In the following photo essay, titled: “Spinning Science”, I will analyze how an eye drops advertisement combines implicit scientific value and rhetorical strategies to deliver a simple and elegant, yet effective and smart, message to its intended audience.
“Kill the Red with Croma Eye Drops” consists of three different posters portraying cases of eye redness, doesn’t sound like a very original ad right? Well, the trick is the way the ruptured blood vessels are photoshopped to create overly exaggerated images of the well-known feeling of eye irritation to encourage the viewer to buy the product and avoid having to feel the so terrible pain depicted in the pictures. Nevertheless, solely portraying eye redness as severe ache doesn’t actually accomplish the company goal of selling you their product but it does leaves the spectator thinking what could be the solution to this problem. And then is when the implicit scientific value of the eye drops come in to save the day: “Kill the Red” + an image of the product = you automatically assume they can cure your ailment, despite not knowing anything about pharmacology.
Let’s analyze more closely this ad to fully understand the previous two ideas:
As I have stated before the exaggeration of images helps highlight the severity of eye redness, but how? One may ask. Well, by photoshopping the red vessels into flames, a snake and arrows the ad creates metaphors (a rhetorical effect) which compare eye redness to this horrible, painful and elements; therefore emphasizing the gravity of the pain by association. By doing this the author is appealing to the viewers’ emotions, specifically fear, in order to create an emotional response that will convince them of the intended message, or in other words making use of the Pathos mean of rhetoric to impress and persuades the spectator into a desired idea.
So at this point we, as an audience for the ad, have been convinced that the severity of eye redness is comparable to levels of pain obtain from burns, snake bites or arrows shoot directly into our eyes. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the ad has successfully accomplished their goal. For this to happen we need a solution to our problem, we need something that can be easily understood but at the same time doesn’t expressively gives us the answer. We need implicit scientific value.
Allow me to explain this by going back to the ad. If we look closer into it, we can see the words “Kill the Red” in white right beneath the big eye picture and next to it a bottle of Croma eye drops. These two elements know leaves the viewer with the clues to solve the equation “eye redness minus X equals to happiness” and with no level of math required we can conclude that X equals to Croma eye drops, in other words we convince ourselves that this product works, the advertising industry won again! But where does the scientific value comes in? Well I’m sorry but it already did. To reflect on this, we need to think of what just happened and why where we convinced to buy this product.
Basically first they made you believe that eye redness was a super serious threat to your health, then they made you wonder how you could avoid it and finally the gave you the answer with the use of three words in a 10ml bottle. But if you think about it, and you are like most of us: not a pharmacologist, why should we trust this product if we don’t actually know anything about it? Well we simply do because first it is implied by the ad that the chemical composition of this drops will cause a reaction in your eye that should reduce the inflammation and alleviate the itching, and second because we know that this set of chemicals we call medicines were previously designed by and specialist so they should work right? In other words, we rely on our ability to infer an implied scientific value in which we can trust.
In conclusion all of this rhetoric language and implied scientific value its use to convey the underlying message of the ad: “Eye redness is a terrible ache but you can avoid it, Kill the Red by using Croma eye drops. Since you are already used to interact with advertising, you probably got this message as soon as you saw the posters. But the goal of this essay was to go further beyond what simply lies on the surface, I wanted to analyze why the use of metaphors as a tool to produce a rhetorical argument are able to emphasize an idea in our brain, the way the scientific value persuades us in the way the company wants to, and finally how these two elements can be used to deliver a message that is not explicit.