Business Rhetoric Reflection

                Anytime a class is discussion based I know that I’ll enjoy taking that class. Not only was this class discussion based, but we always were talking about one of my favorite topics: persuasion (arguing). The topics we covered is the main reason why I enjoyed being in this rhetoric class. Every time we had a discussion I felt that the content was interesting and invigorating, and I was eager to participate as a result. I was excited for class every day because I got to express and defend my opinion each day.

                I feel that anytime you can surround yourself with people who will push you to reach your full potential the benefits far exceed the negatives. In this class’s case, I think that taking it with direct admit students was definitely a positive experience. First and foremost I think that the environment made me work harder than had I taken it with the regular pool of students at the university. This section of rhetoric forced me to extensively prepare for class in order to avoid embarassment in front of my classmates. I got more out of this section of rhetoric than I would have had I taken a different section and I’m happy that this was an option.

                In terms of assignments, I saw the relevance in the first several papers we wrote. I enjoyed comparing rhetorical techniques and even though I hate to admit it, the blog posts were actually a little fun to write. I thought all of the assignments were reasonable things to ask of the class. However, I saw little relevance in the narrative projects. The long paper we had to write on an Iowa City neighborhood had little meaning and the podcast following that were a bit odd as well. I am not arguing that the narrative projects were unreasonable assignments to give us, I just felt that it was an attempt to enlighten brighter students at Iowa to the charms of Iowa City outside of the university in hopes of keeping them in the state of Iowa after graduation. I felt that the projected wasted the time of the students and a better assignment could have been formulated.

                I did, however, like the group work in the narrative project. While direct admits often succeeded in the classroom in high school, group work forces us to compromise and be a bit more humble. With all the perks of being a direct admit, it’s easy for some to get an inflated ego. I felt that group work helps keep our egos in check. At the very least, group work teaches us how to work with others which is something we’ll be doing for the rest of our lives.

                With all that being said, the workload was fair and the class was my favorite of my first semester at the University of Iowa. Miss Bones was fun to be around and seemed passionate and knowledgeable about the material, which is all you can really ask in a professor. While not everyone contributed in the class discussions a real learning environment was achieved in those discussions, and that is when I felt that I learned the most.

Justin Sinay, Matthew Hollander, Josh Guertler

We are interested in doing our project on the Northside, College Green, or Longfellow neighborhoods. We would prefer Northside.

Northside

The Northside neighborhood in Iowa City, Iowa is a small historic area slightly north of downtown. The neighborhood includes about six square blocks between Dubuque and Dodge Streets and is adjacent to the university. The neighborhood offers a mix of architectural styles and a variety of residents, but the residents often stay for a lifetime. However, more recently families have been complaining about the increasing number of student residents that have been making Northside their home during their time in college. By law, most single family homes in the neighborhood only permit three unrelated individuals to live in each house. Northside has been around since the city was founded in 1839. It is widely considered as a nicer and older neighborhood in Iowa City despite the recent spike in student population.

 

College Green
The neighborhood of College Green in Iowa City is between the streets of Jefferson and Burlington and is located east of downtown to Muscatine Street. It is often referred to the center location for residential homes within the east Iowa City area. The neighborhood contains a mixture of economic levels with a large combination of single and multi-family homes. Located in the neighborhood are also many business including restaurants, convenience stores, and a medical center. Many of the nearly 600 homes in the area are historical and were constructed in the early 1900s as city development began to increase. College Green Park is also located within the neighborhood which appeals to the nearby residents. The park serves as a safe location for children and families to get together.

iowa

Longfellow

The Longfellow neighborhood is located just south of College Green and east of downtown. Just a few decades ago houses in the area were considered abandoned, rundown, and were in danger of being converted into apartments. Today, despite many renovations and improvements to the neighborhood, Longfellow is still considered historical. It is also considered 1 of 51 American neighborhoods known for their promising features, caring people, and beautiful homes that deserve a long term commitment according to This Old House Magazine. The market price for an average house in the neighborhood is around $150,000. The 900 homes in Longfellow enjoy the benefits of good schooling. The majority of the neighborhood is diverse with young families, singles, and retirees who’s goals promote the unifying of the neighborhood.

