Persuasive strategies used in the film Thank-you for Smoking
In America, image is everything. Companies spend a lot of money in order to create a corporate brand image in the minds of the consumers. This will ensure that there is a familiarity between the consumer and product. Therefore, it is clear that in the art of persuasion through the mass media, imagery is utilized as the limiting stone to essential techniques such as ethos and pathos. In the film, the filmmakers have used the persuasion tools in a much higher level. The filmmakers did not only single out one handsome man to represent the face of Big Tobacco Company, they as well made him a man of great drive, passion and character. The film “Thank-you for smoking” is a masterpiece of the art of persuasion. Throughout the movie, it is clear that the aspect of persuasion is widely used. The intention of both the writers and the director is unquestionably an agenda of trying to convince the audience to conceive the idea.
The movie “Thank You for Smoking” cuts across certain cultural values such as dealing with manipulation, dishonesty and deception in an individual private and public lives and as such, it is especially struggling for professional mediators and negotiators. It is evident that the work relies in particular on skills and techniques that make use of words twisting, shading and shifting peoples’ stated meaning and intentions, re-framing issues, as well as using other manipulations indispensably to allow an individual to see their disputes and adversaries in a different perspective. In light of these, it is clear that the consumers’ nature of making an informed purchase decision involves a ‘Tree’ dilemma, which is ever-present. This issue faces nearly all practicing mediators daily.
In the film, it unfolds persuasion techniques used by, Naylor, a tobacco industry lobbyist who talks smoothly. Naylor advocates, in an enthusiastically non-smoking world for his client. The film is an insatiable satire since it is outstandingly well done. Naylor comes out as an efficient operator and he is feared by many, turning and twisting words around and playing its audience for fools. Naylor is like a puffed-up tick affixed to our cultures’ warm underbelly self-righteous resentment over smoking. Smoking, in the last few decades was socially acceptable as well as prevalent, but globally, it is now outlawed legally and at the same time morally reproached. As such, tobacco industry smokers and social activist are despised extensively. Naylor self proclaims himself as the mediator of the evildoers, championing for the right for people to take on in activity, which scientifically it is confirmed to be an affront to the health of the public’s.
In that connection, Naylor is fascinating. While a considerable number of people may decide to hate him, an equal number marvels at his techniques and skills of negotiation and want to explore more about it. His skill and technique in turning and twisting issues around, smudging the distinctions between negotiation and argument is masterful. In his technique, Naylor strive to exclude the frontal attack since he is fully aware that any direct argument that point-blank support smoking will not be welcomed by his audience. Instead, he skillfully fails to deal with the issue and conversely diverts the center of attention to an individuals’ libertarian principle concerning the right to make an informed and personal decision to smoke. Inquisitively, Naylor does not turn away from the real truth; he speaks out the truth with disarming honesty, coming clean that tobacco use is harmful to public health. Then, in ensuring that all is well, he suggests that the fact should be incorporated with other issues when individuals make their personal choice in relation to smoking.
The film trigger a keen look on the nature of word twisting, message spinning, as well as other negotiation and communication strategies used to create confusion rather than clarity. However, this is the stuff of persuading, advocating, and selling with which we come across nearly every day in the infomercial society. From watching the movie, a separation of techniques and strategies of influencing from the ends and intentions to which they are set to accomplish is mandatory. The fact that deceptive and manipulative strategies are bring into play is less disturbing than whether their intentions are for good or ill. Nonetheless, the message communication leads to the assessment of the threat to determine whether it is a fear or danger control. As such, the individual will evaluate the threat based on its strength and on whether those individuals are susceptible to it. This creates a perception, which will motivate an individual to evaluate the threat, in light with the efficacy of the response. These will stimulate the audience to search for more information on how to deal with the problem. In that connection, when the threat is trivial, individuals will negate the threat and thus, minimal or less response to the danger. In other words, people will tend to ignore any message carrying the threat if the perceived efficacy and perceived threat is low.
