Today, people can travel from State College to Philadelphia with just a touch of a button.
Today, people can stay in homes and cultures abroad, not just hotels. With new and constantly
evolving advancements in technology, companies like Uber and Airbnb have made these
concepts not only possible, but ubiquitous. Uber, a popular transportation company that
manifests itself in one app, provides everyday people a cheap and efficient alternative to public
transportation and private car ownership. Airbnb, an online marketplace, connects tourists to
local homeowners renting out their rooms. Beyond monetary value, both Uber and Airbnb pair
convenience with community and challenge people to fulfill their potential as human beings and
members of society. Uber’s “What’s Your Destination?” commercial and Airbnb’s “Don’t Go
There. Live There” campaign reflect the freedom of enterprise and choice; the commonplaces of
community, family, and the home; and the pursuit of dreams.
The rhetorical context of each commercial encourages civic participation through the
companies’ products. Uber launched its campaign amidst the chaos of numerous lawsuits,
heightened rivalry with other ride-sharing options, and the celebration of its fifth-year
anniversary. This time setting demonstrates the evolution of the company and reinforces Uber’s
focus on the humane side of enterprise and society. The company emphasizes its deep morals by
placing its value on individualism and freedom rather than profit and convenience.
On the other hand, Airbnb’s recent campaign underlies the age of mass tourism and the
industry of leisure traveling. In the past decade, traveling to other countries has become more
and more popular as people constantly seek the cheapest opportunities – mass tourism. Mass
tourism is characterized by long lines and tourist traps. By introducing the “Don’t Go There.
Live There” commercial in this age, Airbnb promotes awareness for cultural appreciation.
Moreover, Airbnb released the video in April, preceding the months of summer vacation for
adolescents and people with adventurous, young-spirited souls, the target audience. The
company strengthens its appeal to logos by establishing the problems of mass tourism in a more
immediate context; it challenges the audience to forego tourist traps and superficial experiences
to assimilate into the authentic, local culture and community.
Both companies reveal the importance of home, family, and the community. Specifically,
each campaign depicts common scenes that appeal to the emotions of a wide range of audiences.
For example, in Uber’s video, a father picks up his daughter from school. As the father departs
from the car, the girl’s face lights up in delight and she smiles as she runs into her father’s arms.
This evokes sympathy in the viewers, as both the children and the parents can relate to this
aspect of family. The audience empathetically understands the bond between parents and young
Furthermore, Uber’s video also concentrates on a high school couple riding in an Uber
car to a school dance. The camera emphasizes the couple’s connected hands, a symbol of
adoration, before broadening to the couple having fun with friends and smiling. Since most
people remember a high school dance, such as prom, and their feelings of childhood love, this
scene evokes nostalgic feelings in the viewers and implies that Uber values the customer; the
couple clearly trusted Uber to make their night special.
Similarly, the Airbnb commercial portrays tourists in authentic scenes abroad. The
campaign consistently equates Airbnb to “your own home.” For instance, the video reveals a
diverse couple sharing a bakery snack on a couch, a family playfully laughing together, and
children building blanket forts in a living room. By exhibiting actions that people can perform in
their own houses, Airbnb emphasizes the concept of home. The company highlights comfort and
identity, inspiring assimilation into culture and community in foreign regions.
In addition, Uber and Airbnb utilize pathos and the concept of hospitality to support the
commonplace of community. Uber allows people to help people; in the commercial, the video
depicts a driver that actively involves herself in her customers’ moving-in process. She drives
them to their new home and opens the house door for them while they carry heavy furniture
inside. In return, the passengers contribute to her dream of becoming a musician; the scene shifts
to the aspiring musician running to her bandmates indirectly pursuing her dream. This implies
that the extra funds from her job allows her to fulfill her ambitions. The people-helping-people
concept appeals to both pathos and ethos. Passengers will be more willing to ride with drivers
that have the same morals as them. They will also enjoy the sense of satisfaction in helping the
workers pursue their dreams. Thus, Uber inspires community and interaction.
