4/11: How can visuals argue?

One of the most common genres of arguing with video is the Public Service Announcement (PSA).  In today’s class, we will view a range of PSAs and analyze the different rhetorical strategies each of them uses, and then brainstorm your own PSA project advancing your social cause.

To prepare for class:

  • Read Hatfield, Hink, and Birkholt’s article “Seeing the Visual in Argumentation: A Rhetorical Analysis of UNICEF Belgium’s Smurf Public Service Announcement” (in ELMS)
  • Submit the draft of your Infographic to ELMS!
  1. Link to PSA on my topic (women should lift weights): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tgo20PGcxXI

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    • 1. The argument is that women should lift weights.
      2. This video was created for the PictureFit video channel series, intended to educate people about all types of fitness and health topics.
      3. The audience is most likely women who want to obtain their ideal figure through fitness/exercise.
      4. The desired reaction is to have women understand the health benefits of weight lifting and hopefully use weight lifting in order to exercise.
      5. The PSA addresses the misconception that weight lifting isn’t “for” women and that the only way to obtain their ideal body is through cardio, when in fact, weight lifting has an abundance of health benefits for women (just as it does for men).
      6. Pathos is used through the visual symbols and happy expressions of the drawings of women when they are weight lifting.
      7. Logos is used when including the health benefits (logical arguments) of weight lifting (ie: increased mobility, preventing muscle loss, alleviating back pain, and fixing posture).
      8. Ethos is used sparingly in the video. Although on the PictureFit patreon page, there are other fitness channels/communities that also support PictureFit.
      9. The sound in this video only consists of a lighthearted piano background. This is most likely to give a “happier” and more positive vibe to the video, while not overshadowing the narrator’s voice.
      10. This entire video is built off drawing all the images. Therefore, showing the process of drawing as a stop-motion is not only a unique way to give information, but paired with the complimentary symbols and colors, the drawings really come to “life” through the explanations.
      11. The most important points in the video, are the numerous health benefits of weight lifting (such as increasing metabolic rates, calories burned, etc.), as well as pointing out the fact that cardio is not the only thing that should be done if you want a toned/healthy body.
      12. Abstraction is more limited in this context, since this video is strictly about the benefits of weight lifting and nothing else (not cardio, healthy eating, other methods of weight loss).
      13. There isn’t much ambiguity present in this PSA video. All the images/symbols are made clearly, and directly related to the information that the narrator is presenting.

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  2. My opinion of euthanasia is that it should be illegal. However, I couldn’t find a PSA that was well put together and agreed with my opinion. So the link is to a PSA that is FOR euthanasia.

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    • 1. The Argument is that euthanasia for people should be legalized in the United States.
      2. A student created this PSA for a school project, and his/her purpose was to try to get the watcher to support the legalization of euthanasia.
      3. The audience is those who possibly do not support euthanasia, or those who are not informed or taking action on the legalization of it.
      4. The desired audience reaction is to listen to the points of the video and to be convinced that euthanasia should be legalized in the US.
      5. The PSA suggests that without the rights to do this, we could possibly be forfeiting other rights.
      6. Pathos are used by the sad music and the pictures of the suffering. It is meant to get the watcher to feel sympathetic for those who are suffering, and make them want to offer them a way out.
      7. Logos are used through statistics. The statistic given is of how many people die from terminal illnesses per year. It is suggesting that these people could have suffered less and instead been euthanized.
      8. Ethos are not really used in this PSA.
      9. The sound employed in this PSA are sad music and hospital sounds. They give the PSA a melancholy mood, which helps to emphasize the suffering of the patients.
      10. The pictures of the suffering people offer realism as they show real people suffering from terminal illnesses, which makes the watcher connect better.
      11. The details that stand out in this PSA are the statistics used, which are the main driving point behind the PSA’s purpose of convincing people that euthanasia should be legal.
      12. Abstraction is used in that the PSA could be about any terminal illness, so it could connect to a lot of different people.
      13. Ambiguity is used because in the pictures it is not shown what illness those people were suffering from.

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  3. Heres my link for a psa : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQm8SQPOQvI

    My topic is TNR(trap, neuter, and return) for cats :^)

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    • 1. The Argument is that the method of TNR (Trap, Neuter, and Return) is an effective way to save feral cats’ lives.
      2. The creator made this PSA for a national feral cat day, his purpose was to inform the public that feral cats near our love and protection. Also, TNR is a mainstream activity and it does save feral cats’ lives.
      3. The audience is those who don’t know what TNR is and for those who want to participate in a national feral cat day.
      4. The desired audience reaction is to listen to the video and participate in TNR for feral cats in their community and to share this with their friends.
      5. The PSA suggests that without our help, the condition of feral cats in our community are going to get worse.
      6. Pathos are used by the positive and uplifting music in the background. It is supposed to encourage the audience to go out and participate in TNR and believe they can make positive impact in the community. He also emphasizes the term “OUR” cats and “OUR community” to make it more personal and relatable to the audience.
      7. There is no real logos in this PSA.
      8. He establishes ethos through his long personal experience of being a “cat daddy” as well as him being a founder of “Alley Cat Allies”.
      9. The positive and uplifting music in the background is supposed to encourage the audience to go out and participate in TNR and believe they can make positive impact in the community.
      10. Realism is used to a high degree. It is not hard for anyone to walk around their community and spot many feral cats. Therefore, it is not hard to assume the large number of feral cats living in horrible condition.
      11. The details that stood out the most in this PSA are his cat related decors. It really shows his passion for the cats and it also boosts his credibility.
      12. There is a low level of abstraction because it is clear that PSA is about feral cats and how we can participate and improve their living condition.
      13. There is not much ambiguity either because everything in this PSA is clearly related and understood as helping the feral cats’ lives and TNR is an effective way of doing so.

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    • Rhetorical Analysis:
      1. The argument is that people should be more informed about Williams Syndrome and they should make an effort to understand the way that someone with Williams Syndrome may act.
      2. The Williams Syndrome Association created the video. The goal/ purpose of this organization appears to be to inform people about Williams Syndrome.
      3. The audience is anyone who is interested in learning about Williams Syndrome
      4. The desired audience reaction is for people to be interested in learning more about Williams Syndrome and possibly become involved in a fundraising event.
      5. The PSA suggests that people with Williams Syndrome may be misunderstood if the message is not heeded.
      6. Pathos is used by describing the daily life of people with Williams Syndrome and the contributions they make to the community. The creators seem to want people to see those with Williams Syndrome as people who may need some extra help but who also positively contribute to the community, which I think the PSA is effective in doing.
      7. Logos is prevalent in this PSA with statistics on how many people have Williams Syndrome and an explanation of various associated characteristics and medical conditions.
      8. Ethos is used because the creator of the PSA is the Williams Syndrome Association which would imply credibility since they run an organization dedicated to Williams Syndrome.
      9. The main sound focus is the narrator’s voice, although there is music playing which is serious but pleasant.
      10. There are no photos used to picture those with Williams Syndrome, however there are illustrations which are clearly human (i.e. much more detailed than stick figures). I think this was a good choice because it keeps the video interesting and informative without invading the privacy of any individual by recording/ photographing him/her.
      11. The facts given about Williams Syndrome stand out in this PSA which help promote the argument by urging the viewer to learn more.
      12. There is a low level of abstraction because it is clear that the PSA is about individuals with Williams Syndrome and could not be easily taken in any other context.
      13. There is not much ambiguity either because the images are likely to be understood as associated to Williams Syndrome which makes it clear to the viewer what the PSA is about.

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    • The argument is that gun violence can be prevented if we recognize the warning signs. Sandy Hook Promise created this video and their goals are to prevent more school shootings like the one that occurred at Sandy Hook and make people aware of the warning signs they should be on the look out for. Therefore, the creation and argument of this PSA makes sense.

      The audience of this PSA can be very broad but I believe it is mainly targeted towards students and teachers/faculty. You could also say it is targeted towards parents because they should be watching for warning signs at home as well. The desired reaction is shocked and possibly anxious. The fact that almost everyone who watches this PSA does not realize the guy planning a school shooting is very alarming and is a wake up call that as a society we need to do better at this. Personally, I was shocked once they began showing the warning signs so I assume thats how many people feel while watching.

