Materials: Questions to Ask When Conducting a Rhetorical Analysis, list of cognitive biases. YouTube video.
With the whole class, watch the first three minutes of the video, which show the Nike ad without the analysis. Ask them how the commercial makes them feel before you begin analysis of how these feelings are created.
Pass out dialectical notebook style handouts with image stills from the advertisement in the lefthand column. Give students time to write their thoughts about how the advertisers are using these images to connect with their audience. How do the advertisers employ ethos and pathos? Remind students to use the rhetorical questions as a guide.
Divide students into teams of 5-7 people. Have students pool their thoughts and keep track of all the rhetorical strategies they noticed.
Watch the rest of the video as a class, and have students give themselves a “point” every time the narrator identifies a rhetorical “trick” they noted themselves. The team that scores the most points wins a prize.
What rhetorical strategies (if any) did they note that the narrator didn’t mention?
Review the list of cognitive biases. How did the rhetorical strategies the advertisement used exploit those biases? Which biases did they exploit?
Optional Activity: (This connects with the Reflexive Statement Exercise.) Ask students to respond to the following question: “If you were going to write Nike to complain about the advertisement, what reflexive statement would you use to make them value your opinion? (Example answers: “As someone who uses your products frequently . . .” “As a female athlete who admires Sydney Leroux . . .”