For Airbnb, the host of a local home offers a tourist a place to stay and the tourist offers
the host extra funds for his or her needs. By offering the customer a local home, the Airbnb
employee allows the customer both comfort and deeper cultural understanding. By staying in the
host’s home, the tourist supports the host and brings diverse perspectives to the society. The
commercial displays the house and tourist greeting each other with friendly smiles, sharing
groceries, and cooking together. Airbnb thus fosters a sense of community through healthy
interaction and genuine hospitality.
Moreover, both commercials display the freedoms of enterprise and choice to embody the
commonplace of community. The companies grant workers the freedom to select their own
working schedule and hours of operations. This clearly demonstrates the compassion and
humanity of Uber and Airbnb; this emphasis on choice and flexibility allows the companies to
call on workers to pursue their dreams, such as becoming a musician or running a restaurant.
Finally, both Uber’s “What’s Your Destination?” campaign and Airbnb’s “Don’t Go
There. Live There” campaign employ parallel structure in words and organized, inspirational
music to maximize the appeal to civic participation. The voiceover in Uber’s commercial
declares, “We’re all going somewhere. We’re all working towards something. We have people to
see, possibilities to pursue, and moments, big and small, to live” (Lowman, “What’s Your
Destination?”). The anaphora in these phrases appeals to both logos and ethos. The parallel
structure itself is a logical appeal to the audience. The audience understands that humans are
indeed ambitious and live lives, which is something that Uber capitalizes on. The specific
repetition of the word “we” plays on the credibility of the company. By placing itself in the
context of everyone else, Uber demonstrates that the company understands and supports
In addition, Airbnb similarly utilizes parallel structure in the commercial. The concise
statements consist of “Don’t go to Paris. Don’t tour Paris…don’t do Paris” (Sandilands and
McNicol, “Don’t Go There. Live There”). The repetition of successive phrases increases the
appeal to reason. When the commercial opens with the condemnation of selfie sticks, crowded
tour buses, and Segway tours, Airbnb logically challenges the viewers to participate in authentic,
unique vacations instead of superficial, common ones.
The music in the commercials depicts a pathetic appeal of inspiration. Uber incorporates
light, structured, two-beat music into the commercial in order to establish a lighthearted
atmosphere. This appeal to pathos provides continuity and supports the voiceover; the consistent
rhythm inspires participation in society. Airbnb’s music contributes to a different side of the
commercial. The company cleverly weaves lyrics in different languages together to demonstrate
the global perspective and provide a comfortable context for the homes.
Uber’s “What’s Your Destination?” campaign and Airbnb’s “Don’t Go There. Live
There” campaign embody the commonplaces of community, freedom, pursuing dreams, family,
and the home. The commercials utilize the rhetorical strategies of ethos, pathos, and logos to
solidify the importance of each commonplace and to increase the customer base. In addition, the
companies employ specific syntax and music rhythm in their advertisements to engage the civic.
By exposing the deeper meaning of humanity and the community, Uber and Airbnb call on
people to participate in human society.
Don’t Go There. Live There. Dir. Anna Sandilands and Ewan McNicol. YouTube. YouTube, 19
Apr. 2016. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.
What’s Your Destination? | Uber. Dir. Josh Lowman. YouTube. YouTube, 01 June 2015. Web.
16 Oct. 2016.
A common joke comparing Canada to America is that Canadians are like Americans but without a gun. While this joke is supposed to be a dig at American gun control policy, it can also be applied to the overall stereotypes of the two countries: America being an aggressive and powerful nation and Canada being its more modest neighboring counterpart. World War II demonstrated this observation when the United States was a main Allied Power, and Canada was certainly involved in the war but played a smaller and less recognized role. This was partially due to the difference in the size of the nations but can also be credited to the differing attitudes towards the war each country took. According to The National Museum of American History, in 1942 America, Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company produced the famous “Rosie the Riveter” poster (“We Can Do It!”). Meanwhile in Canada, a flyer produced by the Canadian Red Cross was floating around. These specific examples of war propaganda from two different countries portray their difference in attitudes, despite being advertisements for organizations with slightly varying goals, in terms of the type of civic engagement they are trying to promote. Both the American Westinghouse and Canadian Red Cross posters showcase women on the homefront to exploit the kairos of the time period, but vary in the type of woman portrayed and the theme exhibited through ideologies, visual aspects, and emotions drawn out, falling in line with the stereotypes of the nation each originated in.