      The logic in this PSA is very straight forward. It was very logical for them to show the story of Evan all the way through and then after point out the warning signs. It is powerful in that many people don’t pay that much attention to things like that while at school or in class. The fact that this video was created by the Sandy Hook Promise organization gives it credibility because the Sandy Hook incident is a tragedy most of the country is aware of and remembers. This PSA also appeals to your emotions, especially at the very end when the student comes in with the gun and everyone starts running and screaming. This specific scene makes you feel scared, anxious, and want to prevent this from happening again.

      The sound at the beginning during the original playing of the video of Evan seems normal and goes along with what is happening in the story. However, once they play back the video and begin pointing out the warning signs the music gets slower which contributes to the audience feeling shocked, sad, and scared all at the same time.

      It is realistic to do a call to action because this is a very serious topic that we as a society can prevent if we step up and take action. This PSA was effective at making the audience realize how oblivious we can be at seeing such obvious signs. It also made the audience realize how quickly this could happen at another school. The abstract in this PSA was very effective because it easily tricked us into not paying attention to what was going on in the background and only focusing on Evan. There is definitely ambiguity because after watching you definitely sit back and reflect and start thinking about your life and whether or not you have been paying attention to any warning signs.

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      • Madeline Metcalfe

        1. It is arguing that teens shouldn’t text and drive
        2. It Can Wait (sponsored by AT&T) made the campaign for the purpose of stopping people, specifically teenagers, to stop texting while driving.
        3. The audience is teenagers.
        4. The desired audience reaction is guilt, repenting, the desire to change their ways.
        5. It suggests that people can die, can lose their family, and can change their whole lives if people text and drive.
        6. Pathos is used through the personal anecdote of Jaycee and through the teenagers talking to her and crying because of her story. The specific emotions they want to evoke are guilt, sadness, shock, and fear. It is very effective at evoking these emotions. The first time I saw this PSA, I cried.
        7. Logos is used by talking to real people about their texting and driving habits and by being specific about what apps they use while driving, how much they use them, etc.
        8. Ethos is used through Jaycee’s personal account of her experience with texting and driving and how it affected her.
        9. The music is somber throughout the whole PSA which gives it this suspenseful feel. The piano doesn’t start until Jaycee walks in which helps emphasize her importance to the video.
        10. Realism is used to a high degree. It shows real teenagers listening to her story and crying with genuine reactions. It is definitely effective!
        11. The biggest detail that stood out to me was in Jaycee’s story when she said “I didn’t have my daddy walk me down the aisle.” Another detail is the shots of the teenagers crying about Jaycee’s story. It really emphasizes the argument that texting can wait.
        12. Abstraction is used by using Jaycee’s one account of texting and driving to represent/stop all texting and driving. They do this because personal anecdotes resonate with people more and for this purpose can be used as a good representation for the It Can Wait campaign.
        13. Ambiguity is used through not showing who is producing the PSA in the beginning and waiting until the end to show that it’s the It Can Wait campaign. They do this so people are hooked in the beginning and have a feeling of suspense in the beginning.

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      • Brianna Mentle

        1. This PSA is arguing for the need for people to stop texting and driving
        2. The creator of the PSA was It Can Wait, who is sponsored by AT&T. The goal of this campaign is to stop people from texting while driving.
        3. The audience is especially teenagers since they are more likely to do it.
        4. The audiences emotion is very emotional since they see the potential consequences for what they’re doing. This makes them feel very guilty for their actions and feel the need to stop.
        5. If the message is not met with change, the consequences will be more people getting hurt or even killed in car crashes by people who choose to continue to text and drive. This can lead to people’s entire lives being changed for the worst.
        6. Pathos is created by the personal experience of Jaycee who was hit as a result of texting and driving and lost her parents and damaged her body. This story really spoke to the emotions of the teenagers, which you can see in their reactions of sorrow, guilt, and fear seen by their words, body language, and tears. This strike towards emotions is very effective in both the teens in the video as well as the viewers.
        7. Logos is used by referring to the teens actual habits and why they choose to do it. The PSA precedes with the video logically by giving an anecdote of why texting and driving is wrong and then seeing how the teens react.
        8. Ethos is gained through the story that Jaycee tells about her being so effected by distracted driving. She is credible because she has experienced the consequences.
        9. The music is calm through the entirety of the PSA which creates more emotion because it emphasizes the teens response. It also corresponds with Jaycee’s calm persona as soon as she walks in. This emphasizes the reaction of Jaycee entering and telling her story.
        10. The portrayal of realism is extremely powerful in this PSA. Not only is the story Jaycee tells real, but the reactions of the teens are purely genuine and emotional, which makes it very effective and makes the viewers themselves react.
        11. Something that stood out to be was the transition of the teens personalities before and after hearing Jaycee’s story. Prior to it, some of the teens seemed almost proud and amused by their use of cell phones while driving. One boy in particular didn’t seem phased by his use, but after hearing and talking to Jaycee, he retracted some of what he said and wanted to make it seem like he only used it to change the songs. This transition emphasizes how people don’t often know the caliber of effect that they can have on people’s life.
        12. Abstraction is used in the PSA by explaining and stressing the need to stop all texting and driving by telling Jaycee’s story. Although it is one story and they don’t happen to everyone, the idea to tell one person’s story as a reason to stop everything is telling to the sense that it’s not worth the risk.
        13. The campaign uses Ambiguity by not revealing the name of the organization until the end in able to ensure no biases or emphasis is taken out of the importance of the video.

