Print advertisements usually have a complementary image and text. Popularly rhetorical figures are used in the copy that helps in persuasion of the readers. Tropes are usually used in advertisements to convey the meaning of the text in a non-standard way. Visual rhetoric and use of metaphors in advertisements is a common tool used by advertisers.
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Often, to draw the attention of the reader, visual images placed within texts in order to draw an implied meaning or similarity between text and visual expression. Usually these visual images are used to help the readers to interpret connection between the text and picture rather than the advertiser explicitly defining the relationship.
This paper analyses the content of the PETA print advertisement and identify the implied rhetorical figures used in the paper. As use of tropes is a common feature in any advertisement, it helps in divulging a strong persuasive meaning to the readers.
The PETA advertisement under discussion uses tropes such as metonym, hyperbole, and resonance to convey the meaning that we must stop animal slaughter for fashion. The paper will first describe the print advertisement and then analyze the tropes and visual imagery used in the advertisement.
This is definitely an environmentalist campaign to save slaughter of animals for leather and/or fur. The PETA advertisement bears and image of a naked girl who says – “Fur? I’d rather go naked.” The woman in the visual (featuring Khloe Kardashian) wears her hair is an unkempt manner almost resembling an animal, and looks at ease with her nakedness.
This campaign is to influence readers to say no to animal slaughter for use of animal skin or fur for making apparels and accessories. The copy of the advertisement on top left hand corner in small font states – “Animals killed for their fur are electrocuted, drowned, beaten, and often skinned alive. Be comfortable in your own skin. Let animals keep theirs.”
The text conveys two messages – first is an assertion as to the inhuman acts that are done to derive the fur that become our fashion accessory that tries to incite a feeling of awe and pain for the traumatized animals. Another statement pleads readers to discard the skin of animals to save them and rather be “comfortable” in their “own skin”.
The visual image carries this message with the image of the woman standing comfortably in sidelong way, stark naked. The main message of the advertisement is to discard use of animal slaughter for their skin and be comfortable with the one that we have.
The print advertisement of PETA uses the informative texts that provide the direct implication of using animal fur for apparels – “Animals killed for their fur are electrocuted, drowned, beaten, and often skinned alive.” This line demonstrates a direct use of hyperbole in the print advertisement. A hyperbole is a trope is usually used in advertisements to make an exaggerated or intense claim.
The claim that is made in the above quoted line shows the inhumanity of human beings against animals to derive fur from their body. Further, it should be noted that the sentence does not make any use of the words “fur” or “kin”. With the use of words, like “skinned” the readers automatically infers that the sentence is in relation to skinning of animals for their skin or fur. The text is written in small fonts in white.
The next two lines state, “Be comfortable in your own skin. Let animals keep theirs,” written in small text but the test color changes to skin color or yellow. The use of metaphor in the second sentence is clear. The first sentence states that human beings should be happy in their own skin and let the animals retain theirs. Here “skin” is a metaphor used to indicate fur or leather skinned off animals.
The second sentence also uses ellipse wherein one word is intentionally not used to emphasize its absence. The second sentence does not use the word “skin” but it directly conveys the meaning to the readers that the advertiser indicates the word “skin” of the animals.
The use of tropes in the text builds the imagery of animals beings slaughtered and killed for getting a fashion accessory. The imagery creates a fear factor among readers indicating a clear sense of fright. The rhetorical figures demonstrate that the text imparts these feelings to the readers.
The next text comes in connection with the visual image. The text is placed on the image indicating as if the woman in the picture is the speaker of the words. The use of resonance and metonym is clear as the text is placed in juxtaposition with the image. The image carries the picture of the naked woman with ruffled hairs, almost giving out an animalistic air.
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She indicates animalistic instincts of humans and therefore clearly connotes that humans do not require animal skin to be comfortable, rather, they are animal enough to be comfortable in their own skin. Further, the image is resonant of the text.
The text uses the same color fonts as that of the image indicating a clear similarity between what is being said through the text and the image. Therefore, the picture produces a heightened sense of reality wherein the model discards clothes and wears “skin” for sake of fashion without slaughtering animals.
Further the advertisement also uses a one word rhetorical question – “Fur?” the rhetorical question asserts the meaning of the campaign and imparts the unasked question i.e. should we use fur? The question asserts the true meaning of the campaign that indicates that fur should be discarded. To intensify the emphases, the text, written in big bold fonts, makes a visual appeal to the readers.
The explicit claim of the advertisement is to appeal to all to discard use of fur or leather from their fashion trend. The appeal is to save animals. The trope used to indicate these are metonym, rhetoric question, resonance, and hyperbole. The emphasis is to assertion that animals are slaughtered for their skin to help humans satisfy their taste of fashion.
Indirectly, the advertisement asserts that people who wear fur or leather are actually responsible for animal slaughter. The advertisement uses various rhetorical figures to present this negative meaning through a more positive outlook.
The positivity of the advertisement is to demonstrate the alternative to killing animals by use of visual metaphor wherein a woman shows herself in her “own skin” rather than clad in fur or leather. The text creates the imagery that is confronted with the visual image of the girl who represents the text that re-emphasizes the message to stop usage of fur.