Visual Rhetoric And Propaganda In Walmart

1109 Words 5 Pages
Visual rhetorics serve as the modern incarnation of the idiom, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Mainly used by corporations, these powerful tools encompass a plethora of persuasion techniques designed to reel in an audience. Their marketing success manifests the usefulness of visual rhetorics. One particular company, Walmart, thrives with the practice of visual rhetoric and propaganda. Walmart’s visual rhetorics played a major role in their rise to partaking in the retail Ruling Class. Their most recognized symbol involves a simple happy face that goes by the name of Smiley. Walmart simply illustrates Smiley with two oval-shaped eyes and a smile all over a round yellow face. This simplicity turned out to massively benefit Walmart. Utilizing …show more content…
According to Roland Barthes’ myth formula, a sign acts as a signifier when society assigns it a widely accepted meaning. The meaning of the sign, called the signified, makes a sign logical. Walmart aligns with the mythical concept by using the happy face as a signifier. Contemporary society defines a happy face based on a perpetuated idea that adheres to the media and the Ruling Class. Popular culture defines a happy face as an expression to show a feeling of pleasure. According to Walmart’s Ruling Class, Smiley elicits positive thoughts. More specifically, “the Smiley face was once meant to signify price cuts, or “rollbacks” in Walmart-speak. The revived incarnation is now intended to represent any low prices at the retailer” (Wahba). Walmart uses television commercials to showcase Smiley working hard to slash prices. Additionally, Walmart includes him in their in-store price signs by having Smiley on the upper left hand corner with “Rollback” next to his name. Walmart’s iconic emoji intertwines with classical conditioning since customers can relate to Smiley if they shop at the store. Smiley elicits a pleasing shopping experience for customers, forcing them to return because Walmart met their needs at an affordable price with their …show more content…
A simple, happy yellow-faced signifier became a driving force in their advertising campaign for nearly three decades. Smiley transformed to a signified sign by capturing the hearts of many because of his affiliation with “rollbacks”. Walmart took advantage of people’s frugality and turned it into mendacious propaganda just to benefit the Ruling Class, a group of individuals clearly dominated by white males. Classical conditioning along with distraction and denial prevented the consumer to denigrate the Walmart brand. Instead of perceiving about Walmart’s devastating effects to the environment, most Walmart customers only know about their sedulous efforts to make everyday products extremely affordable. Walmart effectively using Smiley as a visual rhetoric for propaganda purposes indicates society’s lack of media literacy. A society prone to accepting propaganda as reality would ultimately benefit the Ruling Class. In order to combat the Ruling Class, society must act upon their free will to increase their media literacy so they do not blindly fall into the trap of

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