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  4. Cyberbullying PSA: watch until 1:26

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    • 1. The argument is that cyber bullying affects people as much as physical bullying would
      2. A student created this PSA to spread awareness of how cyber bullying can affect younger kids, and how emotional of a situation it is. Their purpose was to show the viewers the dramatic and impactful effects of cyber bullying
      3. The audience is those who are not aware of how cyber bullying can be as hurtful as physical assault
      4. The desired audience reaction is sympathy and for them to notice their actions more carefully
      5. The PSA suggests that people do not notice how cyber bullying is similar to physical bullying
      6. Pathos is used because it is creating an emotional appeal by showing a little kid that was physically hurt
      7. Logos is used when after every offensive thing is said online, the boy get hurts more. This makes logical sense because it shows how the physical pain was a direct cause of cyber bullying
      8. Ethos is not really used in this PSA
      9. The sounds in this PSA are sad and help with the sad theme of the PSA. It makes the PSA have more of a sad mood.
      10. The different scenes of the boy getting hurt make the watcher more attentive
      11. The PSA only stands out for its use of the character getting hurt, as there are not statistics
      12. There is a low level of abstraction because the PSA is specific to how cyber bullying is similar to physical bullying.

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    • 1. The argument is that there shouldn’t be any more hazing in any groups.
      2. This video was created for the PictureFit video channel series, intended to educate people about all types of fitness and health topics.
      3. The audience is any student or young adult who is joining any group or organization.
      4. The desired reaction is to have young adults stick up for themselves when asked to do things that they don’t want to do in group situations.
      5. The PSA wants the audience to realize that hazing is a real issue and people can be physically and mentally injured due to it.
      6. Pathos is used through the visual symbols through the specific examples shown and the music used. The emotions of the actors and the black and white pictures show how upsetting it can be.
      7. Logos is used when they reference the specific hazing accidents that happened in certain organizations at different schools.
      8. Ethos is used by showing the audience that it is not okay to treat people this way and they don’t have to feel like they have to take it.
      9. The sound is mostly sad music and script of actors speaking. The sad music makes the mood of the video very somber.
      10. This entire video is built off drawing all the images. Therefore, showing the process of drawing as a stop-motion is not only a unique way to give information, but paired with the complimentary symbols and colors, the drawings really come to “life” through the explanations.
      11. The most important points in the video, are the numerous hazing incidents that occur across a lot of group organizations. Most of them are dangerous and a lot of times people don’t know how often they occur.
      12. Abstraction is good in this video because they talk about hazing in many different contexts which may raise the idea that it is more common in many different organizations than they may think.
      13. There is a lot of ambiguity in this video because they don’t go into depth about any of the occurrences and you don’t know a lot that is going on in each “scene.”