Despite the geographical difference in the context of these posters, the rhetorical situations are very similar. The exigence was the war and the need for help on the home front; the audience was composed of civilians (mostly women) left at home by friends and family fighting in the war; and the constraints were the effects of the war and the previously upheld notion that women do not belong in the workforce. However, it is apparent that the difference between the women’s rights movements in Canada versus the United States at the time of WWII was the extent to which the movement was progressed. This difference is demonstrated by pointing out that Quebec became the last Canadian province to allow women to vote in 1940 (Strong-Boag). Meanwhile, American women had already been voting for about twenty years, which, put simply, shows that the women’s rights movement was further developed in the U.S. than in Canada. According to “Women and War”, “…the temporary nature of women’s contributions during the First and Second World Wars ensured that their wartime efforts did not challenge the established system and that they reverted to conventional female roles after hostilities ended. In war, women’s labour was essential, but in peace it was expendable” (Chenier et al.) Therefore, in America, the audience of this poster consisted of women who were motivated to get and stay involved in the workforce; whereas, Canadian women were motivated to contribute during times of war but then went back to their typical roles when the war ended without putting up a fight.
Regardless of the specifics, these posters were clearly produced during a time of emerging ideas about society, which extends the opportunity for kairos to be presented. The timing given the rhetorical situation provided the exact right time for both of these posters to be produced and displayed. Kairos is demonstrated in these posters by symbolizing the new and contemporary idea that women could enter the workforce. On both these posters, it is a woman, not a man, who is portrayed as working, which was unconventional for both Canada and the United States. First, the use of a woman directly communicates to the women that made up most of the audiences of these two posters due to the fact that many of the countries’ men were overseas fighting. Second, the use of a working woman draws on the growing encouragement of women to take over jobs previously done by men.
While the Westinghouse poster more obviously generates a motivation in the women viewing it with the brawnier woman featured, the Canadian Red Cross still subtly fits the feminist attitude of the time by emphasizing that the nurse featured is also a strong and able-bodied working woman. However, the roles of the women portrayed are very different and mirror the stage that each country is at in terms of women’s rights movements. The woman featured on the Westinghouse poster, who also comes to be known as “Rosie the Riveter,” appears to be a woman working in a factory or some other blue collar job that requires physical labor. She holds a stern expression on her soot-covered face, signifying a determined and persistent mindset. Given that her body language is holding a fist and making a muscle, she also portrays aggression and toughness. All of these qualities were important for all the women in America who were working hard to fulfill men’s jobs during the war—the same women who would fight to keep those jobs later on in history. On the other hand, the woman featured on the Canadian Red Cross poster is a clean and uniformed nurse, the face of the Red Cross Society. Her expression is neutral and calm, signifying that she is simply doing her duty without much of an opinion at all. Given that her body language is her arms extended and welcoming to donations, she portrays that asking for help makes no blow to her pride. All of these qualities are typical of a vulnerable woman who is fulfilling her wartime role without striving to change the stereotype, as could be found in Canada at the time.
Besides the women featured, the other visual aspects, differing between the two posters, are also utilized to portray the war attitude of each country. The Westinghouse poster displays bright, eye-catching colors and very large and bold font for the only text “WE CAN DO IT” (Westinghouse Electric Corporation). They also focused more on illustrative components rather than text. This choice of a capturing image, vivid colors, and short but noticeable text advances their theme of exciting motivated American women. On the contrary, the Canadian Red Cross poster takes a more humble approach of explaining through paragraphs of text why people should donate. They also use repetition of the Red Cross image to create a visual representation of their organization’s name. The poster’s background fading red to black concocts a dark and somber theme for the poster.
