At what cost does a company deserve to be taken off of life-support? While Gregory Peck would say that a surviving, long-lived company is worth saving, Danny Divito sees it differently. “Who cares?” he asks. The company is actually an investment, and no investment in need of life-support is worth saving. Not only do Peck and Divito see the company differently, they also relate to their audience on different levels. In their speeches in Other People’s Money, Peck and Divito use ethos, pathos and logos with varying amounts of success in their stockholder addresses. By analyzing the way that ethos, pathos and logos effected the audience for first Peck, then Divito, it is possible to determine for whom to vote and why.
Beginning with wonderful composure backed by a familiar audience, Gregory Peck begins creating creditability for his case by mentioning his experience and personal relationship with the voters. The audience is to believe what he has to say because of his history and because some of them have worked side by side with him. They are supposed know that through the experiences they have shared with him, he is competent and has good character. Peck also reminds the audience that this is “the 39th (meeting) of which I am addressing you as your Chief Executive.” This one statement brings up history, Peck’s high position and his connection to the audience. By emphasizing his similarity to the audience, as well as bringing up his position in the company, Peck does an excellent job of building his credibility (Adler and Elmhorst 428).
Peck’s attempt at logos comes next and is provided through examples in the past where the company had its better days. He mentions that once, the company was strong. Twice, Peck mentions that this is the company’s 73rd annual meeting, an obvious attempt to transfer some of the company’s positive results from the past to the present. According to his logic since that was true then in the future the company will become prosperous again. This is by far the weakest part of Peck’s argument. Perhaps because he has no logical reason to keep the company, he relies on ethos and pathos to persuade the audience.
Peck relies heavily on pathos to encourage the audience to vote for him (Adler and Elmhorst 429). He speaks of days past when investing in the company made people feel good about themselves. He also tells his audience that they should have faith and believe that the company will become strong again although he has no proof. Peck constantly speaks in the past tense and encourages the voters to use this past as good enough proof that their dream for the future is possible. This also incorporates the idea that people should see the individual people working in the company and feel sorry for them. Peck’s personal attacks against Divito could fall in any of the ethos, logos, pathos categories, but they seem to be highly based in and targeted toward emotion.
Peck has known the audience for a long time. He plays upon that fact and the idea that they are all friends. By using this technique he hopes to make the audience his friend and have them band against Divito. He is searching for brotherhood and using and past relations in hopes of swaying the audience to his side. Peck uses a “Motivated Sequence” approach to first show that Divito is the problem, and why the voters need to do something about him (Adler and Elmhorst 433). He then presents his solution to the problem: hold on to the stock. Peck next paints a rosy picture depicting the stock price rising if they follow his solution. He calls his audience to action by asking them to send a message “to every Garfinkle in this land,” by voting against Divito. Divito, however, sees things differently.
Danny Divito builds his creditability through competence and composure of his speech. He seems not to focus on his character. Divito’s competence is shown mainly through his past success in other business deals and expert knowledge of business transactions. Peck himself mentioned how many companies Divito had dealt with. Aiding his creditability, Divito’s composure is evident throughout the smooth delivery of his speech. Like Peck, Divito empathized his similarity to the audience (Adler and Elmhorst 428). Unlike the first speaker, however, Divito uses money, not the company to provide the link.
Divito effectively uses logos by bringing up current facts in response to Peck’s historical information. He speaks of how the stock price is worth less now than when it was bought a few months ago. He also uses the logical argument that the reason that investors invested money was to make money. However strong Peck’s appeal toward pathos, this logical monetary argument surely made people in the audience listen. Divito provides an example of another company that was very good at what it did, but was also obsolete. Divito utilizes an argument based more on logos than on pathos.
Divito uses pathos to some extent. He tries to make the audience angry with the town and the company for stealing their money. By personifying the company as a thief he hopes to make the audience want to punish the thief by voting to breakup the company. This also is an excellent method of making the audience think of the company itself, rather than the individual workers as Peck would like them to focus on (Adler and Elmhorst 425).
Knowing that his audience consists of investors in the company, Divito also knows that investors generally give money in hopes of making money. By using this idea of greed and the want for more money he uses the facts to sway the audience to become cold and distant from the company. He knows that the audience hates him. He also realizes that there is no way to become their friend. Therefore, he does not try to do so. Furthermore, demonstrating his honesty, Divito openly admits he does not want to be their friend. But he does play on their common sense and their want of money to get his point across. Divito effectively deals with a tough audience by focusing on money instead of himself. Furthermore, he delays bringing up his main point until he has provided some information to back it up. This avoids losing the audience by saying “You should sell your stock, and here’s why,” (Adler and Elmhorst 424).
After examining the methods by which Peck and Divito relate to their audience using ethos, logos and pathos, it is evident to group 7 that Divito is the right person for whom to vote. While most people might not be proud of this decision, going against the direction in which their emotions pull them, true investors will have no trouble using logical appeals to back up their choice. Viewers of the movie are most likely detached entirely form the company, and therefore are effected more strongly by the logos-based argument provided by Danny Divito.
In closing, this discussion of the ethos, logos and pathos arguments made by Gregory Peck and Danny Divito show that Peck’s gripping emotion based pleas were outweighed by Divito’s logical and tactful delivery of his solution. In Other People’s Money, two different speaking styles are placed head to head, and in the end it is clear which one was more effective.