The Truth’s Initiative’s Finish It campaign is an example of a social movement that makes deliberate choices in persuading its audience to quit smoking. I was first made aware of this movement when I was watching a show on MTV. There was a commercial about smoking, targeted towards young people.
The first effective rhetorical decision I noticed about this social movement was the medium through which they reached their audience. Choosing the medium is important because it affects how messages are perceived by audiences because “the medium is the message”, according to Marshall McLuhan. Also according to McLuhan, “If the TV tube fires the right ammunition at the right people it is good”, and this is what the campaign was trying to accomplish. The campaign chose television, specifically an MTV commercial, to convey their message. The campaign understands that its audience watches this television station. The campaign commercials are also on YouTube. MTV and YouTube are media sites that younger generations use to watch shows and videos. The Finish It campaign’s main audience is younger people and millennials.
To try to persuade the audience to quit smoking, the campaign uses logos in the commercials. The commercial consists of facts and statistics that show non-smokers and those around them have a better quality of life than non-smokers. These facts include statements such as; non-smokers make more money than smokers, dogs and cats are twice as likely to get cancer if their owner smokes, and the percentage of teen smokers is lower than the previous year. Each of these facts present an argument other than common knowledge that smoking is bad for you. In the first fact, the campaign tries to persuade the audience by instead saying non-smoking is good for you financially. The second one evokes pathos (p.39) as well, by asking the audience to take care of ‘man’s best friend’. The illicit argument is that smokers are killing a being that they care about. The final fact included uses the bandwagon argument, that everyone is doing it so you should too. Comparing this year’s statistic to the previous year’s higher statistic shows that teen smokers are a shrinking minority. One of the campaign’s slogans is to “be the generation that ends smoking”, and the point of this statistic is to show that this goal is possible.
Keith, William M., and Christian O. Lundberg. The essential guide to rhetoric. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. Print.