Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Hunt for Advertising

The Freemasons and The Knights Templar was where it all started for the Gates family, and it would continue for generations to come. Ben Gates was told of a hidden treasure when he was a young boy, and from then on he would dedicate his life to solving the mystery. From uncovering the ship National Treasure is more than just a treasure hunt for Ben Gates, but also a hunt for advertisements for the viewers.  This film has some advertisements that range from The Northface to Aquafina to Urban Outfitters; however, the advertisements are minimal in comparison to many films. Although minimal, the advertisements argue a strong case to get viewers to recognize products.  The advertisements force viewers to participate in their own manipulation (Jhally 3).
“Charlotte” in the winter, to stealing the Declaration of Independence, to finding bifocals at Liberty Hall, and ultimately the treasure at the Trinity Church, Gates will stop at nothing till he uncovers the hidden fortune. However,

In one scene of the film, as Gates and Howe are uncovering Charlotte, The Northface is clearly advertised on the coat of one of Ian’s sidekicks.  Because the advertisement is not on one of the main character’s coat, some of the credibility of the advertisement is lost: “credibility speaks to plain old likeability” (Lunsford 59). If Nicholas Cage has the brand on his coat, it would have added more ethos because he is both the main character and the good guy; however, it likely would have cost the company more money. When the brand appears, it does so in a clear, obvious way so that the viewer notices the logo. The logos behind the advertisement is much stronger than the ethos because in the scene the characters are out in the freezing cold winter snow, and the character that is wearing the coat does not make notice of the cold weather. This subliminally shows viewers that The North Face is a reliable brand to keep you warm in the winter. Shaw, the character who has the brand on, is an antagonist in the film; therefore, the pathos of the brand is diminished.  If Riley or Gates had been wearing the coat the emotional appeal would have been stronger because they are seen as the good characters.  However, some pathos is built because Shaw is not a bad looking character, so he creates an emotional appeal for viewers to see him in the coat.

Aquafina is one of the strongest arguments made for advertisements in the film because it is one of the most obvious and remembered brands. In the film an Aquafina bottle is used as a magnified glass to see a one hundred dollar bill.  The credibility of the brand is strong because the lead actor, Ben Gates, is the one using the bottle: “knowing who is claiming what is key to any rhetorical analysis” (Lunsford 99).  The logos is strong because the Aquafina bottle leads them to their next clue; the bottle helps solve part of the mystery.  The emotional appeal is built, along with the logos, because it tells Gates that at 2:20pm at Independence Hall, they will find another clue as the sunsets.  The appeal is validated because they do in fact find bifocals that solve the next part of the treasure. However, the advertisement has some faults because the actors do not actually drink any of the water. This scene simply advertises a magnifying bottle; however, the viewer is given no clue to whether the Aquafina water has a refreshing, appealing taste.  

Unlike the previous two examples, one advertisement in this film featured the store, Urban Outfitters. The scene features Abigail and Ben going to the store to buy a new outfit to continue their hunt.  The credibility in the scene is built because the two main actors choose to shop there to get their clothes as a pose to any other store. This advertisement is seen in words for a brief second, but the characters remain in the store for a longer period of time.  Even though the name is not seen, the actors being in the store helps build an argument for the company (Jhally 7). Because this actor and actress can be scene as
attractive, the pathos of this advertisement is strong.  However, the strongest argument for pathos comes from the communication between Abigail and Ben.  As they are changing in the dressing room, they converse about love and possibly foreshadow their future relationship.  In the middle of the Urban Outfitters, these two actors build an emotional appeal for the viewer that tells them that love is found in Urban Outfitters. Along with this, the outfits that they pick out are fashionable and create a stronger attraction to the characters.  Because the outfits are well picked out, the logical argument is built.  The advertisement tells viewers that Urban Outfitters has in style, fashionable clothes for both men and woman. 

I would give National Treasure a three out of five pickles because the film does have some instances that build a strong argument through ethos, pathos, and logos; however, there are other parts that lack in each of these areas.  This film was gripping, and I enjoyed that I was not bombarded with advertisements of brands and companies.  I felt that the amount of advertisements used was a perfect selection.

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