Speech Thoughts

I feel that I prepared somewhat adequately for my speech. I felt that speaking in front of the class was fine, and I understand that it requires a different amount of preparation from each person. I would have changed the amount of times I went through my speech before presenting. I have always felt comfortable speaking in front of other people but when I don’t know exactly what to say in a speech where there is a lot of pressure to hit all the main talking points it makes you nervous. Going over the speech a few more times before I presented would have made the beginning of my speech flow better and would have allowed me to ease into a nice rhythm and comfort. Unfortunately, that did not happen and I skipped my thesis and had to circle back to it. That all could have been avoided had a gone over my speech a few more times. I chose not to utilize notecards because it takes away from eye contact and makes the speech seem choppy.

While I felt my speaking was fine, I wholeheartedly feel that I received the grade that I deserved. Honestly, the information and analysis was pretty elementary on my part. I could have gone a lot more in depth when talking about several different things. I felt that was the main thing I needed to improve from my speech. It was pretty clear from seeing other speeches that they put more thought and effort into the rhetorical and persuasive techniques used in their controversy. But at the same time my visual aid was good and I thought speaking to the class went well too.

College has required a lot less work than high school. In high school I did about five hours of homework a night, while in college it averages out to around two to three hours a day. In college I’d say the homework load is a bit more spread out. Some days I’ll hit five hours of homework and others I won’t do any at all. I can get away with not doing any homework some days without falling behind, which is really good if I’m not feeling well. However, I have had to deal with significantly more stress in college especially since it’s my freshman year. I have found it incredibly hard to focus when I’m feeling homesick or I miss my friends. I really miss the familiarity and comfort of my high school and having all of my classes with people I know (particularly my high school friends). I never had these feelings my freshman year in high school and while high school had its own drama, it never became too much of a distraction. In time, I’m sure I will adjust and these feelings will lessen and schoolwork will become easier to focus on. 

Jim Keady and Team Sweat

Jim Keady is the founder and head of the non-profit organization Team Sweat. Team Sweat is an organization that is focused on ending the Nike exploitation of sweat shops in southeast Asia. Jim started the organization after a long dispute with Nike as an assistant soccer coach at St. John’s University in which Nike signed a contract with St. John’s to provide Nike-produced athletic uniforms. The uniforms included coaches apparel, and everything had the iconic Nike swoosh on it. Jim refused and ultimately resigned his post in protest, and committed his life to ending injustice in sweat shops. He focused on Nike because it is the biggest brand.Image

Keady and Team Sweat have been moderately successful in ending the social injustice Nike is involved with. Many factory workers have seen their wages and living conditions increase, but unfortunately not all of the exploitation has been stopped. Keady utilizes several elements of ethos and pathos that benefit his persuasiveness when talking with Nike and college and high school students. Keady also goes to schools as a representative for Team Sweat to spread the word of Nike’s exploitations.

First and foremost, during his presentations Keady shows a video telling a story of how he went over to Indonesia and experience how people employed by the Nike factory lived. Through his story, Keady is able to capture the attention of the audience and control their emotions. Keady also made his audience feel powerful. I remember him telling me that each person could make a difference, meaning I could make a difference. Most importantly, Keady kept it simple. He was able to explain the seriousness of the situation and not get too emotional when talking. Audiences understand what he’s talking about and don’t get the impression he’s trying too hard to impress them. As more and more people get involved and buy into Team Sweat’s message by buying less Nike products, the more pressure it puts on Nike to give workers fair wages and decent working conditions which is ultimately Keady’s goal.

For most people, Keady is a credible person because he associates with the Catholic Church. Getting a graduate degree in theology, it is clear Keady is a devout person who cares about morals.  When taking into account the fact that Keady was involved with a high-level collegiate soccer team at St. John’s, it also boosts his credibility. Theology and athletics means he has two fields of expertise and can speak knowledgeably about both subjects. It means that Keady is not an outsider who doesn’t understand the logistics of collegiate athletic departments. Keady knows what he is talking about and that makes it extremely tough to discredit what he says, which is why he has been successful in convincing Nike to provide workers with better benefits and improve working conditions for them as well.

North Face and Columbia Sportswear

Justin Sinay

Miss Bones

Rhetoric

September 17, 2013

Every year, many people worry about the cold winters in the Midwest. Coming from warmer weather climates such as California and coming to the Midwest can be exhausting to plan for. Living by the beach, winter jackets were never important to have and out of nowhere it became important to have. Other people live in the Midwest, and simply need a new jacket. Ultimately, both type of customers end up scouring the internet looking for the best options. Two major companies come to mind when it comes to winter jackets: The North Face and Columbia Sportswear. Through evidence presented in this essay, it will become clear that North Face’s marketing strategies are more effective than Columbia Sportswear’s.

