Select 2 advertisements from the internet, newspaper or magazines that illustrate a fallacy. Each one should represent at least one of the most frequently used fallacies listed below.
For each ad:
What type of fallacy is this advertisement using?
Is this type formal or informal?
Is more than one fallacy being used?
Write a paragraph discussing what the advertisement is trying to accomplish, how the fallacy is used and why the fallacy is used.
The 10 most frequently used fallacies are
Ad hominem (meaning "against the person")—attacks the person and not the issue
Appeal to emotions—manipulates people's emotions in order to get their attention away from an important issue
Bandwagon—creates the impression that everybody is doing it and so should you
False dilemma—limits the possible choices to avoid consideration of another choice
Appeal to the people—uses the views of the majority as a persuasive device
Scare tactic—creates fear in people as evidence to support a claim
False cause—wrongly assumes a cause and effect relationship
Hasty generalization (or jumping to conclusions)—draws a conclusion about a population based on a small sample
Red herring—presents an irrelevant topic to divert attention away from the original issue
Traditional wisdom—uses the logic that the way things used to be is better than they are now, ignoring any problems of the past
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I have selected two advertisements that both make use of more than one of the fallacies that you list in your question. Let us look at these two ads.
First, we have this ad for a home security system. This system is designed to keep unauthorized people out of a house, but it is also meant to allow parents to keep tabs on their children when the children are at home and the parents are not. The ad uses a number of fallacies in its attempt to get parents to buy the system. First, it uses both the “scare tactic” fallacy and the “appeal to emotions” fallacy. The ad is trying to make us believe that our teenaged children are very likely to misbehave in our absence. It plays on our emotional desire to keep our children safe from strangers and from their own bad judgment. Second, the ad uses the “false dilemma” fallacy. It implies that we have two choices: we can either buy the system or we can face the fact that our children will do things to endanger themselves. By using these fallacies, the ad hopes to make us think that we really need their security system.
Second, we have this ad for a brand of tires. This ad uses the same fallacies as the first ad, though it does so in a more subtle way. The ad is trying to make us believe that our loved ones are likely to be in danger if we do not buy this particular brand of tires. By using the slogan “Today’s Forecast: 100% Chance of Traction” and a wet background, it makes us fear the consequences of driving in bad weather. By placing the picture of a woman and child, it implies that we (men) should protect our wives and children from this danger. As with many ads, it tries to make us feel that unless we choose to buy the product being advertised (in this case the tires), something bad will happen (our families will be in danger). In these ways, the tire ad uses all the same fallacies as are used in the ad for the security system.
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