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3 Visual Argument Analysis

Simplicity Breeds Clarity


In recent years, younger Americans have become more conscience of the products they
consume. As a result of this trend, young adults are now the target of focused and specialized
food marketing and advertising efforts. This is an effective strategy as todays young adults are
tomorrows principal consumers. A successful advertisement will have four qualities: lasting,
effective targeting, entertaining, and eye-catching. An operational definition is a written
description of what is being visually observed. For effective promotion, the image and text must
complement each other. The print advertisement for Oscar Mayer Selects is effective because it
meets the criteria presented in the operational definition.
Selects is the only Oscar Mayer lunchmeat brand making the no artificial claim. In an
attempt to sell natural, everyday ingredients, the appearance of the print advertisement is simple
with only one message to communicate to its customers. The background of the advertisement
appears to be of a beach-like setting, with the top portion being bluish and the bottom portion
imitating the look of sand. The advertisement depicts an image of a young man who is wearing a
shower cap and goggles, and whose skin color is two-toned with a spray gun pointed at him. It
suggests that the top part of the mans body has been artificially spray painted to be two-three
shades darker than his natural shade; the bottom part of the man is his normal skin tone. The
young man is posed in a way to imply that this is a normal routine, with his head tilted up and
arms spread apart. The background color of the top portion of the ad is blueish to mimic the
ocean, while the bottom of the advertisement displays an image of a container of natural slow
roasted turkey breast sandwich meat that is placed on top of the sand. The label affixed on the

top of the container appears to be highlighting a new Selects line of all-natural meats, displaying
words such as, no artificial ingredients, no artificial preservatives, no added hormones,
no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no gluten, and no by-product. The text states,
Some things need artificial colors. We dont., which is displayed in a large font, in all white,
capital letters on the center of the ad.
By placing the print ad inside of a young women's magazine such as Cosmo, which has a
targeted audience of mostly young women, it supports the fact that there is a trend towards
younger consumers for healthier eating options. Young adults represent an important
demographic because of their spending power, their purchasing influence, and as future adult
consumers. By showing an apparently half-naked young man being sprayed-tanned, the author of
the print ad is bringing attention to the artificial habits of young adults.
The method by which this information is being presented tells the audience that the
creator of this ad has researched the topic and is prepared to present the information to others,
displaying the appeal of ethos. The fact that both visual and textual evidence are used to explore
the trend surrounding artificial coloring of skin and food in young adults lends more credibility
to the argument overall by incorporating these sources of information that convey the same
conclusion. The audience is first shown the image of the young man receiving an artificial tan.
Next, the audience has the ability to compare the conclusions that they had recently made to
those entailed in the verbal description shown on the center of the ad. This process will
encourage the reader to look at the issue from different viewpoints that they had not previously
given any thought to. Though this ad does not have a direct influence on the emotions of the
audience, it has the ability to make it more likely for the reader to adopt the viewpoint intended
by the author.

The logical fallacy this print ad contains assumes that although its audience is concerned
with healthier eating options, it is not informed enough on the behaviors of young adults. By
visually attaching the text, Some things need artificial colors. We dont. to the ad, the author
assumes that young adults are susceptible to the artificial lifestyle. Although this is not true of all
young adults, the author does not present this assumption in a subtle manner, as the quoted text is
the only text that is written on the ad.
Had I not taken a second glimpse of the print advertisement, I would not have known
what was being sold. At first glance, before viewing the bottom of the ad, I was under the
assumption that this print advertisement was selling a spray tan or self-tanning product, as there
is a beach-like setting displayed in the background with a man receiving an artificial spray tan.
However, the image of the spray-tanned man and the beach-like background caught my attention
and appears to convey the theme of what is being sold, an all-natural product using simple,
everyday ingredients. The authors argument provides a great example of comparison and a great
appeal to my emotions, but just lacks the necessary facts to support his ideas.

Works Cited
Practical Argument. 2nd ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Bedford, 2014.
75-87. Print.
Cosmopolitan 1 Apr. 2016: 109. Print.