Speaker Credibility

There are three main factors that determine the credibility of a speaker are trust, expertise, and dynamism. President Obama is a good example for all three factors of credibility. He uses eloquence, eye contact, and speaks with certainty (dynamism). He ignites trust by using his past track record, a personal connection with his audience and stated positive views on god-topics (ha ha) to imply that he cares about the American people’s welfare. President Obama amplifies his own expertise (as a senator and lawyer) with deference to experts (example is the oil spill emergency). An George W. Bush is an interesting example of trust. At first, he used his track record of his upbringing, family ties, religion and southern drawl to gain the trust of the electorate, but after being in office for a while, people began to notice his inability to speak correctly (known colloquially as Bushisms), giving the impression that he was actually not very bright and had gotten his position through knowing the right people. Obama’s stellar speaking skills seem all the brighter as a follow-up to the late president Bush’s more redneck style.

An example of an ad that uses trust are the Windows 7 ads that use “regular family people” to sell the message that you can also be successful if you use the new version of Windows. The ad I cite has a voice-over of a woman as she “creates the perfect family portrait,” demonstrating how easy it is for an average person to perform. As stated in the section on proof by testimony, the audience will react favorably to a message that is delivered by someone who is like them – i.e. they will trust the mom in this ad more than Steve Ballmer or some executive who obviously wants you to buy the product because they will earn more money that way.

An example of an ad that uses expertise is almost any toothpaste ad. The ad I cite (Sensodyne) proclaims that their toothpaste is the recommended by 9 out of 10 dentists. The ad also shows cool diagrams of teeth, and testimony by a dentist, demonstrating that they know more about the structure of teeth than the viewer is likely to, placing them well into the expert category.

An example of an ad that uses dynamism to build credibility is a Geico Ad using their lizard mascot. The Geico gecko has an Aussie accent, and is cute and green. As a plus, the animation of the Geico lizard gives a greater range of facial expressions than would even be feasible for a human actor. The ad I cite as an example actually focuses on this fact, with one of the actors stating, “With all due respect, if I were tiny and green and had a British accent, I’d have more folks paying attention to me too...”

Obama looking for 'whose ass to kick' [Television news broadcast]. (2010, June 8). CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/06/07/gulf.oil.obama/index.html
Kurtzman, D. (n.d.). The 50 Dumbest Bush Quotes of All Time [compilation]. About.com. Retrieved from http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/bushquotes/a/dumbbushquotes.htm
Microsoft. (2011, November 9). Create the perfect family photo [Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/NJeW1teYx5U
figjunk (poster). (2011, April 3). Sensodyne Dentist Testimonial Ad [Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/d3jHtTmAEgU
602communications (poster). (2010, August 10). Geico: Accent [Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/W74DroB-dwM

No comments: