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Jeffery Jedi Ludwig

James Wilson
RHET 1312
February 19, 2014
Project 1 final draft
1913, a year of excitement which featured the ratification of the seventeenth amendment, the
Rockefeller Foundation was established, Death Valley in California set a new record high at 134:F, the
crossword puzzle was born, Charlie Chaplin began his career in film, the Mona Lisas two years abroad in
the possession of the art-thief Vincenzo Perugia was brought to an end with his capture, and Arthur
Pop Momand created his comic strip Keep Up With The Joneses. In America, to be Keeping up with
the Joneses entails to strive to match one's neighbors in spending and social standing. Typically one
would use this phrase to make reference to making special efforts to stay in line with the current
cutting-edge technologies used in the household or maintaining attention to popular trends of the time
of which societys ideal American family would be engaged. This phrase fell out of popular use with
time, but received special interest again when the brand Commodore began running its advertisement
campaigns in the 1980s with the phrase Whos keeping up with Commodore? One such advertisement
(1) was utilized in the marketing for their Commodore Executive 64 computer, but how effective was
this in conjunction with the rest of the advertisement? Furthermore, how did it help the ad succeed in
its goals of persuading a customer to purchase their product? To answer these questions well need to
dive right in to get inside the minds of the marketing agents in order to find out if the appeals to ethos,
pathos, logos, and kairos were sufficient to cause their claim, backing, and grounds to persuade the
viewer through an effective advertisement that wouldnt be debunked with the exposure of any logical
fallacies or effective rebuttals.
The advertisement reveals that the following overarching enthymeme: claim; Commodore 64
executive is a computer that you (reader of the ad) should buy, reason; this is because the computer is
designed for the movers of the world, grounds; the combination of portability and power help those
who wish to make a difference in the world or at the very least do not want to be lest in the dust by the
Joneses. This creates the warrant that to be part of the movers of the world (like the Joneses are),
one would need a computer like the Commodore 64 executive to stay on the cutting edge. Backing for
this argument is minimal due to a lack of specifications on the computer other than 64k memory to
support that it is reasonable to assume that this is a cutting edge machine, but the company does offers
more information to those who request mail from them. The lack of distinct information on the
computing power of the machine, however, is most likely a restriction of the medium it was presented
in. Because this page was presented as a printed magazine article, having a bunch of numbers and
specifications on the machine would require likely require them to cover up some of the elements in the
advertisement that increase their appeal to pathos and wouldnt be of benefit to the average consumer
of the time as many were not aware of what the technical working of a computer were actually doing. It
is because of this that I state that the marketers were aware of the limitations imposed on them by
running a magazine advertisement and found a good balance in how to present their information. This
enthymeme is not inherently broken, but it does fall to the problem that in order for it to be considered
correct the reader must be convinced by the content of the advertisement.
The advertisements usage of the appeals seems to be lacking in some categories, but others
seem to be strongly supported which makes this argument extremely slanted. If you are not swayed in
the categories which are best supported, then youll find little in the other areas to sway you. In their
attempts to appeal to pathos, they utilize the man, as he is successfully providing nice things for his
family to enjoy which conveys to the reader the mans desire to be a caregiver to his family, and causes
the viewer to desire to be like the man in the advertisement, or (in the incident of a female viewer) to
be provided for and have the ability to live like those in the advertisement. The Advertisements
appealing color usage via the setting helps to invoke the idea of a tropical poolside retreat, which causes
a viewer to associate good times, relaxation, and dreams with the product. However, the company
seems to have a lack of ethos in their advertisement, which is due to the fact that there is none present
other than the commodore logo. While the general populists opinion that the commodore brand is
reliable does help their usage of ethos come to light, it is noticeable that there is nothing to support the
brand other than what people think of it, which would cause anyone who has not heard of the company
to have no evidence of an appeal to ethos from the advertisement. When attempting to appeal to the
logos of the customer they seem to have two main appeals, first that the ability to work in more places
increases productivity, and secondly that being able to use a single system between work and home
allows for consistent high level work to be done. The timeliness of the advertisement, while it doesnt
do anything for todays consumer, would be well placed because at the time of this ads creation this
was a powerful computer for a booming computer market. While the advertisement does seem to be
fairly effective overall, the argument could be seen to have some weaknesses which need to be
addressed. An issue may arise that the advertisement never gives specifications outside of having 64k
memory, so words like outstanding and astonishing are matters of opinion, and it is possible that the
consumer may be unhappy with the actual computational power and graphics of the machine.
However, in response to this, one must be aware that during the 1980s there was less awareness of the
technical terms involved with the actual workings of a computer, so the actual specifications may not
have done the average consumer any good. In addition, they seem willing to send out much more
substantial information if the customer mails them so the lack of information makes sense from a
practical standpoint because, when it is sent out in this fashion, they do not have to use print space on
specifications and could deliver the information to more serious buyers. One also might argue that the
poolside scene is not an optimal work environment, so the man advertised may have a portable
computer that he can use poolside, but hed be able to accomplish more if he was working in an office
with a stationary computer that has a higher computing power due to the manufacturers not having to
contend with a project designed to be portable. The advertisers however could probably respond say
that while it is not as powerful as a comparable model that is stationary, that has always been the crux
of portable computers and owners are aware that there is a tradeoff between portability and power.
The strength of this computer is that you can still do high level work on it, whether it is in the office,
your home or your home away from home as described in the advertisement. Learning multiple
computer languages and systems was much more difficult at the time, so having a computer that can be
taken from your office at work to your home office, home away from homes office, or on vacation with
you that you are familiar with is a powerful asset to someone wishing to keep up with the Joneses. The
ability to do effective work wherever you choose to be can be given to you through this computer
system and it is an important step for any mover of the world.
After sorting through a large list of logical fallacies, I was unable to find any place in this
advertisement where any were committed, save one. A viewer could argue that presenting the man in
the way he is portrayed is something akin to an appeal to flattery (also known as the apple polishing
fallacy), due to him being implied to be a mover of the world and being seen lounging poolside while
using his computer with family/friends behind him on the opposite end of the pool and him seemingly
enjoying success to imply that it is possible due to his usage of the product. But the grounds are not
expressed concretely enough in my opinion to make this an actual committed case of apple polishing
and that it is rather just an appeal to pathos through tapping into the average mans desires to be a
successful provider to his household to encourage him that he can enjoy the comfort that this man and
his family enjoys by buying the product.
In conclusion, the ad reaches the audience effectively. The argument they utilize features all of
the rhetorical appeals and is free of any glaring logical fallacies. In addition to the solid argument that it
presents the agency seems to have any possible rebuttals prepared for, which cements this as an
excellent example for what one would need to do in order to present an effective argument through a
visual medium.

1. "who's keeping up with commodore." . N.p., n.d. Web. 8 May 2014.