Persuasion Essay, Research Paper

Malina Patrick


Homework Assignment #2

Dr. Kenneth Haught

February 23, 2000


For this homework assignment, I was asked to create or find two examples of persuasion, and explain the examples using the vocabulary found in chapter 6 of the text The Art and Science of Persuasion by Deirdre D. Johnston. The two examples that I will be discussing were found in The Dickinson Press, Tuesday, February 15, 2000 issue. One was taken out of the ?Opinion? section of the paper (referred to as example 1), and the other was seized out of the ?Life Style? section (referred to as example 2).

Example #2, the Sears advertisement, is an example of a structural strategy. It uses the ?foot-in-the-door? technique in a very obvious way. In bold print, the President?s Day Sale that subtracts an additional 10% off of already sale-marked merchandise and zero financing is a tactic used to lure consumers into the Sears stores to purchase products.

It is a two-sided argument. The audience is aware of the costly amount appliances and electrical equipment is sold for at Sears. To solve this problem, Sears offered a sale of certain products that are almost always in demand with the consumers.

I think reversed inductive reasoning was used. The sale was the main statement made. Then examples of what products that were offered at the sale price were listed in fine print at the bottom of the advertisement. The reasoning appeared to me in this order:

1. President Sale at Sears.

2. 10% off already marked sale items with zero financing lay-away plan until July 2000.

3. The sale only applied to certain items: audio and video merchandise, all home appliances, and the brand names listed at the bottom of the page (Amana, Maytag, Kenmore, Whirlpool, RCA, and GE).

The rationales and/or needs and values used in the advertisement was the task persuasive tool. A consumer can read the advertisement and rationalize that since the dishwasher is on sale, the consumer figures that he/she might as well purchase the new to replace the old. Analogy was used as well. Any major exceptions to the sale were listed below in very fine print. This tactic was used as a distraction tool. I don?t think many consumers would take the time to break out the magnifying glass to figure out the exceptions to the sale.

In my opinion, this was an excellent example of structural strategy persuasion. The persuasive statement was stated, used techniques to entice consumers, and presented a two-sided argument to the statement. This is a classic textbook case of how persuasion should be presented.

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