The North Face was founded in 1968 and has really picked up steam in the past twenty years among the younger generation. North Face has become so popular that the company had to file lawsuits against distributors making “fake” North Face jackets.[i] The company goes to great lengths to associate with high-performance athletics, so they have sponsored several athletic events such as the North Face Endurance Challenge which attracts some of the premier long distance runners in the world.[ii] Through the athletes who don North Face apparel, North Face tries to give themselves a credible image by using Aristotle’s tools of persuasion (ethos). North Face is using the top athletes in the world to make it seem as though they endorse North Face products. With top athletes endorsing the products, North Face’s credibility skyrockets, and predictably their sales do as well. Younger adults and teenagers tend to be more influenced by athletes as they think of athletes as role models, and as a result this marketing technique has a higher appeal to people who are younger.

The top athletes in the world wearing North Face products at the Olympics represents a chanticleer fallacy as well. Chanticleer fallacy means that because something comes after another thing, the first thing caused the second thing. In this situation, athletes put on North Face apparel and then compete, so essentially the North Face products were the reason the athletes were successful in their competition. Even if the athletes don’t win, people still think that wearing the North Face products makes the top athletes the best in the world. That may be illogical, but it works in many cases.

The main way North Face became an iconic image in winter jackets is through brand messaging. Every jacket has the North Face logo and the word “The North Face” on the upper left part of the jacket. As North Face’s popularity grew, the logo would be seen even more by potential customers as a result of the logo being on every jacket. The ethos tool of persuasion is at work again. The more people who see other people wearing a North Face jacket, the more likely they’ll feel that the jacket is a legitimate and credible brand and want to buy a North Face jacket.

The North Face’s website (thenorthface.com) is very new and modern looking, seemingly trying to appeal to a younger demographic. North Face uses black, red, and silver on their website and the color scheme really pops and grabs your attention. Since they use athletes and edgy, attractive colors, it’s clear they try and appeal to the younger generation. Younger people are influenced by athletes and other people their age, and with the logo being plastered all over North Face jackets, North Face’s popularity just took off and has become the iconic brand that it is today. North Face doesn’t use words to draw people to their products on their website, rather North Face utilizes the colors on the website to do so. Even the prices are written in a bright red color to highlight the cost of each jacket. The fact that the jackets are so expensive targets a younger audience, who don’t fully understand the value of the dollar. Many younger people make the mistake of thinking that expensive automatically equals higher quality. When younger people see others wearing North Face jackets, it gives off the impression of wealth. Naturally, younger people end up buying the jacket to seem wealthier than they are.

Columbia Sportswear was created in 1938.[iii] Columbia has also used a variety of strategies to attract customers, many of which are similar to North Face’s strategies. In order to promote their high-performance jackets, Columbia had the Canadian National Freestyle Ski team wear their products during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Columbia reached a deal with the United States team to have them wear Columbia products during the next Olympic games as well.[iv] Columbia is utilizing the ethos tool of persuasion and chanticleer fallacy in the same way North Face does, making it more appealing to customers as a correlation is created between top notch athletes and wearing Columbia.

Brand messaging was big with Columbia too. Every jacket has the Columbia logo and the name “Columbia” on the upper left of the jacket. That way, people will recognize the logo every time they see it and as more and more people wear the brand, the credibility and popularity increases. Just like North Face, the more people who wear the jacket the more popular and credible the brand gets, solely because it’s visible and obvious to the public what a Columbia jacket looks like.

Columbia’s website (Columbia.com) used less attention-getting colors than North Face. Blue and white were pretty common on the site, which were more wintery colors than North Face. Unlike North Face, Columbia used terms on the website such as technology to describe their jackets, and have different “technologies” that each jacket falls into. By using fancy words like “omni-reflective” and “omni-heat” to categorize their jackets, Columbia creates an impression of higher quality and fanciness among consumers, but not necessarily in the way that North Face does. Columbia makes it seem extremely complicated and scientific, but with the “new technology” the jackets have to keep you warmer and comfier than other jackets. Columbia emphasizes higher quality based on merit and research, whereas North Face does it through customers. The colors and fancy terms on Columbia.com indicate that the target customers are older adults. Placing less of an emphasis on athletes and more on technology reflects maturity from Columbia’s brand. It’s not about Columbia Sportswear, rather it’s about the technology and science behind the brand.

