Rhetoric Reflection

Throughout this semester, I really found this to be an enjoyable class.  I enjoyed the majority of the major assignments that we had to do, because they all required us to utilize our creativity and work as a team in order to complete them.  The books were a 50/50 for me on how much I liked them.  I really enjoyed Thank You For Arguing, and was able to find good points throughout the entire book; yet for Confronting Managerialism, the only portion of the book I found beneficial was the amount of challenging and conflicting standpoints I had with the authors, and how I did not fully support the majority of the claims they made regarding US business schools and education in them.  The course in general was nice due to the absence of work that was boring or absent-minded, but focused more on work that actually required us to do something useful or beneficial.

Personally I enjoyed the first major writing assignment that we conducted, comparing two websites of the similar products, considering I had a remarkable amount of fun researching and searching for four scholarly articles on condoms (it’s harder than you’d think).  I enjoyed the challenge that I signed up for with that topic, and was glad I was able to write a well-thought out paper about it.  I also have been writing similar controversial papers in a few of my other classes, and have used a lot of feedback I received from that paper when writing it.  This was definitely the most successful project that I had during the semester, but there were others I enjoyed as well.

The impromptu speeches that we gave were absolutely hilarious in my mind, and given some of the background I have had with impromptu speeches, I was definitely entertained with the challenge of giving them.  I had done several speeches in high school where I had given speeches on topics after having little or no previous research on, and then being able to formulate a well thought out speech from thin air.  The impromptu speeches were a lot of fun and reminded me of a lot of the work I did in high school with those projects.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this course this semester.  As a direct admit student, I think it was an awesome opportunity to be able to take this course with other Tippie Direct Admit business students, and be able to get to know them all better and will see them in other classes (and outside of class).  This course was definitely beneficial to me both in the workload and the social opportunities that it gave me, and the ability to further my rhetorical knowledge and apply it to my everyday life.

Brandon Svac, Cassy Freedman, Nick Block

There are three specific neighborhoods that we felt would be ideal candidates for our research proposal on Iowa City neighborhoods: The Pedestrian Mall, Downtown (Non-Pedestrian Mall), and Miller Orchard.

Pedestrian Mall

We would choose to have the Pedestrian Mall as our primary location for our research of a neighborhood in Iowa City.  According to downtownioawcity.com, there are currently 160 businesses in the Downtown district of Iowa City, including the Pedestrian Mall and its surrounding area.  In order to make the research fair, we would have to develop a boundary system for those using the Pedestrian Mall as their means of research versus those using the Downtown district itself without the Pedestrian mall. Below is a map of how we chose to divide these two regions, giving both groups an equal representation of businesses within in the community.  The Pedestrian Mall district would have from Capital Street East to Gilbert Street, and from Burlington Street north to south side of Washington Street.  The north side of Washington Street would be reserved for the downtown district research group.  The Pedestrian mall is currently a cultural gold mine, which grants researchers the ability to study the various different businesses in it, ranging from Clothiers, Bars, Restaurants, EyeCare, Banks, and Cab services to more.  Given our group’s diverse background and networks with various business owners in the Pedestrian Mall, we feel that we would be able to formulate the strongest research of this region.

Downtown

We felt that downtown area of Iowa City would be an ideal candidate for our neighborhood research due to its high population of businesses and the presence of a large population of students in that region.  Currently, the downtown district of Iowa City is a host to a live theater, galleries and museums, and the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce; demonstrating the Iowa City “Live, Work & Play Downtown” mentality[1].  The downtown district of Iowa City is currently two specific regions, the Northside Marketplace and the Traditional Downtown area, which includes the Pedestrian mall.  This would cause us to shift our focus more towards the Northside Marketplace, and any businesses not located southwest of the Washington and Linn Street intersections.  Northside Marketplace consists currently of 16 businesses including breakfast restaurants, pizza parlors, guest houses, cafes, book stores, a grocery store, and other miscellaneous businesses.  The other restaurants that we would include that are closer to the Pedestrian Mall, but not inside it include those on the North side of Washington street, including Panchero’s, Mesas Pizza, Jimmy Johns, and Cold Stone Creamery.

