Ad Analysis Essay
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) is an organization against animal cruelty based out of British Columbia, Canada. Due to the overwhelming amount of animal abuse cases across the world, the organization, as well as many others, have released commercials to run on tv to promote their business and get viewers to donate. Over 68% of families in America own at least one pet according to the Insurance Information Institution. This is the target audience of the Sarah Mclachlan Ad for the BCSPCA. It intended to persuade animal owners and pet lovers to help and donate to these defenseless animals. Through the choice of speaker, visuals, word choice, music, and statistic the ad endeavors to convince the viewers to provide for abused animals.
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The ad opens up with the soft and slow tempo of Sarah Mclachlan’s most famous song Angel. The songis about the heroin overdose of Jonathan Melvoin, a famous musician during the 1980s and 90s. Angel is occasionally associated with emotional events such as the memorial for the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2011(CPAC). So matching this song with the images of beaten and forgotten animals helps create a melancholy feeling inside of the viewers. The message of the song infers that a loved one will discover peace “in the arms of an angel” (BCSPCA). This message corresponds to the animal’s lives once they have been rescued by the workers of the BCSPCA. The animals will now have a chance at life again and can finally discover peace.
The frightening images of abused and neglected animals are seen from the very beginning of the ad. The ad opens up with a dog trembling in the arms of a BCSPCA worker (BCSPCA 0:03). From the beginning, the ad is endeavoring to appeal to the pathos, emotion, of the audience. Once the ad catches your attention it throws more touching images your way. From a dog not being able to walk due to weak back legs or a cat missing an eye the ad is inducing you to feel for these animals and help donate to save their lives (BCSPCA 0:16, 0:25). The BCSPCA uses the images as pathos to effectively get their point across. The song Angel helps to mirror the distressed nature of the animals pictured in the ad.
Flashing between the heartbreaking images are the statistics of animal abuse which helps appeal to the logos, logic, of the audience. The statistics are shown on a plain black screen with the words in bright white letters. Using a simple black background keeps the viewer’s eyes focused on the bold white words instead of a background image. While the words being in white pull your attention in from the black background. Showing statistics such as,” every single hour in BC, an animal is violently abused,” and “3000 animals were rescued last year,” show how big of a widespread problem animal abuse is (BCSPCA 0:09, 0:20).
A minute into the ad the spokesperson is finally revealed to be the singer of the song used during the ad. Sarah Mclachlan is a Grammy Award-winning singer who is best known for her song Angel. In the ad, she is pictured lounging on a couch with a yellow lab lying across her lap in a relaxed notion (BCSPCA 0:53). Her relaxed nature with the dog shows that she is an ordinary person wanting to help the lives of animals being abused. This helps the viewers feel a genuine connection with the ad and ultimately chose to help and donate to this cause as well. Seeing Sarah Mclachlan herself sitting there endorsing this company help the appeal to the ethos, ethics, of the audience. The philosophy that “ if the organization is good enough for her, it’s good enough for me” comes into play with choosing Sarah Mclachland to be the ambassador. Many viewers will see this as if she has time to endorse this commercial then the company is truly reliable and will donate themselves. Even her tone of the message creates a more dramatic commercial.
The word choice used throughout the ad was chosen purposely to trigger the emotions inside of the viewer. By having Mclachlan state, “Will you be an angel for a helpless animal …right now there is an animal who needs you” it helps to pull at the heartstrings of animal owners and lovers (BCSPCA 0:57). She speaks these terms in a very slow and dramatic tone corresponding with the heartbreaking images of terrified animals to also affect the pathos of the viewer. By calling the viewers an angel she is making the viewers feel good about themselves if they donate to the cause. After pulling in your attention by calling you an angel for these animals McLachlan wants to really put in perspective by saying “For just $18 a month, only 60 cents a day, you’ll help rescue animals from their abusers and provide medical care, food, shelter, and love”(BCSPCA 1:15). By stating that the donation would be less than a dollar a day many viewers can put into perspective just how little of a donation can provide so many needs to these abused animals. Beyond justifying just how little they cost is the ad goes on to explain that by donating a gift to the animals you will receive a gift in return. This helps to bribe the audience with a tote bag and photo of an animal rescued.
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The choice of speaker, visuals, word choice, music, and statistics used throughout the ad endeavors the audience to donate to the BCSPCA. Having Sarah Mclachland endorse this commercial helps prove the credibility of the organization and appeal to the ethos of a viewer. The statistics help prove that animal abuse is an ongoing crime that needs to be stoped by engaging a person’s logos. Lastly the music, images, and word choice play an important role it justifying why helping abused animals will benefit not only the animals but the viewer. This specific BCSCPA ad helped raise over $30 million dollars alone in only the first two years(Strom). This proves that the ad decisions helped save the lives of thousands of animals lives.
- BCSPCA. ”Sarah McLachlan Animal Cruelty Video.” Youtube, posted by Ragefc, 3 October 2006, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gspElv1yvc&t=3s. Accessed 25 September 2019.
- CPCA.”Sarah McLachlan – Angel – Flight 93 – 9/11 – Memorial Service – Sept 10, 2011.” Youtube, posted by MJmcnult, 10 September 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3qUQgapJL0. Accessed
- Insurance Information Institution. “Facts Statistics: Pet Statistics.” III, https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-pet-statistics. Accessed 2 October 2019.
- Strom, Stephanie. ”Ad Featuring Singer Proves Bonanza for the A.S.P.C.A.” The New York Times, 25 December 2008, https://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/26/us/26charity.html?_r=1. Accessed 1 October 2019.
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