallacies with the hopes of persuading people. Rhetorical canons, on the other hand, are used to help create these ads. Video game ad commercials, for example, used them all the time now. They also used them back then.
Watch this 2008 Super Smash Bros Advertisement, for example.
This advertisement has uses rhetorical devices and logical fallacies in the video, and the creators used the rhetorical canons to create the ad.
Rhetorical Appeals in the Commercial
In the Super Smash Bros ad, the use of pathos is demonstrated.
First, the Ad has some humor in it that may cause people to laugh. For example, the ad becomes humorous when the peaceful and friendly atmosphere is interrupted, and the characters beat each other up. Then, the funny sound effects play as they hit each other.
It also makes people feel happy and nostalgic since it mentions how “all your favorite (Nintendo) characters” get to battle together in one game. Appeal to emotion is also one of the logical fallacies, but there are others present.
Logical Fallacies in the Commercial
In the Super Smash Bros ad, the logical fallacy “black or white” can be shown at the end.
In an aggressive but funny way, Nintendo had a little slogan which was “get N, or get out.” It means that people should either get a Nintendo or leave, no other options. Although this is a slogan, this is an example of the “black or white” fallacy.
Rhetorical Canons Used for the Commercial
When coming up with an advertisement, or basically anything that has to do with rhetoric (which, again, is almost everything), people use rhetorical canons.
Below, I will elaborate on how each of the five rhetorical canons is used in the Super Smash Bros advertisement:
Not only did Nintendo invent a game, but they also invented this ad. They came up with the footage they wanted to use, or if they wanted to have dialogue and sounds effects, or they wanted to say and using their slogan at the end. They knew that if they used emotion in their advertisement that their advertisement would be more successful, so they did just that.
Nintendo had to figure out what order they wanted to present everything, or arrange the details. If they would have started the characters of fighting first, and then made it peaceful, for example, it would not have been as effective. People would feel confused and there would not be any humor, therefore removing laughter.
Coming up with the actual dialogue and words they use is the use of style. They used words that their audience–young people and gamers–would understand and appeal to.
Their audience understood what Nintendo meant when they said “their favorite characters.” Most of them have played previous Nintendo games. This is the use of memory. People remember the characters from other Nintendo games. People who do not know the characters will be confused.
Using the format of a video shows the use of delivery in this advertisement. They could have chosen to do a paper ad or just audio, but they chose to create a video.
Overall, advertisements, old and new, use rhetoric every day. Most of them use it on purpose, but there are some that do not realize what rhetoric or fallacies are. Everyone, however, uses rhetorical canons to create something such as an advertisement or ad.