The Old Spice Man: Commercials as Rhetoric
Since we talked about Monroe’s Motivated Sequence on Wednesday I’ve been thinking about how commercials serve as prime examples of rhetoric in our modern lives. Almost every commercial that comes on T.V. follows the pattern established by Monroe. First comes the attention getter, second the need is established, then a solution is presented to satisfy the need, the audience is prompted to visualize the need in action and then the audience is called to action. With all this in mind I was curious to see how Monroe’s Sequence could be applied to the recently popular “Old Spice Man” commercials. I am definitely able to identify the attention getter: the whole commercial, with its absurd scene changes and dry humor is really an attention getter in and of itself. In terms of establishing a need, this too is presented when the “Old Spice Man” asks “Does your man look like me? No. Can he smell like me? Yes.” As for the solution, I think that element is also clearly presented. The solution is that you/your man should buy old spice.
It’s the other two element’s of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence that I’m not sure are present. Is it arguable that both visualization and call to action are included in this commercial (and others like it)? The other question that came to me while thinking about commercials as rhetoric was whether or not it matters that these elements typically show up blended and/or out of order. How does this affect our classification of commercials as rhetoric or the impact commercials have in a rhetorical situation. What do y’all think?