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    • 1. The argument this PSA is presenting is that being apart of a group is not worth the hazing.
      2. This was created by students who have seen or experienced hazing. This goal of this campaign is to stop hazing in organizations.
      3. The audience is members of groups who haze or those who want to join these groups.
      4. The desired reaction is awareness of hazing.
      5. If this message is not taken seriously the possible outcome suggest is death or hospitalization.
      6. Pathos is used in the different instances where the people are being harmed or died. It wants to evoke fear and disgust that these things happen and this is the outcome. I think it is mostly effective because it made me think about how horrible hazing could be and how sad it is that these groups let this happen to their members.
      7. Logos is used in the stories that the PSA tells about specific events of hazing.
      8. Ethos is used by naming specific college campuses where these instances occur.
      9. There is a song that plays underneath the entire PSA which gives it an eery vibe. It helps to set the mood of the PSA.
      10. Realism is used in the different scenes created. It shows real instances in which something like this can occur and I think it is extremely effective.
      11. The specific stories, like the one about the girls who drowned, stand out in this PSA because they bring the argument to a real level.
      12. Abstraction is used with all the different stories and scenes coming together to show the various types of hazing and where hazing can occur.
      13. This PSA uses ambiguity in not telling the audience what happens after the scenes that end with “No More Hazing”.

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  5. Topic: (Legalization of Marijuana)

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    • 1. The video is arguing that marijuana users feel “flat,” and therefore marijuana should not be used.
      2. The “Above The Influence” group made this video to persuade people to abstain from marijuana use.
      3. The audience includes those more likely to use marijuana. This means teenagers and college students.
      4. The creators of the video want people to watch the video and no longer approve of marijuana usage/legalization.
      5. The PSA suggests that using marijuana is costly, most noticeably because users are “flat.”
      6. Pathos is used because the girl’s sister/friend is sad that they used to have fun together, but now they don’t because the one girl is always using marijuana.
      7. Logos is used in the relationship between the two girls. Since they don’t have much fun together anymore, it is implied that marijuana had a negative impact on the relationship.
      8. Ethos is not a factor in this PSA.
      9. The quietness was noticeable in this PSA. The non-flat girl’s tone of voice was very powerful.
      10. The still shot of the two girls just sitting around is very powerful, and gives the viewer a real sense of what it is like to be someone who uses marijuana.
      11. The details that stand out in this PSA are the tone of voice of the concerned sister and the still frame.
      12. Abstraction is used in that the PSA because of the idea of separation – the two girls have drifted apart because of marijuana.
      13. Ambiguity is used – it is not shown how much marijuana was used and how often it is used.

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  6. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ov5jBf1UDD8 (Topic: Legalization of Marijuana)
    I thought I would do a counter-argument of my social issue but I honestly don’t think it fits the purpose well.

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  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTmWr-IOzb4 – this is a PSA about binge drinking in general, but my project will focus on how fraternity/sorority members are pressured into binge drinking through normalization.

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  8. Brianna Mentle

    Topic of saving farming and sustainable agriculture: https://vimeo.com/128288736

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    • 1. The video is arguing that we need to make an effort to protect the small portion of land that is sustainable for farming.
      2. The creators are the American Farmland Trust and their goal is to persuade people to protect farmland.
      3. The audience is probably the people who are building over farm land
      4. The desired reaction is for the audience to make a more conscious effort to protect farmland.
      5. If the message is not heeded the PSA suggests that we will not be able to grow enough food to sustain the population.
      6. Pathos is used by showing food and mentioning there might not be enough to sustain the population. They want to create a sense of urgency and demonstrate this is a serious issue.
      7. Logos is used because they provide an analogy of an apple to break down the confusing statistics and information that they explain and break it down into simpler more understandable terms.
      8. Ethos is used because the video was put out by the American Farmland Trust and at the end states they’re sponsored by the USDA, a government agency.
      9. They use a voice over of a clear woman’s voice, her tone shows that the issue is very serious, which supports the severity of the visuals.
      10. The shot of the children playing on the playground is very powerful because it reiterates the idea that this could affect their lives.
      11. The details that stand out are the apple analogy because it is a powerful metaphor. This promotes the argument because farming is all about producing foods like apples so it ties everything back together.
      12. Abstraction is used because of the idea of separating farmlands through building developments.
      13. Ambiguity is used because they don’t go in depth on exactly where this is a problem geographically, they generalize to anywhere there is a lot of development going on.

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  9. This is a 1980’s PSA video of sexual harassment in the workplace

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