Monday, February 8, 2016

Rhetoric in Film Techniques

As shown by the Iowa caucuses last week, Trump's biggest opponent is Ted Cruz in the 2016 presidential race. This attack ad, created by Trump's campaign team, charges Cruz with inconsistency in his immigration policy. However, the ad is mostly made effective through the editing and sound of the video. 

The excerpt from an interview with Ted Cruz is on a television screen, making him seem distant and impersonal. Behind the television, the background is dark and grimy, reminding a viewer of a dirty floor. The text is surrounded by a dark shade of red which is often associated with blood or death. Slow, eerie music is played during the video of Cruz stuttering and looking generally flustered. The editing goes even further by cutting off Cruz before he is able to explain or justify his support of an immigration reform bill.

To contrast the seemingly menacing Cruz, Trump appears on the screen. The video of Trump is full screen and it seems like he is talking directly to the audience. The grim background is gone and the text is surrounded by a sky blue color, often associated with optimism and progress. The music is characteristic of hopefulness and patriotism. Trump seems self-assured, powerful and ready to be our leader, all without even listening to what he is actually saying. 

The real rhetorical devices of campaign ads are not often in what they say, but how they characterize the candidates through various filming techniques. Sound, colors and composition all contributed to the effectiveness of this campaign ad. If only voters could see through what he's actually proposing for the United States.


  1. I really like how in your conclusion, you address how it is often more how ads look rather than what they say when it comes to appealing to an audience. I think this is in a way a sad truth: the fact that individuals often care more about aesthetic than facts. I often find myself looking at the composition of advertisements rather than what they are really saying. I find it crazy how much impact television advertisements have on our daily lives. Whenever I think about the impact of TV ads, I often think of the Super Bowl, where ads are more important to some than the actual football game. Without the camera techniques, do you belief Trump's ad would have been effective? Great job!

  2. I really like how you chose to focus on the visual aspects of the ad versus what it was actually saying. I think it's great how you decided to incorporate what we just learned about editing and camera techniques in you analysis. Great job!