A woman rubbing her forehead with HeadON. The slogan apply directly to the forehead is written in yellow.

HeadON Apply Directly to the WordPress 9/18/15

After reading both the Selfe and McCloud pieces I racked my brain to think of a rhetorically effective work that used the aural mode to impact me. After some thinking I began to sift through commercials and finally reached upon HeadON’s infamous “apply directly to the forehead” commercial. This artifact is roughly three seconds in length and consists of a woman rubbing her head with the product and a disembodied voice announcing the slogan. We also see an arrow pointing to the forehead with text of both the product name and slogan written on the screen. This three second commercial is rhetorically effective due to its ability to capture an audience’s aural perception. The voice of the announcer, the sharp repetition of her message, and the the editing of the commercial to run the small sound-byte in such a biting way forces the information into your head.

The HeadON commercial is a great example of the aural value discussed in Selfe’s piece most notably, the lecture. Selfe describes the use of lecture as an emblem of why, “power and aurality are closely linked”. She described the educators, “often expending a great deal of time to craft and deliver effective oral texts”. Selfe emphasizes that the lecture is a supremely effective method for educating because it encourages audience engagement. The commercial is so effective because it adopts some of the same frameworks as a lecture would. In effect it engages its audiences and teaches them that the product is one worth buying. While the visual element is present the commercial is too short and lacks any real substance that would engage a viewer in the same way as the voice of the narrator. The aural component not only creates rhetorical value it also makes the commercial so memorable.

References:

Selfe, Cynthia. “The Movement of Air, the Breath of Meaning: Aurality and Multimodal Composing”. https://drive.google.com/a/moravian.edu/file/d/0ByFdjiqjazEyMGZfZVNvTnR2SWs/view

Media Source: HeadON! Apply Directly to the Forehead! by KyleLC

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