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Madeline Cameron

October 6, 2016

CAS 137

Domestic Violence: Impacted by Advertisements

Every minute, about twenty people are physically abused by a partner in the United

States. On a typical day, about 20,000 calls placed to domestic violence lines nationwide

(Statistics). The Listen ad by the non profit NO MORE shows the viewer the inside of a house

with obvious evidence of some sort of violence, while listening to a woman call the police using

pizza delivery as a disguise (NO MORE). The MAN UP ad is a series of different pictures of

men, with the same caption on the bottom about manning up and making Ireland safe for

women and children (Man-talk). While both of these artifacts address the seriousness of

domestic abuse, the Listen ad has a subtle and chilling way of getting us to listen, by using the

commonplace that it is a civic duty to help. The MAN UP ad, however, focuses on the gender

aspect, specifying the ad to men and how strong men stand against domestic violence, using

the commonplace of the importance of family and a healthy relationship. The Listen ad is

effective due to the kairos and pathos of the setting, while the MAN UP ad focuses on a

specific audience and using ethos and the style to enhance the effect.

The Listen up commercial first began as a Reddit post, according to The Washington

Post (Judkis). It was aired during the 2015 Super Bowl, by the non profit organization NO

MORE, and was the first ever domestic violence commercial to be aired during the Superbowl.

This PSA is relevant due to the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell being criticised after the

way they handled certain domestic violence issues, specifically the 2014 Ray Rice case. The

Ray Rice case was especially publicized due to the graphic video of Rice punching his wife

unconscious in an elevator. This video spread quickly over social media. The 2015 Super Bowl

was watched by more than 100 million people nationwide, and by showing the Listen ad during

such a huge event is an efficient and effective way to get the word out. The event of the

Superbowl is also very American, and therefore a commonplace of America. Football sweeps

the nation every year, but especially during the Superbowl time, and along with it brings

camaraderie and support, not just professionally but also at the collegiate and local level. It is

symbolic for the commercial of domestic abuse to be played during one of the unofficial

traditional American events that occur during the year. The kairos of this commercial can be

looked at from a simpler standpoint as well. Football remains a very aggressive sport, one that

is male dominated in all aspects. Most people that watch the sport are men as well. By showing

the Listen during this particular sport and particular game, it is obviously targeting a specific

audience of men; not only because of the NFL themselves, but the viewers as well. This is

something that both the Listen ad and the MAN UP ad have in common.

The audience that the MAN UP campaign targets is also men. This campaign was

launched in 2012, and its primary focus is to promote leadership, pride and courage among

men, and to stand up against domestic violence. It especially focuses on the abuse of women

and children. Many men in Ireland, such as sports stars and celebrities, have endorsed MAN

UP and supported their campaigns. When looking at these different images for the campaign,

each man is different, but the message is exactly the same on the bottom. This emphasizes the

need to ensure that all men need to have the same message and philosophy when it comes to

the safety of women and children, no matter their circumstances. This campaign focuses on

gender based violence, examining the violence towards women, and the inequalities between

men and women.


When looking at the pathos and the style of the Listen commercial, it is the most

powerful aspect of the PSA. The commercial itself has two people involved, the operator and

the caller. While we do not know exactly who the woman is calling about, it does not matter,

because that is not the the message of the commercial; the main point being conveyed is the

importance of listening, and the style and pathos do that. The operator can sense that this is not

a prank, and asks yes or no questions so she remains safe. The woman has a slight pause

before she answers some of the questions, indicating that she could be, in fact, in danger. The

operator waiting and really listening is the ultimate act of civicness; not only is the operator a

symbol of being civic, but he is thoughtful and patient as he waits to confirm if she really is in

danger, and he could have saved her life due to this act.

The scenery of this commercial is dark and depressing; the camera pans over the inside

of a house, while their are objects thrown all over, dishes piled in the sink, and a picture frame

missing from the wall that is now next to the trash. It is a scene that is indicative of a fight or

something along those lines. However, we never see any people, we only hear the woman and

the operator and that's all. By not seeing anyone or hearing anything but this phone call, the

viewer can fill in the blanks and it leaves a frightening image. By playing on the aspect of the

viewer's own imagination, and feelings like fear and sadness, the viewer gets a chilling feeling

as they watch the commercial unfold. While this was specific to law enforcement, the

commercial is trying to convey that it is important for everyone to listen, and to help whenever

we can. It invites us everyday Americans to be active and civic with the final words when it's

hard to talk, it's up to us to listen. This use of us signifies the unity of our country, and how we

have to work together to improve it. In the past, there have been issues of the bystander effect

where people have not stepped in when they should to help a fellow citizen.

Looking closely at the MAN UP ad, the ethos and the style of this campaign are

different from the one used in the Listen ad. Although both of the campaigns may look quite

dark and sinister, they have completely different messages. The MAN UP campaign plays on

the fact that men are supposed to be macho and tough, and therefore can lead to some things

like aggression and violence. Each of the images is of a different man, and they all have the

same message. This message is simple, yet it gets the point across that men don't have to be

macho and aggressive to be true men. The phrase man up is a common one, that is used

when a man should be tougher and less weak or wimpy. By using this phrase that is meant to

incite strength and confidence in a campaign about domestic violence against women, it is

conveying that the strength taken from saying man up should be applied towards being a true,

selfless, kind man, rather than someone with aggression and violence inside them. The ethos of

this campaign is taken from using men with status in Ireland; while celebrities don't contribute to

the ethos of some cases, something like domestic violence is helped when people with power

make a stand. By using some celebrities and famous athletes, like rugby players and UFC

fighters, the emphasis on keeping women and children safe is crucial. The credibility of this post

is also advanced when bringing up the subjects of family and children. Family is a large part of

society, and a safe and healthy family starts with a safe and healthy relationship with a

significant other. By stemming from the commonplace that family is important, we can see the

ethos and some pathos coming through to further emphasize that point.

Though very different, the NO MORE: Listen ad is effective because of the use of

pathos and the audience it was introduced to, including the kairos, while the MAN UP ad had a

similar audience, it had different rhetorical elements and a different style. The MAN UP ad

looks at domestic abuse from the side of men, while the Listen ad examines the potential

scenarios that a woman could face. Both of these indicate the seriousness of domestic

violence, not just in Ireland or the United States, but globally, and how advertisements are

influential in their uses. Through their different mediums and approaches, we can see that

domestic violence is something being approached from all angles, and is trying to be stopped in

whatever way possible.

Works Cited

Judkis, Maura. "No Mores Super Bowl 2015 PSA Is the Most Powerful Ad of the Game."

Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

"Man Talk - Manup." Manup. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

"NO MORE's Official Super Bowl Ad - NOMORE.org | Together We Can End Domestic

Violence and Sexual Assault." Together We Can End Domestic Violence and Sexual

Assault. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

"Statistics." Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.