Wolves at the Door: Musical persuasion in a 2004 Bush-Cheney advertisement
Keywords:Music in advertising, political advertising, musical persuasion
AbstractMany journalists and scholars overlook the discursive role of music in TV political advertisements. But we argue that music is a potent means of political persuasion. Music in advertisements is determinative; all other elements—images, voiceovers, sound effects, written text, and so on—are circumscribed by the music and interpreted in relation to it. Music determines an advertisement’s character through framing and underscoring; musical frames establish interpretative categories and generate expectations, while underscoring comprises music that closely coordinates with images and voiceovers to form a persuasive aesthetic and rhetorical unity. A close reading of a 2004 Bush-Cheney advertisement applies this theory of frames and underscoring to explain the advertisement’s effectiveness. Without music, the advertisement would not only fail to persuade, it would also make no sense.
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