Swiffer Commercial Analysis- First Draft

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Alexandra Preziosi

Dr. O'Hara

English 15

16 September 2011

How Swiffer Gives Cleaning a Whole New Meaning

"What about love?" Romantics yean to be "swept" off their feet and "picked up" by the ideal match, and although one does not initially associate love with dirt and grime, these ruminants yearn for such love well. Advertisers of Swiffer cleaning products approach the delivery of their commercials with this idea of love in mind. The theme of the commercials reflects a romantic outlook from the unique perspective of dirt, mud, dust, etc. In just thirty seconds in between a viewer's favorite television program, commercials can entice a potential buyer with its creative advertising strategies. Through utilizing personification, Swiffer cleaning products develops a humorous yet sympathetic rhetoric in order to lucratively appeal their audience.

Initially, Swiffer commercials personify items such as dirt, dust, and mud in order to accurately present the successful functions of their product. The ideology behind this ad is to show that other cleaning supplies are inferior to the cleaning powers of Swiffer. Dirt, Dust, and Mud look for the supreme partner, being the perfect mop or broom but often, the quality of these products are insufficient and only mediocre in quality. None have them been able to be "picked up" by other products but Swiffer has finally saved the damsels from their loneliness. By providing these inanimate objects with humanistic characteristics and personal problems, the audience can relate. The conversations between Mud and Dirt, mirror a conversation between two girl friends regarding their love lives. This then established a commonplace with the audience who is primary women, and in turn, creates appeal to the consumer. Dirt and Mud share the same opinion on love as a typical single woman does, generally speaking. Both Mud and Dirt question, "Do you think the two of us will ever find the one?" Hopelessly searching for love, Mud and Dirt come to the conclusion that no cleaning supply will ever be able to woo them. In this series of commercials, these lonely ruminants long to find the right cleaning supply for them, concluding with their both literal and figurative attachments to Swiffer.

Furthermore, the advertisers attempt to gain the audience's sympathy toward the characters in their ads in an attempt to establish pathos. For example, Dust, found between keyboard letters J and K, has been "spending too many nights alone at the spacebar" and has been waiting to be literally swept off his feet by his true love. The thought of loneliness provokes appeal to the audience since they can sympathize with the figure, commending Swiffer for finally finding Dust love. Since the targeted audience is woman, initiating sympathy with the audience is a more successful tactic than if the commercials were directed at male viewers. The fact that Dust has been left behind by so many other cleaning products magnifies the cleaning power of Swiffer and thus, indirectly belittles the efficiency of other cleaning products since they failed to the job Swiffer did with ease.

Swiffer advertisers continue to establish pathos through their selection of background music for the commercial. For the majority of these ads, the song "What about Love" is played and the lyrics of the song ask the audience the question "don't you want someone to care about you?" Using the word "care" provokes an emotional appeal to the audience since people universally desire to be cared for. This common idea of longing to be cared for allows the audience to sympathize with the figures in the commercial as well as making viewers believe that the company has the consumers best interest in mind. Consumers want feel comfort in knowing that the company promoting a product cares about the item and believes in its usefulness for fulfilling its customers satisfaction.

Also, Swiffer personifies a notable public idol, Caroline Hennessey, in their commercials, establishing ethos. Audiences are willing to trust a famous, relatable figure more than an ordinary person because of the figure's credibility. Similarly to other Red Carpet movie stars, Hennessey is usually associated with sophistication and sheerness. So, although it is ironic for Hennessey to be illustrated as a dirty film piece left on the kitchen floor, her notoriety is still associated with cleanliness. Caroline Hennessey technically might not be as qualified to advocate the successful cleaning power of Swiffer but by simply being presented in the ad establishes credibility with the viewer. Consumers are more likely to trust the dependability of a product when promoted by a celebrity or credible figure, such as Caroline Hennessey.

