Evaluating an Argument-Chevy Volt Commericals

I watch too much television.  I come home from work, plop myself down in front of the television and absorb whatever it is the television gods guide me to see.  However, being the forever teacher, I always find myself analyzing the rhetoric of whatever it is I see.  While lounging on my couch thinking about my students’ struggle to evaluate the argument, lo and behold the television gods sent me a gem of a commercial.  Typically I just fast forward through commercials, but this one is striking and I have found myself watching it over and over again.  There are a variety of Chevy Volt commercials for a campaign titled “Happy Volt Owners.”  Below are two of my favorites.

 

While my students are improving when it comes to analyzing how an argument develops, they still struggle with how to identify the logical fallacies of an argument and the flaws that affect the conceptual foundation of the argument.  This year, I’m going to play them these videos and ask them the following:

  • Literally, what is the primary argument of these videos?
  • In the larger sense, what is being suggested by Chevy?
  • What logic is used to present this argument?
  • What evidence is used to defend the position?  To what extent does it actually support the claim?
  • What holes or flaws can you find within the argument?
  • What errors exist in Chevy’s reasoning?

Even though these videos do not lend themselves to deep analysis, I think they remind students the importane of examining the actual argument and serves as a good introduction to argument analysis as a whole.

 

3 comments

  1. Cathy says:

    The Volt commercial I dislike the most is the one where the blond woman says, “. . . I go to the gas station such a small amount. . .” Why didn’t the producers of this commercial realize that “amount” is used for quantity, not frequency. What she should have said is, “I go to gas stations quite infrequently. . .”

  2. Julie says:

    After watching the dark hair young lady’s Chevy Volt’s commercial. It’s full of holes, YET it could cause the consumer to look into it. I (positively & supportively) got online and check out the Volt!
    Even a poor commercial can lead students to understand logical fallacies, and become more aware of their own argument/debate writing.
    I would teach my students:
    • Stick to the subject (whatever topic it is).
    • Find the evidence to support your claim (they’d better be true, clear definition and examples of what evidence is).
    • Teach evidence types (scientific measurement, how nature works, by observation, by statistics, & professional opinions)
    • Sell the facts, logical points (not your friend’s opinions; such as” they say my car is like a spaceship, etc….)
    • Read your writing in front of your classmates or friends, or family members who are not afraid of criticizing or giving their suggestions.
    • Listen to people’s correction and make your writing better!
    • Polish your argument writing skills as you progress, one step at a time!

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