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Movie Review: Kennedy for Me” (1960)by John F Kenneddy

Updated on July 5, 2017

Rhetorical Analysis of John F. Kennedy’s “Kennedy for Me” (1960)

The infomercial under review is John F. Kennedy’s “Kennedy for Me” (1960).In “Kennedy for Me” informercial, you will easily see that all aspects of rhetoric including ethos, pathos and logos have been successfully utilized in creating appeal among the audience. Stated differently, the use of rhetoric in this ad informs of emotion, credibility and facts were quite effective in creating appeal to the audience. This may explain why President John F. Kennedy went on to win the 1960 presidential campaign in United States.

An infomercial also known as teleshopping is a persuasive television commercial which normally includes a website. The long form commercial typically takes approximately 28:30 minutes while the shortest can take a mere 2 minutes. This type of programming has its origin in United States by commercial broadcasters at off-peak hours. However, by 2009, the trend of airing commercials at off peak hours at changed to peak hours, that is evening time, day time and early morning. In addition, most Television stations opted to air infomercials as a substitute of signing off, which was a former practice of advertising commercial features. In the current perspective, many television stations on a global perspective have incorporated the use of infomercials in their structures. The infomercial industry at current is worth over $200 billion (Bogle, 2014).

Back to this ad, “Kennedy for Me”, there are a number of factual information which the author has used to persuade the audience. For instance, in this infomercial, John Kennedy presents himself as the youngest candidate among others including his chief rival, Richard Nixon. Kennedy post that at 43, he would become the youngest candidate to be elected as the U.S president. While Richard Nixon was using the basis of his inexperience in political affairs and government matters against him, the jingle ad that portrays Kennedy’s age greatly aided in turning his youth into an asset, somebody who is young to do the job and old enough to understand. With this fact in hand, many people were influenced into voting for Kennedy who went on to win with 56 majorities.

The use of emotional appeal in this infomercial was also a factor that contributed to the success of Kennedy’s campaign. In this video, he presents himself as a man who is deeply religious and in particular a Catholic. Accordingly, he argues that as a Christian, he will be able to uphold the Christian values and ensure that justice is done to all. What attracted people more was his reiteration that he could support Christianity and ensure that churches and religion thrived by giving all citizens the autonomy in these aspects. This triggered empathy from many citizens who saw Kennedy as a man who will stand for God.

John Kennedy also informs the audience of his credentials that make him a qualified and better candidate for the country’s top seat. For instance, unlike other candidates at that time, John Kennedy was a “fresh face” who was being looked for by delegates and party leaders. Other candidates had tried before, but failed. This fact was also significant in placing Kennedy at the forefront of other presidential aspirants among the electorates, delegates and party leaders who were the audience in this perspective.

It is apparent that this infomercial has effectively utilized all the three elements of rhetoric, credibility, emotional appeals and logic in creating appeal to the audience. It seems that those involved in its creation were aware of the power of rhetoric and how it can influence the audience’s perception. Historical analysis shows that John Kennedy heavily relied on television commercials and advertisements in his campaigns for president. Conversely, the television infomercials for the other candidates including Richard Nixon, Harry Truman, and Hubert Humprey were not as organized as those of Kennedy, hence were not as effective as those of Kennedy in creating appeal to the audience (Dudley,and Shiraev, 2008). In particular, Kennedys infomercials has employed emotional appeal in portraying himself as a deeply religious person, logic as he presents as a “fresh face”, youthful and one with no corruption records. Indeed, Kennedy was a youthful aspirant and new entrants at the time of his presidential campaigns. He has also effectively portrayed himself as a credible person through his untainted background. The fact that John Kennedy won the much competitive president at the time shows the power of infomercial in influencing a person’s attitude towards a given individual who is selling himself/herself, product or service. In my perspective, infomercials can be good for America as long as they adhere to the true of aspect of rhetoric, which is emotions, logic, and pathos. In other words, information should not be misleading as this can influence people to make bad decisions.


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