This ad ” Believes” was created for the presidential campaign of 2012 in which President Obama was trying to be re-elected. The United States’ social scenario featured the consequences of the housing collapse and the credit crisis of 2007. Americans and their dreams were stopped by the great recession; therefore, it was necessary to re-construct the American Dream. It was necessary to fuel people with hope of a country that could recover from the housing bubble through hard work and a more social oriented public administration. The target audience was the US middle and lower class. The middle class’ economic growth was paralyzed by the great recession while the lower class expected to socially move upwards. Middle and lower class citizens were eager to see governmental changes since many lost their jobs, houses and credit due to predatory lending practices. With that said, it would be quite interesting to tailor a presidential campaign based on strong national cultural elements such as the American Dream. The “Believes” advertisement predominantly used pathos in order to achieve its goal which was gaining voters through the re-conceptualization of the American Dream.
The ad “believes”, used an “inspiration” style that stimulated potential voters to not only vote for President Obama but also conquered more voters through the word of mouth; which by the way is one of the most powerful marketing tools. The ad started the re-conceptualization of the American Dream, which later was re-stated by President Obama in one of his speeches (Wyatt- Nichol 271). The President repeatedly and emphatically said: “I believe”. This statement sets up what will be the re-conceptualization of the American Dream. The ad’s objective was to persuade the target audience by appealing to their emotions. It aimed at creating identification between President Obama’s ideals and voters. I consider that pronouncing emphatically words and phrases generates contagious motivation and hope. The ad featured a new beginning; the sun was rising, the alarm clock was ringing, a brand new day was just starting and Americans were getting ready for another work day. It transmitted a feeling of renewal and restart. That made the listener feel excited, looking forward to positive changes. One can clearly see an appeal to pathos through the incitation of emotions.
Other factors such as people expressing approval, the word “FORWARD” was appearing in the end of the ad and the President said: “we are a nation of workers and dreamers”, brought together tangible and intangible realities. The President presented his ideas and ideals and those induced Americans to think of their capability to move forward. There was a mix of emotion and logic; Americans can perfectly carry out their dreams through hard work. The appeal to ethos could also be identified since the United States is recognized and respected worldwide by its hard-working people.
One can also observe the appeal to logos since ideas such as “economic growth through a wider middle class” were presented; however, the ad predominantly focused on persuading by appealing to people’s emotions. In addition, when the President brought together tangible and intangible realities, clearly represented by the words “work” and “dream”, one can perceive how the concept of the American Dream is present (Wyatt- Nichol 272) and acts as an important element during President Obama’s campaign and consequently re-election.
To conclude, I strongly believe that the ad accomplished its motivational goal through the usage of pathos as a rhetorical strategy. It brought up the American Dream elements that are entrenched in Americans’ lives. In addition, President Obama not only brought up the American Dream but also re-defined it.
Wyatt- Nichol, Heather. “The enduring myth of the American dream: mobility, marginalization and hope.” International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior. 14. 2 (2011): 258-279. Print