The appeal to emotion is a strong element of the Westinghouse and Canadian Red Cross posters and is derived from the themes portrayed by the visual elements. The Canadian Red Cross poster evokes the feelings of sadness and desperation brought on by the war. The poster draws out sadness by mentioning war horrors such as casualty lists, wounded and maimed soldiers in hospitals, and homeless orphans. The poster draws out desperation through the use of language that implies urgency and a sense of last resort. They use words and phrases like “vital,” “there is no one else to do the job,” and “we must see them through” (Canadian Red Cross). Towards the bottom of the poster, pathos is conclusively addressed with the strategic language in the line, “We ask you to open your hearts and purses, giving to the limit of your ability” (Canadian Red Cross). This poster tugs on heartstrings of Canadians with the assumption that it will be proceeded by an emotional response.
While the Canadian Red Cross is tugging on heartstrings in their poster, the Westinghouse poster from America tugs on the optimism and excitement that accompanies a war. This poster intends to encourage women to get out into the workforce and provide the industry labor essential to supplying the military. To do this, they sensationalized feminism in a way that actually changed the mentality of women in general. The figure in this poster became an icon of the American woman who worked in factories during WWII as a result of the emotional response that it triggered in women. The appeal to encouraging women into the workplace is certainly a distinguishing characteristic of this poster; however, it also transforms the attitude towards the war overall. The aggressive and motivated facial expression and body language of the woman on the poster reflects the inner desire of all Americans to finish and win the war.
The posters further differentiate themselves by country through the variance of the ideologies portrayed. The Westinghouse poster invokes the American ideology of “Go Big or Go Home,” to use a contemporary phrase. This poster is very aggressive and tough, which was an element of the attitude towards this war that the American people could relate to. The Canadian Red Cross poster plays on a more modest ideology that even the smallest action can make a difference, which happens to be a reflection of the nation’s size at the time. Clearly, the Canadian people viewing this poster are not directly serving in the war, but they can still feel like they are contributing even if they are merely donating. These differing ideologies are specific to each country and, therefore, work uniquely towards the common goal of gaining support.
The Canadian Red Cross poster and Westinghouse’s “We Can Do It!” poster from World War II reflect the attitudes of their home country by employing kairos, visuals, pathos, and ideologies to call on citizens to do their part during the time of war. Although differing greatly in their approach, both posters achieve their common purpose of stimulating support for their war effort. Nevertheless, that is not to say that the support expected from women, or even the whole nation, was the same for Canada and the United States. Clearly, the United States promoted and gave off a brash war position as Canada was not as aggressive. While it may seem presumptuous to apply these stereotypes to the entire nations in general based off of two simple artifacts, it would be insensible to ignore the recurring theme, not only in these posters, but also in history and today’s world, that the United States airs a self-asserted stance whereas Canada positions itself more meekly. After all, it is said to this day that Americans are the ones with their guns out.
Canadian Red Cross. “The Need Grows As Victory Nears.” Advertisement. Pinterest. Canadian Red Cross, n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.
Chenier, Nancy Miller, et al. “Women and War.” Historica Canada. The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2016
Strong-Boag, Veronica. “Women’s Suffrage in Canada.” Historica Canada. The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2016
“We Can Do It!” The National Museum of American History, The Smithsonian Institution, 2016. Web. 26 Sep. 2016.
Westinghouse Electric Corporation. “We Can Do It!” Advertisement. The National Museum of American History. Westinghouse War Production Co-ordinating Committee 15 Feb. 1942. Web. 26 Sep. 2016.
Over the past 32 years, Apple has strategically developed commercials that simultaneously focus on their products and inspire creativity, inclusion, and diversity amongst their viewers. In the recent commercials, “The Human Family” and “Your Verse Anthem,” Apple utilizes images and videos shot on the iPhone and iPad to establish ideals of inclusion, demonstrate the importance of accepting our unique differences, and support equality. The optimal timing and narration by well-known American figures, Maya Angelou and Robin Williams, helps to promote ideologies of civic acceptance and diversity through their experiences and credible perspectives. This focus on diversity’s positive attributions to our community is reflected in the Vice President at Apple, Denise Smith’s, description that diversity is “richly representative of all people, all backgrounds, and all perspectives. It is the entire human experience” (“Inclusion & Diversity”). Apple’s commercials apply these ideologies of unity of multiple backgrounds and perspectives to encourage society to have a common understanding of the positive role diversity has in our community. By emphasizing the importance of diversity, we can better understand our duty to establish civic inclusion and equality within society to help embrace the differences that set us apart from others.
