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Commercials and the Power of Persuasion

            In a consumer world where businesses want you to hear their company names and slogans everywhere you go and as often as they can afford to shout them at you, it's easy to dismiss commercials as the background noise of parts of your life, as the equivalent to the voice of Charlie Brown's teacher. But commercial advertisements have a real and undeniable effect on people's choices, which accounts for why companies pay figures in the seven digits for mere minutes of advertisement, sometimes less, depending on the program. However, that's not to say that all advertisements are created equal. Their powers of persuasion can vary largely depending on a number of factors, and a comparison between two commercials in particular may help illuminate this idea. While a November 2010 ad "Trouble Never Takes a Holiday" by Allstate and a 2011 ad "Unsung Hero" by TVC Thai Life Insurance both aim to convince the audience to subscribe to insurance coverage sold by their respective companies, the discrepancy in choice of rhetorical strategies employed by each as well as the considerably better concept and execution of "Unsung Hero" make it by far the more persuasive of the two.
             Ethos, the mechanism by which one persuades the target audience that one is of reputable character, takes a strong position in "Trouble Never Takes A Holiday" and a minor role in "Unsung Hero". In the Allstate ad, the deep and steady voice of Dennis Haysbert relates to the audience a sense of fortitude, of insurance. He speaks at a steady pace that assures the audience: don't worry. I'm a man you can count on, as is the company I represent. This, in addition to his actual discussion of the events of the holidays of last year. Haysbert brings up statistics of the accidents, saying that "last Thanksgiving, about two million people tried to deep-fat fry their turkey. Fifteen succeeded in setting their house on fire.

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