Links to rhetorical tools:

Here are links to the rhetorical tools used in this class:

Schemes & Tropes -- Perelman & Olbrechts-Tyteca -- Fallacies

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mason Allenger - Santa Ad #32 Analysis

Ad w/ notes:
Santa 32
I'm convinced that drawing a bald eagle perched upon the crying boy's back or changing the blank background to an American flag are the only manners by which this ad could be made more patriotic. This is an ad by The Cleveland Welding Co., the metal company that makes bikes for Roadmaster. The ad is basically a consolation to whoever is unlucky enough to receive it saying that "I'm sorry you didn't get a bike this year; the company who makes them is too busy supporting the troops to care about you, but you are getting the next best thing! That thing? A war bond. The kid is obviously white, his hair is obviously blonde, and his eyes are most likely blue - the cliche American boy. As such it's no wonder that he only shed two tears. After all, the welding co. is making war materials for his big brother, and the other millions of American troops. Making sacrifices is the American thing to do! Moving on, the most interesting parts of this ad are the author of the words written and the relationship between father figures, Santa, and the welding company. The first three words imply that it's written by a father, or even a grandfather - really any male elder, honestly. But later in the text "This Christmas your dad's bought you.." suggests that it isn't the father speaking. Is it Santa or the company? It's obviously up to interpretation, and it is my belief that the creator of the ad uses such a diverse voice to make sure the ad is compelling to as many people as possible.

5) exaggeration
The writer says that war bonds are the “best kind of present.” This is obviously untrue as best extremely subjective. Hyperbole is used to try to persuade the reader to buy war bonds with the money they didn’t use to buy a bike.

7) apophasis
The Cleveland Welding Co., the company that supplies Roadmaster bikes with their material, obviously makes products with metals. As such, we can safely assume that “war materials” refers to weapons of some sort (guns, tanks, etc.), therefore making the term a euphemism.
5) space
There isn’t much to the picture. There is really only Santa, the boy, and text. There’s no extravagant color or even pictures of their product. To me this is the company saying, “we’re really too busy saving the troops to even make this add, but we will because we care about you”

7) angle
low angle
It’s not incredibly pronounced, but the viewer is slightly looking up towards Santa and the boy. This works to cause the reader to hold the two in a higher light. The boy is making a sacrifice so the reader should too.

8) implied distance
The drawing of Santa and the boy are close-up. Close enough for the viewer to see the tears falling from the disheartened boy’s face and Santa’s big, comforting hand wrapped around his back in a fatherly way. These things couldn’t be accomplished as well at any other distance.

9) figures
The boy in the picture is obviously concrete, and although oddly, so is Santa. The subtracted cheeriness and youthful spirit causes this Santa to lose some of his abstraction. His caring, almost sad eyes and droopy, old beard makes him seem more like a father figure than a magical gift giver.
1) stroke-height ratio
line thickness vs. letter height
The first three words, “I’m Sorry Son” have the greatest stroke-height ratio. That is, the capital letters are relatively tall compared the the thickness of the letters. This creates emphasis on these three words that are perhaps the most influential to the ad as they establish compassion and and the target audience.

6) emphasis
The largest words on the ad, “I’m Sorry Son” are underlined. Not only does this immediately establish that the company is trying to be compassionate, it also raises the question of “who is writing this?” Is it the welding company? Is it santa? Is it a father? Is santa the father?


  1. I agree with your statements. This post card is probably being being sent by an older brother or father figure that supports the sell of bicycles with The Cleveland Welding Co and by supporting this bicycle company you support the cause just as much as they do. They want you to know that Santa is very understanding when he makes you realize why you can't have a bicycle for Christmas, instead you should support the making of war materials. They don't want you to forget the Roadmaster company when the war is over either that should be the first thing on your mind.

  2. I agree with your thesis. I love the comment about the bald eagle on the kids shoulder. In these times, everything stopped during war. I think it's very much along the lines of "you're not important enough, there's a war going on kid" attitude. Interesting about question of who's the voice behind the ad... Who better to break the news but Santa. No one hates Santa... i think you're on the right track!

  3. I think the ad is from roadmaster. Better to pass the blame in a sarcastic ad... just a thought

  4. I think that you have a pretty stellar arguement. I think that the recognition and emphasis of the patriotism of this ad is vital. Especially considering the time that it was published. I also like that you pointed out that this is your Jo Generic American boy, but I think that it would be valuable to your anaysis if you also considered what he is wearing, the fact that he is crying becuase he isn't getting what he wants, and that he is used to getting nice things for Christmas. All of this pulling together would show that this was a rich kid pouting for not getting what he wants. Discussing money and status beyond his race would help you out,