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Mouse pad rhetoric

For the Papa Johns customer appreciation day, I was given a free mouse pad. The images on the mouse pad suggest a very specific identity for the company. First of all, the dominant colors on the mouse pad are red and yellow. As we discussed earlier in the year, these are food colors. Even more specific, I would say that they are pizza colors. The color choices are interesting since the Papa Johns logo is green, red, and white, so the dominant scheme doesn’t match the company identifiers. I think that this was necessary to tie Papa Johns to hunger since there is not a pizza image on the mouse pad.Without the image of the food being sold, color was a good way to make customers think about the product at a glance without read the mouse pad text. Though the text is mainly contact information and a phrase that says “Just a click of the mouse, Papa’s in the house.”

The text noted brings me to the second major theme of the mouse pad: a trendy attitude towards Papa Johns pizza. The text provided tries to be hip, possible appealing to a younger crowd. A deliver vehicle is shown for the company, though rather than the standard delivery vehicle, it is a yellow Z28. Yellow again for an association with hunger, and a cool vehicle to make the image of the company cool by proxy. The founder of Papa Johns is imposed in close proximity to the car, red shirt (food) and smiles outward, his gaze towards the audience. The association here is strong. The vehicle will bring Papa Johns pizza to your home, and yet through the gaze of Papa John, he is already in your home. He is a good person to have in your home, he is associated with hunger and his car makes him seem cool. But furthermore, it seems to suggest that he is down-to-earth and will be delivering the pizza due to his proximity.

The mouse pad effectively molds the company into a place that can cure hunger, is cool and trendy, but familiar and close to its roots. Not bad for a mouse pad!

November 25, 2009 Posted by | Eng 350 | Leave a comment

Sarah Palin rhetoric

There was a recent controversy over a cover for Newsweek magazine where Sarah Palin was featured in tight running clothes and has a flag draped limply from her arm. The headline reads, ” How do you solve a problem like Sarah? She’s bad news for the GOP and for everyone else.” Palin argues that this cover is sexist. The photo was originally featured in Runners World magazine as a part of their runner of the month expose. So is the photo sexist?It has not been photoshopped that we know of, so Newsweek argues argues that they just chose the photo because it was interesting. I think it  is arguably sexist, but it could also arguably be the same spirit of blasting a political figure with a photo out of context.

The photo is framed under a different context from Runner’s World. Rather than a fitting headline likely showing Palin’s example of good fitness practices, Newsweek has a headline critiquing Palin’s competence as a politician. With this framing, the photo does make Palin appear to only be a pretty face. She is posed with her hands on her hips in a provocative manner, her shirt is red (arguably a passion color) and if form fitting. Though runners frequently wear form fitting clothing, with the headline provided and the American flag on her arm, Palin appears as an irresponsible politician. She is not shown in an office, but a room with a view. This makes her appear to be at a vacation place rather than in a place of business.

I am especiall interested in the flag. Rather than hanging, the fact that she is holding it makes her seem irresponsible. Holding a flag or draping it over her person seems to carry a rhetoric of entitlement. The only ones I can think of that wear the flag are Olympic medalists or deceased soldiers in their coffins.

I would say that the picture does preposition Palin rhetorically before the audience has the chance to read the article that discusses her negative effects on the GOP and politics. The photo would likely strengthen the article because even if readers knew nothing about Palin, they would still likely begin the article with a lower opinion of her.

Funny, because this picture did not make any big buzz when it was in Runners World, but here the context is purposely upset. If it isn’t sexist, then at the very least it is definitely misleading.

November 25, 2009 Posted by | 1, Eng 350 | Leave a comment