North Face has done a better job of marketing their jackets. I see their jackets everywhere I go, especially among younger people. The concept of wanting to fit in and be like others makes it tempting to want a North Face jacket, more so than that of Columbia. Additionally, North Face was founded thirty years after Columbia Sportswear. While a 2010 development report declared Columbia Sportswear the number one outdoor brand and North Face number two, I argue that North Face’s strategies have been more effective.[v] North Face continues to grow among the younger generation, while Columbia seems to be a little more popular with adults. As the younger generation gets older, they’ll continue wearing North Face and the new younger generation will begin to wear North Face. Soon enough, Columbia won’t exist unless they start appealing to a younger crowd. Essentially, North Face is here to stay and will be much more popular than Columbia by 2030 based on how they’ve marketed their products, particularly jackets.


[i] Silverstein, Barry. “The North Face into the Brand.” The North Face | VF Corporation | Gore-Tex | Epic | | brandchannel.com. 7 Jan. 2008. Brandchannel. 12 Sept. 2013 <http://www.brandchannel.com/features_profile.asp?pr_id=368&gt;.

[ii] ibid

[iii] “Columbia Milestones.” Columbia Sportswear. Columbia Sportswear. 12 Sept. 2013 <http://www.columbia.com/history/About_Us_History,default,pg.html&gt;.

[iv] Siemers, Erik. “Columbia Sportswear pushes more (hopefully lots more) of the same for Fall ’13.” Columbia Sportswear pushes more. 5 Dec. 2012. Portland Business Journal. 12 Sept. 2013 <http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/threads_and_laces/2012/12/columbia-sportswear-pushes-more&#8211;.html?page=all>.

[v] Brettman, Allan. “Columbia Sportswear announces plan for joint venture with China-based parter.” Columbia Sportswear announces. 7 Aug. 2012. The Oregonian. 12 Sept. 2013 <http://www.oregonlive.com/playbooks-profits/index.ssf/2012/08/columbia_sportswear_announces.html&gt;.

 

Puppy Brother

I have always been a sucker for little kids. They are innocent and incredibly adorable, so much so that it becomes easy to think that they are trustworthy. In their latest series of commercials, AT&T exploited the child cuteness factor by placing an adult in a circle around a bunch of kids.  This particular commercial that AT&T produced involves that same adult, who poses the question is it “better saving a bunch, or not saving at all?” a simple question even little kids can answer.  The kids all answer in their kiddy voices that it is better to save a bunch of money, rather than none at all. Then, one of the little girls makes a joke about how she would make her brother a puppy if she were to save a bunch of money. AT&T brings out their prices at the end of the commercial to make it seem as if people will save money by switching to their product.

The adult in the commercial is young and well-dressed, which makes him seem professional and trustworthy. The kids in the commercial are as cute as they come, making them more innocent than the average kid. However, the sarcasm the young man uses indicates the targeted audience for this particular commercial is young adults in the middle class who are just starting to pay their own bills. Many people in the same age range as the man in the commercial use sarcasm because it is a funny way to express how you feel, and its presence in the commercial allow the targeted customers to see themselves in his character. Cell phone service is something that is provided for most teenagers and younger adults by their parents, so when a person begins paying for their own service they often do not know where to turn. By saying their service is cheaper, AT&T seizes the opportunity to catch the attention of young adults looking to save money.

The little kids, however, did most of the persuading in this commercial. The issue was simplified by the adult man to whether or not it was good to save money. AT&T uses the kids to highlight the easiness behind the decision to switch to AT&T. If kids can see the obvious choice, so should the adults who pay the bills. Young adults are also in the process of figuring out what they want out of life, and oftentimes that means having a family. The kids in the commercial appeal to the desire for a family from the young adults.

AT&T’s commercial allows young adults to see themselves being sarcastic and funny just like in their current life, while also being surrounded by cute little kids which they hope to have a few years down the road. The environment created by AT&T is remarkably realistic to what the adults have and hope to have in the future. It is only a bonus that they get to save money if they switch their provider to AT&T.