|Type of paper:||Critical thinking|
Images can be used in professional communication to pass important messages in a manner that leaves a lasting impact on the audience. Such images make clear visual arguments and are used to increase sale through product promotion, mobilize people towards social courses, and to advocate against vices in the society. However, the success of the visual argument presented in a picture depends on how its visual elements are organized to communicate the message. Using the three randomly chosen images, this paper endeavors to demonstrate the key argument forms and strategies that make successful rhetorical imagery. Image 1 was created for an American creative art blog that advocates against tobacco smoking. Image 2 was published on the Help Tube website to commemorate the World No-Tobacco Day, and The Singapore Health Promotion Board created image 3 for use in their Anti-smoking campaign. The images were chosen because they make the same argument and have a common purpose despite having been created by three different authors. Considering the key visual argument strategies and forms used in them, each of the three images brings out a successful argument against tobacco smoking.
First, all the three images present a successful argument against tobacco smoking because they are appropriate for friendly, hostile as well as a neutral audience. The visuals target hostile audience because primarily, they seek to dissuade active tobacco smokers from the habit. Since smoking is an addictive practice, some people would not readily welcome the suggestion to abandon it because of their dependence on it. Hence, they may respond to such a message with hostility. However, for smokers who have the struggle to stop smoking for various reasons, the message should be an encouragement to overcome their challenge of addiction. Hence, they comprise the positive audience of the visuals. At the same time, the images warn non-smokers against trying tobacco because of its many dangers. Most of the viewers in this category would comprise a neutral audience as they are yet to make any decisions regarding the rhetorical argument of the visuals.
Secondly, the visuals make successful arguments because they have a clear and specific purpose, which is to persuade the general public to shun smoking. Ultimately, the authors of these images are making an effort to cultivate a culture of healthy lifestyle among the viewers of the pictures. In a bid to discourage the practice, Image 1 and image 2 metaphorically use a loaded handgun and a hanging rope respectively to associate smoking with death symbolically. Arguably, death is the worst outcome one would want to have as a result of their habits. While is not a direct danger of smoking, it is the ultimate risk that results from other health hazards of smoking such as stroke, blood pressure cancer, etc. Image 1also lists 12 primary effects of smoking on human health to reinforce the idea that smoking is dangerous for human health. Image two, on the other hand, has a short message about the ultimate price that tobacco users have to pay because of using the drug. It states that each time we completely consume a cigarette, it consumes our lives in equal measure. Hence, its just a matter of time before we are also reduced to ashes.
Moreover, Image 3 gives the impression of a man running away from the burning end of a cigarette. It communicates the idea that we should not smoke because of the many losses we incur as a result of it. It goes ahead to list some of the important things that smokers forfeit because of tobacco use. Thus, all the images warn both the current and would-be smokers against smoking for fear of the ultimate risks that they face as a result of the practice.
Thirdly, the visuals manage to make successful arguments against smoking because their authors originate from societies that have adversely been affected by smoking. Tim Wisniewski, the author of Image 1 is American art and design blogger. Similarly, the author of Image 2 is also likely to be American because the image was published in an American-based website. Fiona, the author of Image 3 is from Singapore. Thus, the artists behind the first two visuals are from the USA where smoking is a major cause of death and chronic diseases. According to CDC, more than 15 million Americans suffer from chronic bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, lung diseases, stroke, heart disease, or cancer as a result of smoking (Warren et al. 4). The artist behind Image 1 lists most of these diseases; suggesting that they are conversant with the health statistics of this pandemic in the country. Also, the CDC facts suggest that nearly half a million people die in America each year because of the diseases caused by smoking. Unfortunately, about 10 percent of all smoking-related deaths in the US are passive smokers (Warren et al. 4). Similarly, the smoking-related diseases mentioned above are the top killers in Singapore, claiming more than five people daily (Amul, Gayle & Tikki 120). From such backgrounds, the artists draw the information and motivation to make their passionate appeals, which strongly argue against smoking.
Furthermore, the arguments of all the three visuals are successful because they take an opposing position regarding smoking based on facts. The position of the authors of the visuals is that smoking is bad; hence, those who do it should stop, and those who have not begun it should not even try. It is indeed common knowledge that smoking has no known advantage to humans. Rather, all its effects - from financial loss, health problems, effect on the environment, to the eventual death of the affected - disadvantage its users. Therefore, there is no reason to continue using the drug except to satisfy withdrawals of its addicts. Besides, the position of the visuals on this subject has been proven over and over by scientific research to be not only true but also ideal for human life.
