Full Title: Death BEE Upon Us: An Appeal to Action to Save our Planet’s Pollinators and Ourselves
Context: This project was an assignment in Persuasive Writing (RHET 3315), a course I completed while on the Professional and Technical Writing major at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Department of Rhetoric and Writing. The artifacts in this project evidence research, content development, formatting, organization, and voice/style skills.
- Part I: Campaign topic, audience, and preliminary strategy <View pdf>
- Part II: Campaign flyer <View pdf>
- Part III: Promotion and activation <View pdf>
Purpose: The purpose of this assignment was to gain experience planning a persuasive message campaign; one that takes place over a period of time, uses multiple messages, multiple media, and addresses several different audiences.
Development: This persuasive writing campaign was a three-part assignment that I worked on over the course of several weeks. I follow APA guidelines for my research, writing, and citing.
I identify my audience and explain why this audience is the best target for my persuasive campaign message and goals. I offer some preliminary thoughts on strategy, including goals and obstacles to accomplishing them.
- Part I: Campaign topic, audience, and preliminary strategy To begin, I had to find a topic I cared about, a exigency that I could get behind and that I felt would have an audience. Next, I had to describe the audience I believed would be favorable to my campaign’s message. The final phase of Part I was to come up with a preliminary strategy, the substantive arguments and appeals I intended to use.
- Exigence The exigence I selected for this campaign is the momentous phenomenon of our planet’s declining pollinator populations; in particular, the honeybee.
- Audience The general audience for this campaign are members of the local community. It was not possible, for the purposes of this assignment, to conduct a thorough demographic analysis of the community. It was possible to come up with a “general profile,” or picture, of a few individuals I felt were representative of the audience I had in mind. I asked a few hypothetical questions about my audience, so I could imagine who they might be: For example, what does she do for a living and what extracurricular activities does he engage in within the community? Imagining the answers to these questions helped me to put together a “fictional” representation of a few general audience members as follows:
- She is a farmer;
- He is a teacher;
- He is engaged in a community gardeners program;
- Her children are involved in the local 4-H club;
- She is engaged in a community giving garden program;
- He works at a local food bank;
- He is thinking about what field to go into after high school. I identify my audience and explain why this audience is the best target for my persuasive campaign message and goals.
- Preliminary strategy This part of the campaign strategizing is about describing how the campaign would proceed and identifying outcomes and obstacles. The campaign’s message would be delivered in three stages. The first stage was designed to introduce the campaign to its general audience. The second stage is to get the general audience involved in the conversation by inviting and encouraging them to attend campaign workshops. The campaign’s third and principal stage is to bring the campaign into schools and youth clubs. I describe key outcomes for each stage and potential identify obstacles.
- Part II: Campaign flyer The next stage of development was to create a visual representation of my campaign’s argument in the form of a one-page poster, or e-flier. As with Part I, the purpose of the poster is to persuade my target audience to change their beliefs, their actions, or both.
- Description The poster I designed is one of a series of posters that will be used throughout the ‘Death BEE Upon Us’ campaign to promote the campaign’s message and persuade audiences. The message in this flyer sits within a particular context and is directed at the campaign’s principal audience segment,junior and senior students. This flyer will be used during Stage 3 of the campaign (see campaign ‘Part I: Campaign Topic, Audience, and Preliminary Strategy’). This flyer is purposefully designed to appeal to a younger audience: It describes a horror movie in the making. It’s tagline uses pathos as a rhetorical device when asking, “What role do you want to play in this horror film in the making?” The rationale behind the message is that it will pull in this segment (Pullman 92) by piquing their interest. The rhetoric of the poster challenges this audience to put on their thinking caps and learn about the important issue of pollinator decline. They will be pulled in further by being invited to be a part of creating a documentary film about the plight of our planet’s pollinators. To do so, the students will have to do the research and write an essay for a chance to be in the documentary film or on the film crew.
- Publication This particular poster will be emailed to the RHET 3315 course instructor. It will be published at the local high school, in local youth clubs, at the community center, and at other location where junior and senior students congregate. It will be posted on hallway walls, on cafeteria walls, and offered as a handout to students wherever they assemble. It will also be given to parents and teachers at parent/teacher conferences and mailed to the school board according to the campaign timeline (see campaign ‘Part III: Promotion and Activation’).
- Part III: Promotion and activation I describe the substance of my campaign, to include identity, credibility, and case-building. I discuss activation: the timing of the various events and messages I envision for the campaign from beginning to successful conclusion. I describe and detail the strategy and tactics I will use.
Reflection: This was a challenging assignment to be sure. It was, however, a very worthwhile experience. I can see the results of all that I have learned and am still learning. Working on this project has allowed me to refine how I conduct research. I can also see evidence of the quantity and quality of writing I can produce when I set my mind to it.
I felt if I chose a topic for this campaign (invention) that I could really get behind, the writing process would be easier. I’ve never considered myself an activist, but the phenomenon of our declining pollinator populations is concerning to me. Whenever I think about this problem, which is often, I ask myself, what can I do? So, I chose this as my topic thinking the topic would write itself, because it mattered to me. But, this was not the case. Topic aside, it took a great deal of thought and hard work to put together, what I hope is, a cohesive campaign. Also, having made it through the project, I feel I can apply the skillset called upon to complete this assignment to any project that relies on logical arguments and coherent persuasive writing.
Rhetoric factored into every aspect of this campaign. I considered the rhetorical situation as I researched and organized my thoughts about this campaign’s topic. As I was conducting research for this campaign, I thought about how I was going to shape my message. I asked myself, given the issue, to what should I appeal? To emotion (pathos)? To logic (logos)? And how much did I need to focus on building up the campaign’s credibility (ethos)? I felt members of a general audience would have similar thoughts as I do: What can I do? I’m just one person.
I realized that all of the rhetorical appeals had a place in the context of this campaign. The issue is important and valid and therefore audience members would need information and knowledge to base their decisions on, to decide whether to act. The issues need to be explained in a logical manner. But, logic alone would not be enough. I felt the need to appeal to the audience’s emotions (pathos), because the issue was too important to leave to logic alone. Humans are emotional, after all. I needed to pull them in (Pullman 92) by elevating them; by making them aware that they play a vital role in finding a solution to this problem.
I began to feel good about my paper after about my fifth revision. The words on the page began to take on an almost 3-D shape in my head. I was beginning to conceptualize the bigger picture, beginning to see how the rhetorical situation set the context for my campaign. I began to truly appreciate how the issue (pollinator decline) had to matter to an audience. I had to find that audience or there would be no rhetorical situation. If I did find an audience, I could see how constraints or obstacles – for example, disinterest – could throw up a wall between my audience and my message. How could I use this information to shape my message?
To sum it all up, as a piece of research and writing, I am extremely proud of the work I put into this campaign. I am proud of the research. I am proud of the writing. I only wish I would have had more time to develop it further. I’m taking Digital Narrative this summer. Perhaps I can carry on developing this campaign and its message within that medium.
- Created: April 27, 2018
- Last update: February 23, 2019
- Tools Used: Microsoft Word 2010
- Keywords: Campaign, Flyer, Poster, Persuasive Writing