Propaganda techniques Or How the media gets Americans to buy, think, and vote
What is propaganda? Persuasive techniques applied by politicians, journalists, television personalities, and others to accomplish their desired ends. These techniques persuade us not through the give-and-take of argument and debate, but through manipulating symbols and basic human emotions.
Testimonial Use of a celebrity (athletes, musicians, actors) or authority figure (doctors, auto mechanics, plumbers) to endorse or promote a product, cause, idea. Products Examples: Troy Polomalu and L T anwswering mother’ call; meeting at end of tunnel Michael Jordan and Hanes Dentists and toothpastes Jessica Simpson and Pro Active Acne medication
Plain Folks Use of a common man, ordinary person to promote a product. Scenes of family, blue-collar workers, ordinary people Products Oil-man, T-Boone Pickins-- energy plan Brawny - lumberjack—paper towels Vonage – saved families hundreds of $ each year
Plain Folks Use with Causes (lofty purpose) Ordinary families using CHIP (health care for children) Joe the Plumber—ordinary citizen used to show values of all
Bandwagon Use of threat of not being one of the crowd, being left out is substituted for evidence of the quality of the product Use of appeal to the subject to follow the crowd, to join in because others are doing so as well.
Bandwagon Products such as the Verizon Network Walmart ad-everyone tries to rush into store at same time Gatorade-Everyone follows Sidney Crosby’s lead in drinking Gatorade Nike-Just do it
Card-stacking Providing only information that is positive to an idea or product and omitting information that is negative to the idea or product Ex: Warnings given at end of drug commercials
Card-stacking Use of technique to sell products Lipitor ads—positive information given at first; negative side effects rushed at end Alcohol ads—pleasant setting—pretty people, warnings about drunken driving and dangers to pregnant women
Card-stacking Used to promote causes or ideas (Lofty purpose) BP—clean energy, environmentally friendly; do not address fact that it is not available in near future
Glittering generalities Use of words that have different positive meanings but are linked to highly valued concepts. Ex: patriotism, loyalty, green, environmentally friendly, low fat; no carbohydrates, organic
Glittering generalities Used to sell products “New and Improved” Tide, Windex etc. Chevy—”American Built; Solid as a Rock” Room deodorizer— “Smells Like the Great Outdoors”
Glittering generalities Used for lofty purposes Examples: Chevy – “American Built; Solid as a Rock” –Promotes American Pride
Hasty generalization Use of small group to represent the position of the whole group. Ex: Even though it is the first day, I can tell this is going to be a boring course. E-Harmony commercials: “I found my soul-mate. You can too. ” I lost 50 pounds Dexatrim; you can too.
Red Herring Use of change in subject to distract the reader from topic under discussion. BP commercial displays windmills in background to distract us from the real issue of oil prices
Transfer Transfer is a device by which the propagandist carries over the authority and prestige of something we respect and revere to something he would have us accept. Use of feeling of respect or reverence to something advertisers want public to accept or buy. Ex: White lab coats to sell pain relievers and make up. Names of cars –Infiniti, Mustang, Taurus (bull)
Transfer Used to sell products Example: Bridgestone—official tires of the NFL M&M’s official candy of the Olympics Used for lofty purposes: Save the Children Network—authority of valued institution; therefore, give to the charity
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