Today I would like to address the Visual Rhetoric that has affected millions of Americans with what many like to call "Bieber Fever". The other day I sat in my dorm enjoying a little bit of the trashy television, Teen Mom on MTV, and I couldn't help but notice that the majority of the commercials were focused on Justin Bieber. Normally my brain retreats every time there is a commercial break, but after seeing Bieber flash on the screen at least 4 times I decided to pay a little more attention. And a little part of my Rhetoric and Civic Life training kicked in. All I could think was how is this commercial trying to appeal to me?
The opening line is "It's the rags to riches story", maybe a little cliché, but also effective especially when paired with the picture of an adorable six year old child. This entire video is an appeal to the audience's emotions, it is pathos. Right away the viewers are drawn in by this remarkable tale because at one time they too wanted to be a star. It is a real life representation of what can happen if you "follow your dreams". Within 30 seconds the audience gets a brief before and after of Bieber's life. In the beginning a young and humble child and on the other a star struck pre-teen. In a way Justin Bieber as the topic could be seen as an appeal to ethos as well. Since he has experienced what some would call the "American dream", he has more credibility than someone who is has lived a blessed life their entire life. As I watched this commercial, which I had probably watched at least 6 times in one hour, I too wanted to believe in the underdog.
I am no fan of Justin Bieber's music, but after seeing this commercial I do appreciate his story a little more. Without money, his talent got him somewhere. His story is a true success story as opposed to people who are merely successful by heritage. So maybe Just Bieber, or more likely Justin Bieber's managers, successfully appealed to my emotions. That doesn't mean I'm going to see the movie Never Say Never, but next time I hear one of his songs I may think: you know what? This kid deserves it, and then quickly change it to something more my style.