These two Apple commercials were released at times during which the kairotic situation helped promote civic inclusion and acceptance to a targeted audience of diverse viewers. This is seen in the timing of the release of “The Human Family” commercial during the Olympics, an event which reflects the importance of civic inclusion and diversity due to the gathering of people of different races, religions, and ethnicities from across the world. Viewers and Olympians are given the chance to be exposed to a diverse group of people, which conveys the importance of valuing the diversity that already exists within our community. In the commercial, images of people from across the world support these Olympic ideals when they are narrated by the words, “I’ve seen the wonders of the world not yet one common man” (“The Humany Family – Shot on iPhone”). Highlighting that not everyone is the same strengthens the argument for equality because our differences define who we are as individuals. Given the global circumstances of the Olympics, the message of civic inclusion in our community is further portrayed in the commercial because viewers are already supporting ideologies of inclusion and diversity by watching and supporting the Olympics. The Olympics encourages diversity and represents a small, but widely diverse, embodiment of the human population to show we are collectively a whole despite the differences we have.
The iPad commercial, “Your Verse Anthem,” was similarly released during a high-volume viewing time of Sunday Night Football and the Golden Globes. These two contrasting events represent a varied group of viewers which aims to encourage a larger, diverse audience to consider their “verse” (“Your Verse Anthem – iPad Air”) in our society and what they can contribute to make our human population more unique. The commercial demonstrates the unity of humans by connecting how people with various interests are still able to contribute their part to society, which is demonstrated when Robin Williams says, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse” (“Your Verse Anthem – iPad Air”). The word “play” (“Your Verse Anthem – iPad Air”) intends to symbolize a variety of activities that people partake in. Whether it be a play in a game or a theatrical play in the liberal arts sense, these commercials reflect this diverse interpretation by showing videos and images of a wide range of places people have been and the experiences they have been a part of. People watching both the football game and the Golden Globes may have distinct differences in their personality and interests, however this commercial appeals to all ranges of people to show how inclusion in our community encourages diversity. It draws on the fact that it doesn’t matter what your “play” (“Your Verse Anthem – iPad Air”) may be as a viewer, but that we can all contribute our own unique part to the human community. These commercials use the kairotic situation to extend the message of inclusion within our community to a wide variety of individuals in order to demonstrate how we all have these commonplaces within the realm of diversity.
The narration by Maya Angelou and Robin Williams in these commercials utilizes their credibility to express the importance of civic inclusion and acceptance throughout the world. Apple’s selection to have Maya Angelou narrate her poem in “The Human Family” commercial strengthens the message of togetherness and equality within our community through her leadership roles and her perspective of being a Civil Rights activist. Maya Angelou served on two presidential committees, recited her poems at Clinton’s and Bush’s inaugural addresses, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama (“Maya Angelou”). All of these demonstrate her dominant role in our American community through her commitment to activism and service in our government. She also worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X during the Civil Rights Movement (“Maya Angelou”) in hopes of uniting people of all races, ethnicities, and religions to value our similarities and support equality. Maya Angelou experienced civic resistance to equality during a time where people were discriminated against simply because of the color of their skin. Her poem in the commercial promotes the opposite of what she experienced. Rather than civic resistance, her poem Human Family advocates civic acceptance which we are encouraged to support through this commercial. Maya Angelou recently passed away in 2014, and the fact that a poem she wrote over 50 years ago still embodies the ideology of equality in our modern society demonstrates her strength in revealing Ogrodnik 4 our American and civic values not only during her lifetime, but even today as we remember her through this commercial. Apple selected another well-known figure in society, Robin Williams, to narrate the commercial “Your Verse Anthem.” Accompanied by a variety of videos, Williams narrates a crucial speech from the beloved film, Dead Poets Society, in which he plays the main character. His role as an actor, comedian, producer, director, and writer provides him with a breadth of knowledge in the film industry which enables him to bring a unique perspective to the commercial. Robin Williams’ presence and distinctive voice comes from his dominant role in the film industry, which is exemplified through his six Golden Globe awards, five Grammy awards, and two Emmy awards (“Robin Williams Awards”). Apple utilizes his role as the narrator of this commercial to draw on any prior connections the viewers may already have to the theme of diversity if they have seen the movie before or even just recognize Robin Williams’ voice. The recognizability factor of Williams’ voice helps to promote a sense of familiarity and comfort for viewers hearing these ideals from someone they have listened to before. Similar to Angelou, Williams recently passed away making this commercial particularly meaningful given that it served as a tribute to his role in our community. Apple’s selection to have him narrate the commercial reflects the positive impact he was able to have on people throughout his lifetime and today as we remember him for his many accomplishments. Williams unexpectedly took his own life, so as viewers hear his voice preach ideals of acceptance and inclusion of all people, it further extends our duty to accept differences and encourage diversity to make sure everyone feels as if they are equally accepted in our community.