The images also make an impressive argument because of the manner in which they employ the use of words to reinforce their visual message. Each of the three pictures combines words with communicative graphics. Image 1 uses more words alongside the picture than all the rest. It explains the argument in the picture by listing its 12 negative effects on health, followed by a conspicuous conclusion, which reads, "Smoking kills...why bother starting?" in this conclusion, also is a rhetorical question to make the audience deeply reflect upon overall message the message. The words in Image 2 begin by announcing the World No Tobacco Day, which is commemorated on 31 May. It then adds a satirical message that leads to a critical thought about a cigarette. It states, "A fully burnt cigarette said... Today it's me because of you; Tomorrow it's you because of me..." Image 3 has a bold message stating that "Smokers will always be on the losing end." In less bold type, it explains that people who smoke do not gain ground in the context of life. Instead, they lose their money, health, and friends who don't smoke. Evidently, the words used in these visuals were not necessary because they repeat the argument presented in the drawings.
Nevertheless, they play an important role in emphasizing and clarifying the same argument by eliminating chances of misunderstanding. But as it were, none of the visuals need more words. Neither could the written text be put in a better way.
The other factor behind the success of the argument put forward by these visuals is their effective use of two rhetorical appeals - logos and pathos. Basically, the argument that people should avoid smoking tobacco because of its many negative effects is a sensible idea by all standards. As such, it appeals to logic because the evidence that the artists use to support it are consistent with the findings of medical research and statistics was taken by reliable government agencies in both the US and Singapore. But the arguments are not only true to these two countries; all over the world, tobacco has been identified as a health hazard. For instance, at least 22 percent of the world population is affected by smoking through sickness or death each year (World Health Organization 3). Given the high cost of managing the diseases associated with smoking, this number had an adverse effect on the economy of the entire world. However, the greater effects of smoking occur at the individual level, and that is why the visuals correctly appeal to individuals.
Similarly, the artists passed across an excellent visual argument because they employed various forms of communication to evoke emotional appeal to their target audiences. To begin with, Image 1 seeks to instill fear in the audience with its picture showing a human hand loading cigarette into a pistol like bullets. It leads to the realization that smoking is as fatal as shooting oneself down. Image 2 also instills fear in the audience because, by its use of a hanging rope, it compares smoking to committing suicide. They face. Naturally, most humans fear death and will do anything within their powers to avoid it when they face it. The artists understood that fear of death is a motivation strong enough to bring about an absolute change of mind and behavior. In image 3, the author uses satire to make a strong appeal to the audience. The satire is words that accompany the visual graphic. The words of a fully burnt cigarette stated as, "Today it's me because you, tomorrow it's you because of me..." although sound rather comical, should make a smoker think more seriously about the ultimate effect of the drug.
Despite their success in presenting the visual argument of their communication, there is no evidence that the artists tried to establish their credibility in Image 1 and Image 2. However, in Image 3, the author shows affiliation to the organization that sponsored the message of the visual by including the logo of the Singaporean Health Promotion Board. The Health Promotion Board is the government agency that provides authoritative information for Singaporeans to make informed choices regarding their health and well-being. It conducts evidence-based research to obtain the knowledge upon which the country makes and carries out health policies. Therefore, it is an authentic source to reference in such the rhetoric communication.
Overall, based on this analysis, the images are successful in presenting the visual argument that people should avoid tobacco because their authors tactfully combined several rhetorical strategies with forms for the benefit of their audience. One can never think of better ways to communicate the same message such that it fits both neutral and non-neutral audience. The visuals had such a clear purpose that it is impossible to misplace the intention that their authors and publishers had when they created them. Also, all the pictures and the words used in the visuals communicate a single argument, consistent with the identified purpose. Put together; the visuals give the audience enough reasons why they should not smoke. Also, the images demonstrate a great use of rhetorical appeals. In particular, the logic behind the primary argument is the position of science on the matter of tobacco smoking. There is no known empirical study that refutes the fact that tobacco is dangerous to human health, and the best way to manage it is to avoid its use. In the same way, there is a great emotional appeal as the images pint clearly to the pain of death through suicide- self-inflicted tragedy- which is the reality behind tobacco smoking. All these strategies come together to make the message of the three visuals convincing and persuasive to any sensible audience.
Amul, Gianna Gayle Herrera, and Tikki Pang. "Progress in Tobacco Control in Singapore: Lessons and Challenges in the Implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control."
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