Additionally, these commercials aimed to create a cleaner, healthier world, which also established commonplace with the audience since no consumer will argue for a filthier surrounding. Swiffer claims to be the product that will make the consumer's house dust, mud, and dirt free. At the end of each add, the personified pieces of dirt, mud, and dust left behind is finally "picked up," once again, both figuratively and literally. This gives the viewer a sense of the products successfulness in providing the home with superb hygiene, something every household desires. The thought of sanitation is left with the audience as their television program comes back from the commercial since it is the last idea provoked at the very end of the ad.

Ultimately, in utilizing rhetoric, advertisers of Swiffer cleaning products have successfully appealed to their targeted audience. Through the use of personification, appealing to views emotions, and establishing credibility in presenting the audience with public figures, Swiffer captivates their consumers and persuades them to purchase their product over their competitors. Providing Dirt, Dust, and mud with a voice creates both a commonplace with the audience as well as an emotional appeal. Furthering the attraction to emotions, the music selection for the ads create a direct connection with the audience's feelings as well. Finally, by utilizing a celebrity in representing the dependability of their product, Swiffer had also established ethos with their consumers. Swiffer's presentation of their products "gives cleaning a whole new meaning." Perhaps the meaning of love?


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3 Comments

My biggest concern is probably my organization and the overall wording of my thesis. I think my thesis might be a little too narrow.

Rhetorical Analysis Draft Workshop Questions

As the writer, my biggest concern is: probably my organization and the overall wording of my thesis. I think my thesis might be a little too narrow.

Reader: Be sure to keep the guidelines for successful analysis sentences

1. Identify the writer's main claim about the rhetoric, ideology or and subtext of the piece.
“Through utilizing personification, Swiffer cleaning products develops a humorous yet sympathetic rhetoric in order to lucratively appeal their audience.”

2. Identify and comment on the writer's introduction of a context (rhetorical situation) for this piece of rhetoric (think of the Starbucks and Cheetos paper) Name one thing that might be added, deleted, changed, or moved. I think the introduction is very good, however, you could expand a little more on why rhetorical devices you found in the commercial. Also, there are a few grammatical errors and awkward sentences.

3. Warning flags: check any of the following predominant themes this paper contains that might suggest a weak introduction or thesis:
Advertising is everywhere___ Ads try to persuade us___
Life really isn't like what the ad proclaims__ Ads have many components__
Ads are deceptive__ The ad did a great job__
The ad catches your eye__

- I was unable to find any of these overused, obvious phrases. Good Job. 


4. Find a strong analytical topic sentence and a weak one. Explain why you have identified them as such.
Strong: “Swiffer advertisers continue to establish pathos through their selection of background music for the commercial.”- This is a strong topic sentence because it establishes what you will talk about in the paragraph and leaves room for a lot of interpretation and examples.
Weak: “Additionally, these commercials aimed to create a cleaner, healthier world, which also established commonplace with the audience since no consumer will argue for a filthier surrounding.” – This sentence establishes a preview of the content but it doesn’t mention any real analysis or rhetorical device.

5. Comment on the organization of the piece. What other possible arrangement strategies might make more of the material and develop arguments more fully? I think that overall you have a well-organized paper. I think you could work on organizing the individual paragraphs better though. Try to avoid unnecessary words and run on sentences.

6. You wanted to read more about....
I felt like I wanted to know more details about how the viewer reacts to this ad. You establish the rhetorical devices used and why the director would choose to use them, however, I wanted more examples of what it is that draws the viewer to buy a Swiffer.

Hey Alex,
You have a pretty good sense of what to do with his paper, but I still have some suggestions. You start off the paper really well by setting up the commonplace in the ad. Then, the introduction kind of fizzles out a bit and becomes kind of broad. I would suggest going into that intro and tightening your claims about how the ad draws upon romantic notions of attraction and being picked up that you can thread throughout your analysis. Work on those topic sentences, too, so that they reflect those themes. I was a little confused about what you were saying about the celebrity endorser. Could you be a little more specific about her ethos and credibility? The other thing I just thought of relating to the rhetorical situation of your paper is that the cleaning product/dirt relationship in cleaning commercials is often figured as one of antagonism, right? That's why the "What About Love?" song choice is especially poignant! Maybe you could wok that idea in!

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