Ped Mall/ DT Map

Miller Orchard

Our third choice for the research proposal is Miller Orchard, located on the west side of the river, primarily south of Burlington Avenue and ranging west from 1st avenue east to the river.  Currently home to many single-family homes, Miller orchard also possesses various businesses and apartment complexes for student residence.  The majority of the businesses are located along the east side of Riverside Drive, and the majority of the family style houses are along Orchard Street.  Although there is very little research and published information on this neighborhood online, we feel that through interviews with business owners and workers, as well as with families and homeowners, we would be able to acquire adequate information on the region.


[1] Downtowniowacity.com

Speech Reflection

In order to complete my first major speech assignment for our Rhetoric class, I utilized the majority of my time gathering credible sources, primarily the interviews with various members of my community, and spent a lot of time working on the outline for my speech.  Personally, I felt I was thoroughly prepared for this speech, having given various speeches throughout my high school career that helped me to be a more confident speaker.

For this speech, I did not write out the entire speech ahead of time, but rather formed an outline that covered the important issues that I wished to touch on during my speech, as well as a few quotes that I wanted to include from my interviews.  This way, I focused less on memorizing my speech and how everything would flow and rather focused on the content of the speech, and decided which transitions between topics would be more beneficial to the overall speech as it progressed.  I then practiced my speech with this outline, which was eventually transferred onto my notecards, with the most important issues being applied to my presentation.

The amount of work I put into this is equivalent or less than was required by some of my high school speeches, but about the same as the majority of mine.  For the majority of my high school speeches, I typically used between 4-6 sources depending on the topic of my speech, but sometimes would use more, especially for State-Level science fair projects and for my various financial reports that I had to complete for my financial analysis class.  For those projects, I typically had to use between 20-40 sources, however these projects included more than 6 weeks to formulate the entire written portion, and then an additional 2 weeks to compile the speech regarding the topic of these speeches.

I think my grade on this assignment did adequately reflect the amount of effort I put into this project, and I know that I could have included more sources in order to form stronger arguments for each side of the topic.  In addition to that, I should also have focused less on the national organizations and more on the location of the organizations in Aurora and their effectiveness of their arguments in a local sense, rather than in the national sense.  Other than that, I do feel that I successfully met the purpose of the assignment and received a sufficient grade for the quality of work I completed.

Zuckerberg & Facebook

            When an entrepreneur opens a company with a partner, they both play a significant role in the company.  When Mark Zuckerberg opened TheFacebook.com with partner Eduardo Saverin in 2004, Zuckerberg did not expect to have to cut his partner out of the business only a few years down the road, nor did he expect to have to do so with new partners backing him.  The removal of Saverin from the Facebook team required Zuckerberg to first convince his fellow partners to support him and then opening another company to purchase his existing company.

            By September 2004, Zuckerberg had acquired three new business partners to help run his company and remove Saverin: Parker, Moskovitz, and Thiel.  Initially Parker challenged Zuckerberg’s plan, arguing that Zuckerberg and Facebook were heading toward in unavoidable lawsuit, but Zuckerberg used his ethos as the leader of the company in order to explain that as long as Saverin was a part of the company, he would not have control.  Although this may have given Zuckerberg the appearance of a power-hungry businessman, it was successful in persuading Parker and the other two partners to cut out Saverin.

            In order to cut out Saverin, Zuckerberg opened another LLC in Delaware, and used that LLC to acquire the shares of Facebook.  Once he had acquired Facebook, he redistributed the percentage that each individual received, and gave Saverin significantly less than before.  Due to Zuckerberg’s trustworthy ethos in the eyes of Saverin, his actions went unnoticed initially.  It was not until Zuckerberg fired Saverin after significantly reducing his share in the company again that Saverin realized what Zuckerberg had done and decided to file a lawsuit; in which resulted in Saverin receiving a large financial sum and being relisted as a cofounder of the company.

            Although Zuckerberg was not able to remove Saverin from the company and still maintain the company’s initial financial standing, he was successfully able to persuade the other partners to remove Saverin, as well as keep Saverin oblivious to his actions.  Zuckerberg’s persuasive ethos was responsible for his ability to remove Saverin from the business, as well as develop the business into what it is today.

