Kony 2012

Posted: March 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

Today in class we watched then discussed the Kony 2012 video made by Invisible Children Inc and directed by Jason Russell. The video has been extremely successful as a rhetorical device to create awareness and a sense of urgency in millions of Americans, especially young Americans with time, energy, and ambition. I found an interesting part of the video and accompanying campaign to be the political campaign styling associated with the shirts, stickers, posters, etc. I have decided to look at that approach to rhetoric.

Kony 2012 is certainly not the first movement to use this tactic to get the attention of Americans. One example I know of is Car and Driver’s Save the Manuals! campaign. While I am not in any way comparing the goals of a semi-parody campaign to get manufacturers to keep building manuals to a movement to bring a war criminal to justice, the rhetorical strategies employed are comparable. Both make effective use of logos to capture the eye of someone who glances at a sticker or shirt. This first step is critical to get a person to think about the cause the symbol represents. Just like a Presidential election, a viewer will be compelled to research the topic and formulate their own views while becoming educated.

Both Invisible Children Inc. and Car and Driver created catchy slogans/titles to their campaigns. They did so as a solidification rhetorical agitation technique. Both “Kony 2012” and “Save the Manuals” are memorable, short, and elicit a sense curiosity towards the movement. When a person looks into the campaigns, they find a clean website and/or video along with well thought out and action inspiring arguments.

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"Save the Manuals!" logo from Car and Driver

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Kony 2012 from Invisible Children Inc.

The main difference between these campaigns is the seriousness of the Kony 2012 and the sarcastic approach to the Save the Manuals movement. The debate of which is a business and which is not (a Kony 2012 Action Kits costs $30 while a Save the Manual one costs $15) is a can of worms I think is best left closed for now.

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