Civic inclusion and diversity focuses on individuals contributing to our community and accepting differences in others, but it also exemplifies the likelihood that people will have different goals. Ranging from technical goals, such as problem solving, to humanity driven goals in topics such as religion, art, music, and language, these commercials encourage diverse creation and innovation within a varied range of subjects. The videos in “Your Verse Anthem,” illustrate this concept by showing people all over the world participating in a variety of activities such as playing hockey, controlling a wind turbine, and participating in a marching band. The commercials utilize the iPhones and iPads to represent a commonplace of technology incorporation in our lives to draw on the fact that despite our differences, people are still able to take advantage of the same opportunities technology has to offer not only for high-tech focused activities, but creative humanity activities as well. The incorporation of the humanities within these commercials demonstrates that although humanities contrasts greatly from fields such as medicine, law, and engineering, our encouragement for diversity amongst people enables the creativity within music, art, and other forms of creative expression to be accepted as a valuable part of our community. Everyone contributes their own, diverse passion and the ideology of inclusion in the commercials show that both the unique technical and creative aspects of our lives are encouraged and supported in society.
Overall, both of these commercials promote ideologies of civic engagement to establish inclusion and human equality in our community. Apple conveys the message of equality for all people by using the kairotic release of the commercials, the credibility of the narrators, and the visual representation of our different goals and achievements. Using these strategies, Apple reminds us of the importance of inclusion and diversity within our vast community of people in hopes of demonstrating the important role diversity has. We are encouraged to embrace our differences and accept others for who they are because as a community everyone contributes a unique part to our shared human story.
“Inclusion & Diversity.” Apple. Web. 8 Oct. 2016. http://www.apple.com/diversity/.
“Maya Angelou.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Oct. 2016. Web.
“Robin Williams Awards.” IMDb. Web. 11 Oct. 2016. www.imdb.com/name/nm0000245/awards.
“The Humany Family – Shot on iPhone.” Advertisement. YouTube. 4 Aug. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztMfBZvZF_Y. “Your Verse Anthem – iPad Air.” Advertisement. YouTube. 12 Jan. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mYCIKTX0ug.
Penn State has a robust offering of study-abroad programs. You can find out more at Study Abroad 101 this Wednesday, December 7.
Summer programs are terrific way to earn credit and enjoy the benefits of studying abroad. CAS and ENGLISH offer three terrific programs that fit into the needs of both SHC Scholars and Paterno Fellows.
This program to Austria is six credits of CAS coursework.
The Ireland program offers nine credits of gen-ed and/or English/Visual Arts major coursework and counts as a Paterno Fellows study-abroad experience, which must be five weeks. The program features stays in several locations across Ireland. Students study and meet with several prominent Irish artists.
This six-credit experience in London features a stay in genteel South Kensington and offers two English courses on Virginia Woolf and her circle and Monuments and Memorials (literary and actual).
Abe Khan, assistant professor of Communication Arts and Sciences, gives a talk, followed by discussion on Colin Kaepernick this Friday, October 21, from 12:00 PM-1:30 PM in 118 Willard. See this link for more information.
Are you free for lunch on Wednesdays? And do you like free lunches? Then check out the Paterno Fellows Programs’ Lunch with Honors series. All RCLers are welcome!