Advertisers use a variety of sophisticated appeals to persuade consumers to purchase the products and services companies hire them to promote. Rhetorical strategies are often used to promote a specific ad’s strategy in the minds of consumers. One of these strategies is the use of gender appeals, appeals based on notions of masculinity and femininity. We will examine the persuasive appeals in three ads for the following companies and products: LG Technologies (Cell Phones), Chrysler (automobiles), and R. J. Reynolds Tobacco (Doral cigarettes). Each ad will be reviewed for how it uses gender and sexuality to persuade consumers, thereby engendering notions of masculinity and femininity in society in general. A Toulmin Model analysis will be provided for each ad. The main thesis is that all three of these ads reinforce inferior or sexual stereotypes of women in order to sell products by appealing to conventional (patriarchal) notions of gender.
Every ad has a claim, followed by support, which is meant to reinforce the underlying warrant of the ad. If we look at the first ad for LG Technologies cell phones, we see the following Toulmin Model analysis:
Claim: Women often have more than one boyfriend which is problematic.
Support: LG cell phones eliminate the problem by allowing different melodies to “ring” for different boyfriends.
Warrant: Women are naughty so they need technology that is naught like LG cell phones.
It is difficult to overlook the use of gender and sexuality to sell cell phones in this ad. First, the ad is implying that women are not faithful and often date more than one boyfriend at a time. Second, it implies that with “naughty” technology like an LG cell phone, such a woman can avoid getting caught by assigning each of her boyfriends a different melody when he cell phone rings. In other words, women who have more than one boyfriend need “naughty” technology since they are being “n...