I’m not crying… it’s just a piece of dust or something

I just watched an SPCA commercial and got sad.  We’re all familiar with them; Sarah McLachlan talks to us and implores us to adopt a dog or cat that’s been a victim of abuse and donate to the SPCA, whilst her song “Angel” fades in and out.  Originally, I wanted to write my research paper on these types of commercials, and ads by PETA (I am not associating the ASPCA and PETA by any stretch of the imagination however).  I wanted to find out statistically if these depressing SPCA commercials actually are inspiring to viewers, as compared to what I would strongly recommend they broadcast— commercials of two new best friends (owner and dog) playing and having a fun time.  Having no facts in front of me, I imagine what they do draws fewer adoptions but far more capital via donations than what I suggest.  In my opinion, pathos is the greatest motivator of the three rhetorical appeals; the others being logos and ethos.  The ads run now are rhetoric manifest; they are all-or-nothing appeals to the pathos of the viewer.  In this sense, these McLachlan spots are great successes because unless you are Dexter Morgan a deluge of empathy rushes through the television screen and into the home of the audience.  Even though they are likely successful, I wish these commercials were a little more upbeat, because I was watching Comedy Central after all.  Maybe run another version with Sarah wearing a clown nose that she honks whenever things get “too real.”

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One thought on “I’m not crying… it’s just a piece of dust or something

  1. At first these commercials were really influential and I am sure worked really well as it grabbed the audiences attention and created a lot of emotion. In my opinion, they have been on a little to long and the SPCA does need to change it up. Whenever I see them now I look away or change the channel as I don’t feel like looking at these sad animals. If they were to change it up, it would be a good idea to show the positive outcome of the donations.

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