Analyzing Persuasive Appeals in Advertising Dry skin is one thing…But extra dry skin is a whole different animal

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Analyzing Persuasive Appeals in Advertising

Dry skin is one thing…But extra dry skin is a whole different animal.

  • That’s why Lubriderm offers a very different lotion. Advanced Therapy, enriched with vitamins and nutrients, was created especially for the tight, uncomfortable feeling of extra dry skin. So it heals dry skin as it moisturizes. See you later alligator.
  • What’s the central appeal of this advertisement?


  • Who wants to have scaly skin?
  • Smooth skin is considered beautiful. That is why thousands of women pay for plastic surgery each year. It is better to look good. The ethical appeal is by far the strongest because it can be the most logical. It also doesn’t help that there is a beautiful model sitting in the chair that has FLAWLESS skin, and her toe is touching the skin of the alligator to give you the "yucky" reaction.
  • Who wants to feel "yucky"?


  • If you have Lubriderm-Advanced Therapy - you will feel better about yourself and more "accepted." It may even foster self-esteem for a person that doesn’t consider herself "pretty."  The ad also says that it "heals“ skin, thereby making the reader think she has an illness that can be cured. (Not to mention the vitamins and nutrients, so it’s good for you too!!)


  • Lubriderm is the best lotion because it is a different lotion. Dry skin is apparent in everyone’s life, but Lubriderm can change that.

This ad is a classic example of the "fix all" concept. All of your dry skin problems will go away if you use Lubriderm. The key word in this ad, though, is Advanced Therapy.  It makes the reader think that she is getting high quality lotion. The very methodical use of words in this article contributes to its effectiveness as well: * “Uncomfortable feeling, tight" - Who wants to feel uncomfortable? * "Enriched" - has the connotation of being enhanced, higher quality * "Advanced " - "above the normal". * “Therapy” - Therapy has the connotation of some type of "ongoing treatment" with the end result being better than when you started.

Target Advertisement

  • This ad is successful because it works on many different levels. Ultimately, it offers the audience a way to feel better about spending money at Target by offering to donate a percentage of the bill to a school of their choice.
  • Why feel guilty about buying that new dress if you know 1% of it will go towards little Johnny’s elementary school?

Ethical Appeals

  • The advertisement uses actress Marlee Matlin, a woman who has publicly struggled and succeeded in the entertainment industry today despite having the disability of being deaf.  Her hard–earned success gives her automatic credibility with the audience.
  • The teacher that influenced Matlin is a nun, Sister Jane Endee, and is pictured smiling and holding an old book, also lending a degree of credibility, since she is a woman of substantial religious belief who took the time to invest in the life of a child with special needs.
  • The fact that Target is willing to put a portion of its earnings into an educational fund helps to increase its respectability with the audience.

Emotional Appeals

  • The two women smiling and sitting close together implies a close and personal relationship. Also included in the advertisement is a picture of Matlin when she was in sixth grade, giving the reader a literal sense of the "then" versus "now" image and the various accomplishments that she’s had since then.
  • The quotations that overlay the picture add to its emotional content: "Miss Endee said you don’t just listen with your ears" and "I learned to understand with my heart." In order to overcome the difficulties of having a disability, Miss Endee reached out in a special way to Matlin and helped her succeed.
  • Also appealing are the feelings inspired by the success of overcoming difficulties, all due to the help of an involved teacher. Since Matlin can point to an individual teacher that has helped her to overcome difficulties in her life, it makes the readers think of teachers in their past who have influenced them.  The ad even directly addresses the individual reader when it asks, "Who’s your Miss Endee?" in red ink, at the bottom of the page.

Logical Appeals

  • This ad implies that if you have to go out and spend money at a store, you might as well be investing it in a good cause at the same time.
  • Because of the strength of the ethical and emotional appeals in persuading the audience, this appeal does not have to be as strong.

Next Assignment: Analytical Essay!

  • Compose a cogent rhetorical analysis of a magazine/newspaper ad of your choosing.
  • Your ad must contain both visuals and text.
  • You must attach your ad to the essay when turning it in.


  • Identify what publication the advertisement is from.
  • Identify what persuasive strategies are being used. (What claims are being made? What claims are suggested or implied? What are the underlying assumptions? How much truth is conveyed by the advertisement?)
  • Examine the ad’s:
  • subject
  • occasion
  • audience
  • purpose
  • speaker
  • tone
  • Examine which appeals are being used and how they are being used? Identify the strongest appeal.
  • Rate the advertisement’s overall effectiveness (1-10, 10 being the highest). Explain why you gave it this particular rating.

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