Visual Argument Analysis: Pedigree’s Otis

Pedigree’s adoption drive advertisement is an emotional appeal aimed towards consumers that own pets. Through an argument based on emotion and values, the advertisement successfully proposes a plan of action towards the consumer audience to help dogs find a home. In essence, the advertisement logically reasons, “If you buy our food, we will donate money to dogs without a home. If we donate money to dogs without a home, you will save dogs.” Through clever techniques such as direct contact in camera orientation and a personal anecdote of the puppy, Pedigree convinces the audience through appeals to emotion and values that buying their products will, indeed, save a dog’s life.
Pedigree’s advertisement’s intended audience is the consumer public. However, the advertisement’s actual audience can be considered one of all ages and all backgrounds rather than simply the consumer public. For example, a child can easily be persuaded by the emotional advertisement. Once the child has been persuaded, he or she will most likely tell his or her parents to buy the product rather than a different brand simply because of the cute puppy he or she saw on the print advertisement. Ultimately, through the emotional image and story, Pedigree breaks existing consumer loyalty that competing companies have by stealing the hearts of consumers, convincing them that by buying this product, the consumer will contribute to a larger change in the world rather than simply feeding their dog.
Also, by using the name Otis for the Pug’s name, an older audience is aimed towards to evoke traditional, and emotional responses. One significant factor to understand when reading the print advertisement is to have watched the move The Adventures of Milo and Otis. The movie, in short, is about a cat and a dog that helps each other survive and find mates and homes together. Obviously being an emotion-evoking movie, it is important when a reader comes across the advertisement. Pedigree’s clever decision to name the Pug Otis causes the reader to recall the movie and automatically feel emotionally attached to the puppy, making it easier for Pedigree to convince its audience to purchase the product.

Through the personal anecdote and image of the dog staring through a fence, Pedigree intends to make the audience feel compassion for the dog and hopefully buy the product that is said to help the dog. The argument is carried out by using an appeal to both emotions and values. The direct gaze of the dog makes the audience feel as if it is staring directly at them. Through this, the audience is put on a guilt trip that makes them think, “I must help this dog.” If the picture is not convincing enough, the audience may move on to the text. Already a large factor in the print advertisement because of its bright yellow color, the text is an anecdote of the average day for a homeless dog like Otis. The uneventful, despairing schedule causes the audience to pity the animal making room for Pedigree to further force the audience to take action and buy the product. Essentially, the advertisement tugs at the heart’s strings in order to promote the product.
One last significant technique Pedigree uses is the final sentence within the text. It says, “Help us help dogs.” Being a very abrupt, short statement, Pedigree draws attention to the sentence by making it shorter than others and putting it in a bold face. Through reading the sentence, Pedigree makes the audience feel as if they are included in Pedigree’s movement of getting homeless dogs adopted. The audience is then provoked to feel as if they can contribute their part in the movement if they buy the product to help animals find “loving homes.”
All in all, Pedigree utilizes appeals to emotion, values, tradition, and reason in order to persuade the audience to buy their product. Through these, Pedigree convinces the audience that buying their product will help them save a homeless dog. Pedigree chooses to use an emotion-evoking picture, personal anecdote, background information, and loaded text in order to persuade the audience that buying Pedigree pet food will ultimately help homeless animals.

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