Media is everywhere. Whether broadcast on TV or radio, on the World Wide Web, or in print, there is no way to escape it. All media is constructed - prepackaged for a specific demographic. Advertising is not excluded from this structuring. By conducting a structural analysis using Aristotle's Five Canons of Rhetoric, the invention, arrangement, style, and delivery of an advertisement can be identified and explained. Take, for example, an advertisement for State Farm life insurance in the August 7, 2008 issue of Rolling Stone.
Invention is the construction of a persuasive argument through reasoning and rationale (Moses 57). This means that there is a intent behind every media message, as well as the justification of that message. The message is justified by identifying the target audience – a specific demographic and their needs, desires, opinions and concerns (Moses 59). Therefore, the first and most important part of invention is identifying the target audience, so that the advertisement's message can be created specifically for that group.
The target audience for this State Farm advertisement appears to be younger men, ages 18 to 35. More specifically, this advertisement is geared toward new dads, unsure of the future and their ability to provide for their families in the event of a tragedy. The message that State Farm is sending to this audience is that they shouldn't wait too long before they buy a life insurance policy so that their families are covered in case they aren't around to care for them anymore.
The definition of arrangement is the most obvious – arrangement is the way that a message is organized to create a visual hierarchy. In a visual hierarchy, information is prioritized by creating a focal point and continuing into secondary information, tertiary information and so on.
In this advertisement, the focal point is the man holding a baby. The secondary information is the company's tag line, “I'm There,” in a...