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Visual Rhetorical Analysis


This ad put out by the Health Ministry of the UK is likely effective in convincing those people who have children that it is urgent to promote a healthier lifestyle for their kids to keep them away from early deaths.  It mainly presents a vivid image and some logical arguments to appeal to pathos, logos, mythos and ethos and evokes public awareness to help kids establish a healthy lifestyle in the intended audience–parents.  The ad is largely effective because it logically links children’s health to the way they live and reasons about the potential threats those kids may be in because of their sedentary lifestyles, thus it would generally draw parents’ attention, urging them to take immediate measures to remedy the matter.

One of the main reasons the ad is so effective is because how well it evokes parents’ emotions—pathos, by presenting the dull background of the image and the boy’s leisure body language.  Here the rhetorical tool—the image of a lazy boy with a gaming controller in his hand, under the blaring headline “Risk an early death, just do nothing”,   and notice the “death” is outstanding among the words because of its dark color, which can easily arouse the shock and worry from parents.  Besides, the image has a gray and white background which reflects the dullness and simplicity the kid’s mind is filled with because of long time of playing meaningless games.  What is especially noticeable is that he smiles in an odd way, not like a child would normally smile like grinning or laughing, which shows he is so absorbed that he even becomes apathetic and passive to give the basic human expression—smile.  All of these details would lead to parents’ considerations of changing the kids’ unhealthy lifestyles.  Thus the image plays an effective role in relating people’s concerns for their kids’ well-being and makes them feel an urgent need to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

Likewise, logos plays an important role in strengthening the effectiveness of the ad.  The ad explains in a logical manner about why parents’ inaction would possibly lead to their kids’ early deaths.  Nowadays, kids tend to have a sedentary lifestyle, including texting, playing computer games, watching animations, reading novels, online-shopping, etc.  All these activities are done under the condition which they do not have to move around and get physically exhausted.  In the short run or the long run, it will have a bad impact on kids, leading to their suffering from diabetes or obesity or some other diseases.  Observing that the kid was sitting still without parents’ supervision and mediation, parents may naturally rethink whether their own kids behave in the same way, and then set about to help their kids to establish a healthy lifestyle.

Similarly, the ad also appeals to mythos to help convince parents to inspire their kids to go get exercise and avoid becoming coach potatoes.  As is well known, Britain is a developed nation, where there is a relatively high-quality health care system committing itself to circulating health care conceptions via diverse forms of media.  Therefore, it is undoubted that there exists high awareness of building up civics’ health from an early age among the public.  So careful parents would certainly be convinced to do what it takes to extend their kids’ lives.

Last but not least, ethos also contributes to the effectiveness of the ad.  The rhetorical tool used here is the well-designed symbols of these organizations.  It is striking that at the bottom of the ad marked several organizations waging the campaign.  The fact that this ad was issued by the Health Ministry of the UK and was supported by Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK and Britain Heart Foundation even makes it more noticeable.[2]  One of these organization—Diabetes UK, describes itself as “leading UK charity that cares for, connects with and campaigns on behalf of all people affected by and at the risk of diabetes” [3], indicating that it has had profound influence on the public health. Without doubt, with authorities’ participation in absorbing public attention to the kids’ health, the ad is even harder to ignore and would certainly lead to great concern to kids’ health issues.

To conclude, the ad has done a good job using the image, body language and symbols to appeal to pathos, logos, ethos and mythos to persuade parents and those who might be planning on having kids to pay more attention to their kids’ health, therefore it is effective to a large extent.





[1]www.sohu.com( The picture was available on Oct 18th, 2013)

[2]http://www.neforum2.co.uk/smf/north-east-general-discussion-forum/risk-an-early-death-just-do-nothing/(The article was available on Oct 26th, 2013)

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabetes_UK( The resource was available was available on Oct 18th, 2013)

[4]http://www.gamesbrief.com/2009/03/risk-an-early-death-do-nothing-change4life-puts-the-boot-into-the-games-industry/(The report was available on Oct 26th, 2013)

[5] http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/asa-rejects-gaming-health-risk-ad-complaints(The article was available on Oct 28th, 2013)



I have appreciation to my instructor and group members, who gave me precious and practical suggestions upon how to polish my essay.