Conversely, individuals will control danger, and at the same time adopt the prescribed response when the perceived efficacy and perceived threat are high. This is because individuals believe that their health is at high risk and they are likely to experience adverse negative consequences. They are scared, and the resulting fear motivates them to protect themselves. As a result, adaptive responses as a defense mechanism such as intention, behavior changes, or attitude are adopted. In light of these, Naylor, in the film ensure that the threat messages go along with high efficacy messages. In this conditions, it is evident that fear appeals messages as part of the persuasive techniques are incorporated with caution, making it a free-will message communication.
Almost touchingly, Naylor involve and at the same time discuss his young son in the movie. He counsels the son on how to negotiate genuine issues with his mother. This idea can be two fold. At one end, it is laudable to teach at early stage children all-necessary skills of negotiation. While on the other end, the idea distress many when an innocent and young child is taught to be manipulative at an age where he requires a lot of instruction. Ironically, throughout the film none of the actors are smoking cigarettes. This explains the process of persuasion as two-fold as stipulated in ELMP. Persuasion involves two routes, that is, central and peripheral. An individual will first evaluate the communication message by thinking about the consequences desirability and its likelihood of occurrence. It motivates the individual to think exhaustively about the advantages of the health issue that is at stake. In addition, the peripheral route evaluates the likeability of the source of communication. It is a not as much of thought route since it occurs when ability or motivation is low. As such, the model helps to understand communication efficacy and tailoring in behavior change efforts.
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Historically, and still, negotiation is weighed with suspicion, and at the same time a tactic utilized by those who lack conviction or evidence, or downright immoral. However, the film obligates the audience to marry the idea of persuasion in the real world. Naylor uses negotiation not only for the nice folks, but also as a human ritual created out of an undisputed necessity to gain survival in a midst of difficult, ugly, as well as habitually unfair circumstances. The liberation principle is enticing and individuals feel like smoking since they are at freewill to make their informed choices. As such, the technique employed is constructive, and the same is admitted by anthropological evidence that compelling individuals to discriminate between valid and spacious arguments is healthy, and as such, it elevates the intelligence of human beings. In that connection, individuals learn to sense trickery and as such they tend to become more skillful at protecting themselves, hence the audience can evaluate the consequences of the communication message.
The Big Tobacco company image is represented by Nick Naylor. He depicts an image that engaging in the activity of smoking can be attractive, sophisticated and in general one smooth moral fiber. The appearance of Naylor creates an impression that the audience sees. This will create a scenario of visual capture, and the lays the foundation for motivation with words. As such, it appears that Naylor in the film is using visual stimulus to sway its audience in favor of smoking. It is, therefore, clear that creating an appropriate image is a persuasion technique that is surefire for the audience. The step then translates to the development of character or ethos that resembles the visual image. As evident in the film, Naylor initiate by out rightly sketching his own character in the minds of the audience. As a result, he developed his ethos so as to give the film some degree of credibility. In addition, the perception that he creates of appearing to be convincing is founded by the audience knowledge of his moral flexibility. His ability to twist words in congressional hearings or talks shows ensured that the truth is subtly kept away from the public.
This strategy is aided by the qualities of imagery and persuasion coupled with passion. Naylor agrees to take the challenge and practice what he can perform best. In the entire film, he exhibits his abilities to surmount anyone within the dominion of debate and communication with passion. This is evident because he defends companies that not everyone is willing or wants to be associated with. In other words, he defends the defenseless hence scoring to his pathos or passion in the art of negotiation.
In conclusion, Naylor passion, character and imagery sum up his qualities that are necessary to carry out a successful communication campaign. He combines strategies that aim at concealing the truth from the audience, but are cautionary in nature. As such, the free will that Naylor creates, entice individuals to make a choice that is in favor with tobacco smoking. Consumers are assumed to be rational and as such, they make informed and satisfactory decisions. The decisions are guided by personal judgment and knowledge. The film brings an indication that individuals are fed with the communication and they are left to make evaluation of the information that is available. As a result, media on a day-to-day basis execute their role in persuading audience to buy their idea. All in all, when ethos is incorporated with pathos together with imagery the audience, especially the American people is well attended for, hence they are persuaded. The film also employed the ELM and EPPM frameworks in order to understand the process of persuasion. The film also capture audience feeling that they understand the mass media is playing with their insecurity and vanity, however they sound so attractive. As a result, audience feels like smoking as a tribute to buy their right to choose.