Written task 1
15. 1. 2017, Lenka Slámová
In part 2 (language and mass communication) of our English Language and Literature course, I have learned how mass media use language to entertain, inform and persuade. For this written task 1, I decided to show the use of persuasive language by media.
Searching for advertising campaigns, I found an organization called Moms demand action for gun sense in America and their Choose one PSA campaign. One of their printed ads shows the absurdity of banning Kinder chocolate eggs in comparison to not banning guns that kill 1,300 children in a year in the USA1. I found this topic as well as the way they use language and visual side of the ad to target specific audience very interesting.
I decided to write a letter to the editor, which allowed me to analyze chosen advert in depth and give evidence on how Moms demand action for gun sense in America have great potential in informing and persuading the whole American nation.
The letter is written from a point of view of a young father from Texas, who strongly supports this campaign and contacts the editor of Moms demand action’s monthly newspapers to let her know how advert published in their press changed the way he looks at gun control in the USA by analyzing the pathos used in the visual side of the advert and logos used in its slogans. He will also explain how the advert managed to target a larger audience than just American mothers.
The language used by the father will be professional because it is a formal text. However, the language in direct speeches will be informal. There will also be personal story supporting some of his good points and a letter structure including address, greeting, closing and signature to make the letter identical.
Word count: 298
2 Chestnut St
As a parent of three beautiful healthy children, I feel the duty to thank you for what Choose one campaign is doing and fighting for. I did not know anything about Moms demand action for gun sense in America until I saw one of your brilliant printed ads from the campaign Choose one. I believe that by appealing to emotions in the visual side of your ad, targeting a specific audience and using ironic but logical statements, that make parents think critically about gun control in the USA, you can truly accomplish your goal.
We were on a walk with my three little daughters and our golden retriever Simba, when suddenly, passing a news-stand, I noticed the saddest eyes I have ever seen in my life staring at me, begging for help. These eyes were eyes of two innocent children, a boy, and a girl, standing next to each other in the middle of a dark abandoned classroom, one of them holding an AR-15 that looked ridiculously large in the girl’s little hands and one of them holding a tiny Kinder chocolate egg. The girl was standing there like an experienced soldier without any facial expression at all, except the sad eyes and deathly pale skin shining in the dark. At first, I felt confused. I could not find any connection between those two objects but I could feel that there is something wrong. My youngest daughter pointed at the egg and asked in her sweet innocent voice: “Papa, can mummy get me this egg for my birthday?” “I’m sorry, honey. They stopped selling them because there is a toy inside that could hurt you.” Then my sight fell on the weapon again and everything started making sense. It is so ironic. In America, we cannot buy a chocolate egg but if our three-year-old daughter asks for an AR-15, I can bring one home in the next three days. How ridiculous is this? I did not realize it until I saw this image, which will stay in my mind forever.
“What is the poster saying, papa?” asked my other daughter. I read the simple but logical statement out loud. “One child is holding something that has been banned in America to protect them. Guess which one.” It seemed obvious that the something should be the AR-15 but it is the stupid chocolate egg we have banned. This is all wrong. When I saw the red fond of “Guess which one”, I got goosebumps all over my body. The slogan itself sounded innocent. However, in combination with the imagery, it gets a whole new perspective. The red of “Guess which one” automatically connected to the blood of my children in my head and I felt terrible. It would not have the same effect if it just said let’s ban guns in America. “We won’t sell Kinder eggs in the interest of child safety. Why not assault weapons?” I could feel the irony in these sentences as well as the urgent tone. The first sentence says “we”. It is not just the government, we should blame for the absurdity of our laws. It is us. Americans. We have the power to be the change-makers. I looked at the poster hoping to find a solution to this issue or anything I could do about this situation by myself. And there it was. A website link “MOMSDEMANDACTION.ORG”. I knew I needed to check it out as soon as we get back home to see how I could get involved. I am not a “mom” but I love my children and after the shooting in Texas and seeing this advert, I realize even more, how important it is to spread this message and I will support all the actions your organization is going to take in this case.
Finally, one of the things I appreciate the most in this ad and the whole Choose one campaign is that you managed to target a specific audience that is very large in size as well as very caring about this issue. All moms put their children in the first place. Moreover, by including both genders in the image, parents can relate to this situation more easily. They can imagine that it is their little boy or girl standing there ready to shoot or be shot. Actually, it is not just a mom, who wants to protect children. I believe that the word “mom” in the advert is used more as a metaphor for a person that loves children including mothers, fathers and in fact every human being. Of course, other innocent people are being killed by guns. However, you chose the group of individuals, that is close to the heart of each one of us and that allowed you to spread this message to the whole American nation.
I hope that you and everyone from Moms demand action for gun sense in America will continue with projects like Choose one, using language and imagery powerfully in order to inform and persuade more parents like me, that we need stricter gun control in the USA to protect our loved ones.
Word count: 867