Works Cited

Carlson, Nicholas. “The Facebook Movie Is An Act Of Cold-Blooded Revenge.”Business Insider. Business Insider, 21 Sept. 2010. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.

Suard, Chris. “Eduardo Saverin: Facebook CoFounder Who Sued for Billions.” Squidoo. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.

Vargas, Jose A. “The Face of Facebook.” The New Yorker. N.p., 20 Sept. 2010. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.

Making Love; It’s War – Trojan vs. Durex Condoms

Making Love; It’s War

In war, it’s common to think of bulletproof vests, military helmets, and armored SUV’s as excellent forms of protection, but on the home-front, the battle against sexually transmitted diseases and infection, as well as unplanned pregnancy, contraceptive condoms are the best form of protection.  The use of manufactured contraceptive condoms as a method of birth control and disease prevention dates back to the late 1800’s; the first condoms being produced from rubber, and later condoms being produced from latex.  Since the manufacturing of condoms was taken to a large scale operation, two businesses have dominated the market for standard latex condom sales: Trojan Condoms and Durex.  Considering the decline in use of condoms by individuals, especially in universities, Trojan and Durex are implementing persuasive tactics in order to encourage the use of condoms, specifically their brands.

Trojan’s history dates back to the early 1900’s, and shows a development that has expanded from a regional production to a global one.  Trojan Condoms was founded in 1920 by Merle Leland Youngs in New York City.  According to Koerner, during World War I the U.S. Government outlawed the sale of contraceptives and did not supply condoms to their soldiers, unlike the European armies.  Fearing that soldiers would return home and spread syphilis, a judge in New York ruled in favor of Margaret Sanger’s plea to legally distribute information on contraceptives.  Youngs took this opportunity to open a manufacturing plant in Trenton, New Jersey, and designated his brand by establishing the wrappers with a Trojan Helmet.  At the time, most condom manufacturers emblazoned packages with erotic artwork, and Youngs’ approach held more respect from pharmacists, who were more willing to sell his product due to its packaging (Koerner, “The Other Trojan War”).  Youngs eventually changed his product name from Youngs Drug Products to Trojan after Ansell-Americas (Manufacturer – LifeStyles condoms) attempted to acquire it. Trojan’s image was slowly established, but did not expand until the mid-1970, when condoms were transferred from behind the shelves to front aisles in stores. By 1975, Koerner references that Trojan accounted for 56% of the market, demonstrating their trustworthiness in consumers’ eyes, and a higher reputation for their products.  Campaign-wise, Trojan will have to do less work developing their reputation in their advertising and can focus more on the products they are promoting.  In today’s market, “Trojan is to condoms as Kleenex is to tissues” (Koerner, “The Other Trojan War”), which analogizes that Trojan is the current market leader for condoms, such as Kleenex is the market leader of tissues.

Durex, the current runner up behind Trojan in the condom market, began in 1915, 5 years prior to Youngs’ company, under the name of The London Rubber Company (LRC).  Founded by LA Jackson, LRC initially sold imported barber shop supplies and condoms, and it was not until 1929 that LRC registered the Durex brand.  According to DurexUSA.com, Durex was a very innovative company, being the first to implement electronic testing for their products, as well as the first to release anatomically shaped condoms.  Unlike Trojan, Durex never was attempted to be acquired by another company, and their innovations helped provide the standards that most condom manufacturing companies use today.  In addition to their innovations, Durex was also one of the first condom manufacturers to expand globally, helping individuals in other countries receive condoms to prevent births and the spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s).  By expanding to a global scale, Durex became a trustworthy form of protection throughout the world and appears as a good-hearted company in consumers’ opinions due to their charity in these undeveloped countries.  Although these countries do show a large spread of STDs and STIs, the issue is also prevalent in the United States.

