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Rhetorical Analysis on Advanced Drainage Systems

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Dmitriy Vishnevskiy

Mr. Craig Buchner

English 402

31 January 2018

Rhetorical Analysis on Advanced Drainage Systems

Human communication evolved from being limited to many factors, such as distance and language, to becoming an effortless process of obtaining access to limitless information with close to no restraint. However, with opportunity comes competition, and in order for an ecommerce website to be ahead of its competition, the rhetorical situation of the brand’s online appearance has to be most efficient towards fulfilling the company’s purpose. A great example of rhetorical situation is seen in Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS), a marketing company with products and services for water management. ADS efficiently uses the format of their website to achieve their purpose by positively displaying the company’s reputation within the online content. The rhetorical situation of the ADS website efficiently persuades the audience to fulfill the company’s purpose by the use of ethos, pathos and logos within the visual elements designing the format, and within the wording of the content for the About-ADS page and the homepage.

ADS has its primary purpose in being recognized as a reliable option for the sanitation and drainage of water. The subtitle for the Advanced Drainage Systems homepage, points out the company’s primary purpose by claiming, “Today's storm water, drainage and sanitary sewer challenges require high quality products and expertise. Turn to Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS) for your water management solutions.” (“Groundbreaking”) This is an example of persuasion by logos because first, the quote addresses that problems caused by storm water require quality and expertise, then it offers ADS services as a solution. The goal of the subtitle is to create a resourceful and experienced reputation for ADS, hence the primary purpose.  

Not only does the website’s rhetoric serve towards creating a respectable reputation, but also, ADS has a mission statement that directs its focus towards a secondary purpose, conserving the environment. Within the About page for Advanced Drainage Systems the website asserts, “From safely pre-treating and managing stormwater runoff, to helping developers and property owners harvest rainwater, we focus on the development of water solutions that make land more arable, cities more livable, and the world a greener place to live” (“Breaking New Ground”). This excerpt appeals to pathos by referring to ADS as a company possessing selfless intentions and a focus on developing healthier living conditions. The appeal resides in communicating the current state of environment as substandard, creating an emotional response that a reader experiences when realizing the need for a change.

In order for a document to have an effective rhetorical analysis, it is fundamentally important to incorporate the document’s target audience within the rhetoric designing the content. Similarly, to achieve its primary purpose, ADS incorporated its consumer attributes within the visual elements designing its website. The ADS target audience is determined by the people with the highest demand for water management services, that being said, in order for people to use ADS products, they would have to own property instead of renting. The geographical distribution, according to Acolin et al., indicates that the homeownership rates for, ethnicity were highest in the Non-Hispanic white group, for age the 45-54 years old group, and for region the Midwest group, furthermore, the most thought-provoking detail is, for the last half-century these results were consistent (“A Renter or Homeowner Nation?”). The data found by Acolin et al. shows a part of the ADS audience as Non-Hispanic white, 45-54 years old, and residing in the Midwest region.  A substantial part of the ADS audience is blue-collar families that are likely unfamiliar with technical language, this was considered by the ADS website designers to improve rhetoric.

The primary use for ADS products and services is for renovation meaning the consumers are mainly construction officials planning a project, or house owners repairing property. Conducting research in a working atmosphere often involves multitasking, so in order to provide the audience with a simple, yet engaging navigation process, ADS makes use of design features within its website. Design techniques are determined by the type of document, the document’s intended audience, its purpose, and situation, meaning there is no single format for creating a technical document. However, despite the circumstance, there are four principles that help construct any technical document: proximity, alignment, repetition, and contrast (Markel 251). All 4 principles act as visual elements for improving navigation of research, so by integrating all of the principles ADS helps the researching process multitasking situation.

ADS builds personality and appeals to pathos with not only the words in the document, but also the design. There are certain colors, graphics, and typography styles, that subtlety trigger a person’s emotions based on their association with the visuals. Lohse, Gerald L., and Dennis L. Rosen explain, “Like color, the value of graphics extends beyond the idea of attracting attention or facilitating recall and retention of information. Graphics can also speed information processing because pictures provide information more quickly than text (“Signaling quality”). This is extremely evident on the homepage of ADS because the background is designed with a visual of bridges, making ADS seem more technologically advanced which serves its ultimate purpose of seeming reliable. The goal of the design process is to accelerate the search, making the reader appreciate the website, and to persuade the company’s message by formatting the website using features such as professional appearance which is achieved in ADS website by the design of bridges. 


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