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Some Fallacies of Reasoning Used in Advertising: A Presentation

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1 Some Fallacies of Reasoning Used in Advertising: A Presentation

2 What is a fallacy? A fallacy is simply an error in logical thinking.
It may be accidental or intentional. If it is intentional, then someone is trying to persuade the listener to think a certain way or do a particular action.

3 How a fallacy works A fallacy works by leading a listener’s thinking through what appears to be sound or true reasoning to a certain conclusion. This occurs through a series of connected ideas seemingly stated correctly.

4 Connecting Ideas: Syllogisms
A syllogism is a three part reasoning process. A syllogism is composed of a major premise (a point or proposal to be discussed), a minor premise, and a conclusion.

5 Syllogism example Major premise: All TJH students are cool.
Minor premise: Linda is a TJH student. Conclusion: Linda is cool. The conclusion seems to follow logically and truthfully; however, the conclusion may be quite false.

6 Syllogism example The truth stated in a syllogism may persuade someone into agreeing with the conclusion even though it is obviously untrue. For example, Linda may be a widely known vulgar, uncouth, violent, and ignorant person. Cool? NOT!

7 Advertisers use fallacies.
Advertisers must sell products to stay in business and to earn a living. Advertisers use syllogisms to convince listeners to buy products whether listeners actually agree or not. Persuasion is the name of the game.

8 Examples of some advertising
“Tiger Woods likes and eats Peanut Crunch Cereal, and you should, too!” “Michael Jordan says, ‘What are YOU wearing?’ So why aren’t you wearing what he wears?” “This car is the best there is because you can get it on low installment payments.”

9 Types of Fallacies A huge number of fallacies are waiting to persuade us into doing what is desired. They may come from all around us, again, accidentally or intentionally. The following slides show some common and intentional fallacies used by some advertisers to persuade us to buy products. How many do you recognize?

10 Testimonial Getting someone well known and popular to appear in a commercial for a product. Example: Tiger Woods drives a particular SUV. Therefore, if I buy one, I will be as well loved and respected as he is Example: Vivica A. Fox and Michelle Trachtenberg wear a certain brand of makeup. If I do, too, then I will be as attractive as they are.

11 Bandwagon Most people think it, so it must be true.
Example: This automobile has been the best selling one in this country for three years now, so you should get one, too.

12 Card Stacking This one omits facts which do not support its goal.
Example: We compared our car to four competitors, and ours was best in gas mileage by far, so it should be YOUR choice, too!

13 False Dichotomy (Simplification)
This one states only two positions for you to take although others are possible. Example: Do you want to be fat and gross, or will you eat our sandwich?

14 Circular Reasoning A conclusion which is the same as the major premise
Example: In a good taste test, people chose our candy as having the best taste because it is so good!

15 Non Sequitar Conclusion that does not logically follow from the evidence Example: “With a name like Smuckers it’s got to be good.”

16 Special Pleading (double standard)
Accepting one standard but applying a different one to itself Example: Men can use any old cleaner, but women need OUR cleaner!

17 Hasty Generalization Conclusion based on too few examples
Example: Buy Kenmore because you know your mother says it’s the best.

18 Slippery Slope This one assumes a cause-effect relationship with very suspect connections. “Because I ate those pretzels, I got a new girlfriend, passed my Algebra test, and found a dollar in the stadium!”

19 Notes There are nearly 200 identifiable types of fallacies. Those discussed here are just a few obvious examples. The same fallacy can be identified by different names, depending on your source. Fallacy examples often overlap with other types of fallacies.

20 Conclusions Remember that the important thing is to recognize the fallacy so you can know the truth. Because an argument or commercial uses a fallacy does not mean there is no truth being given. It means the fallacy exists and should be pointed out. The real truth should be the focus.

21 The End

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