In order to combat the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, both Trojan and Durex condoms are targeting the market: Adults between the ages of 18 and 22; particularly college students.  This is prevalent in both company’s advertising strategies, mostly relying on sexual innuendos as humor or by targeting sex appeal directly; a concept that would not be understood by a younger audience, and that may not be as effective with an older one.  The issue with targeting this audience is that there is currently a decline in the use of condoms among individuals this age, presenting Durex and Trojan with the difficult task of persuading them.

In a society where many individuals are beginning to draw away from condom use, companies like Trojan and Durex are utilizing their websites and advertising in order to persuade more individuals to use condoms, especially their own brand.  As referenced in the Sociology of Heath & Illness, women are beginning to be less-passive regarding male’s condom use or non-use, and are playing a “much more active role in sexual decision making than is generally assumed” (Devries & Free 827-842).  The diminishing use of condoms has also led to a spark in the spread of STDs, according to Kiene, Tennen and Armeli, especially among college students.  In a study of 222 undergraduate students from the University of Connecticut, only 39% of individuals always used a condom, while 22% never did, and 39% were inconsistent condom users (Kiene et all 463).  According to an article published in the Journal of Sex Research by Walsh, Fielder, K. Carey and M. Carey, “most college students are sexually active…and use condoms inconsistently” (Walsh et all 128).  This article tracked women’s use of condoms over the course of their first year of college, and showed that by the end of their first year, the majority of women used condoms less frequently with sexual partners than at the beginning of the year.  With the increase in women desiring sexual intercourse without the use of a condom, and the correlation of a higher spread of STDs with the declining sales of condoms, Trojan and Durex are both faced with the need for immediate action to persuade individuals to purchase and use their brand of condoms.

When first visiting Trojan Condoms website, a banner for Trojan’s “Pure Ecstasy” and “Ecstasy” condoms flashes at the top of the screen, promoting their newer product, and expressing how this product “feels like nothing’s there”, a direct response to the decline of condom sales.  This banner expresses that Trojan feels that people are not using condoms due to an increased sensation without them, so they are using a logos counter-argumentative method by stating that it feels like you are not using a condom, so you are unable to use that as your excuse not to purchase them.  Further down the page, I begin to see smaller banners, where Trojan is advertising various products and events, one specific is their Spring Break 2013 promotion, where they gave away free products and tickets for spring breakers in Panama City Beach, Florida.  This associates with a pathos effect, due to the positive emotional association between spring break and partying, and a good time with Trojan’s products.  In addition to Trojan’s “Pure Ecstasy” and “Ecstasy” line of condoms, they also offer their “BareSkin” line, which in a similar sense is targeted towards individuals who desire to have the increased feeling during sexual activity that normal condoms prevent.  Trojan states that these condoms are 40% thinner than standard their standard condoms.  Trojan’s history and current market position gives them an ethos advantage; suggesting that their superiority in the marketplace is due to their higher quality condom.  This credibility is suggested based on market position, not directly stated on their website.  In general, Trojan applies sex-appeal to their persuasive techniques, by directly correlating their products with sexual intercourse and explaining how their products could make sexual intercourse more enjoyable, a common pathos approach.  I personally find this approach successful as it directly shows the audience what products the business has to offer, and utilizes counter-arguments in order to prevent objection.

In comparison to Trojan’s website, Durex’s website is more informative than Trojan’s emotional approach.  Durex attempts to draw away from their product line on their website and keep viewers on their website as long as possible by featuring articles on their homepage entitled “Women’s Orgasm Problems: It’s not as easy as it looks” and “The Most Sensitive Parts of the Human Body (Besides the Obvious: Where your partner’s feeling it most.”  These two obviously sexual articles are intended to apply an emotional response through information, providing a combined pathos and logos techniques, expressing legitimate logical information in a way that increases ones desire for sex.  Durex promotes their products along the side of the page, similar to how an advertisement would be located, in order to subliminally make you aware of their products without forcing you to look at them.  This method would be effective because it allows customers to read articles regarding sex, which could potentially have a pathos effect on them by increasing their desire for sex.  Since they would already be on Durex’s website, they would be able to research and purchase different forms of protection without having to go to other websites.  Although this is effective by making you stay on their page longer, I feel that it is not an effective way to promote your products, since you are directing individuals to articles that are sex-related without tying it into your actual product lines.

Both products are attempting to target young adults with their websites, considering their attempts to convince more individuals in their target market to use their products and be safer sexually.  In my professional opinion, I feel that Trojan utilized persuasive techniques better in order to encourage individuals to purchase their products.  They utilized pathos and logos separately, and prevented arguments by using a counter-argument for their “Ecstasy” line of condoms.  In addition to that, their current market standings suggests a credibility to Trojan’s image, portraying ethos persuasion.  Although Durex successfully combined logos and pathos with their articles, it only succeeded in encouraging individuals to spend more time on their website, not persuading them to purchase their products.

 

Works Cited

Devries, Karen M., and Caroline Free. “‘I Told Him Not to Use Condoms’: Masculinities, Femininities and Sexual Health of Aboriginal Canadian Young People.” Sociology of Health & Illness 32.5 (2010): 827-42. Web.

Kiene, Susan M., Howard Tennen, and Stephen Armeli. “Today I’ll Use a Condom, But Who Knows About Tomorrow: A Daily Process Study of Variability in Predictors of Condom Use.” Health Psychology 27.4 (2008): 463-72. Web.

Koerner, Brendan. “The Other Trojan War: What’s the Best-selling Condom in America?” Slate.com. 29 Sept. 2006. Web. 9 Sept. 2013.

Walsh, Jennifer L., Robyn L. Fielder, Kate B. Carey, and Michael P. Carey. “Changes in Women’s Condom Use over the First Year of College.” Journal of Sex Research 50.2 (2013): 128-38. Print.

 

 

“HUMP DAY” – GEICO Insurance

GEICO Insurance has been notoriously known for comedic commercials, typically including animals. GEICO’s latest installment includes two banjo player’s who compare the happiness of individuals who transfer to GEICO Insurance from other Insurance companies with various comical references, as you can see below:

It is rare to go through a Wednesday after this commercial was released without somebody referencing this commercial, whether by talking about it directly, or announcing “Hump Day” in their best Camel-Voice.  In this commercial, “Hump Day” refers to Wednesday, which is the middle, or hump, of the traditional week.  GEICO’s been know for various advertising campaigns throughout history, including their legendary Gecko, who was first introduced to media in order to express the correct pronunciation of GEICO, and has since become the icon of GEICO’s advertising campaigns.

This advertisement begins with a camel walking through an office building, where you can see cubicles present, and people appearing to work vigorously.  There is no music in the beginning of the advertisement, but this is unnoticed due to the obnoxious voice of the camel as he moves his way through the office.  We see various employee’s rolling their eyes, ignoring the camel, and pretending they cannot hear him in order to avoid awkward contact, which is a commonplace that most people understand, having worked with or attended school with a person they wished to avoid contact with.  Eventually, the camel asks a woman what day it is, and she reluctantly replies “It’s hump day.”  This causes the camel to burst out with a cheer, and the camera angle to shift to two men playing the banjo who explain that “People who switch to GEICO are as happy as a camel on ‘Hump Day’.”  The men then begin playing their banjo’s for the remainder of the commercial, demonstrating a contrast between the beginning and the end by adding a lively tune to the end.

This commercial is meant to target individuals who are adults who pay their own insurance, and who can associate with the office environment.  This commercial utilizes the persuasive technique of humor, mostly visually, in order to persuade individuals to appear interested with their product. Initially, the visual of a camel in an office place is humorous, and his reaction when the woman announces that it is in fact “Hump Day”, we associate the humor associated with his cheers with that of the Insurance Company, and with their claim that “People who switch to GEICO… are as happy as a camel on ‘Hump Day’.”

The speakers of this commercial are the camel, who applies the humorous nature, the two banjo players, who provide the comparison of the Insurance Company with the camel on Wednesday, and the narrator at the end who provides the quick information about GEICO’s company.

In a typically boring setting like an office, a humorous image like a camel is bound to draw some attention.  GEICO’s “Hump Day” commercial does simply that, by using the persuasive technique of humor through the camel featured in their commercial to encourage individuals who pay their own insurance to switch to GEICO’s insurance company.