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Trusted Companion
A Trusted Companion:
A Reflection on the Eastman Kodak Company
Mandy Paysse
McMurry University
[email protected]
MCM Station Box 68
Abilene, Texas 79697
Media Needs: Overhead Projector if possible
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Advertising has a sturdy hold on American society including the advertising of Kodak cameras
and products. Little research on the advertising of the Eastman Kodak Company exists despite
the organization’s prevalence in the photographic industry. As the times have changed, so have
the products, advertisements, and slogans for Kodak. Through an analysis of the persuasive
artistic proofs used by the Kodak company, this paper reveals how this prolific company has
managed to develop strong ethos, pathos, and logos within its advertisements. They primarily use
the images of women and children in the ads analyzed with strong enthymematic slogans to
express to the world that Kodak cameras are a trusted companion.
Trusted Companion
A Trusted Companion:
A Reflection upon the Eastman Kodak Company
Kodak’s advertisements aim to influence every person in society regardless of age,
gender, race, lifestyle or religion. Photography is the venue of artistic expression that has grown
in popularity as a means to capture life in every generation since the camera was introduced.
According to the 2001 Eastman Kodak Company Annual Report (2001), “The average [market
share] for the number of rolls of film scanned grew from 4.1% in the first quarter to 6.7% in just
the second half of the year. The number of images scanned showed a fourth-quarter, year-overyear increase of 49%” (Eastman Kodak Annual Report 2001, p.3).
Since its inception, photography has been used to capture memories that words can never
completely express. Kodak capitalized on the inimitable nature of acquiring living moments on
film. Photography evolved from a business to a national pastime in quick order. Advertisers
made it clear that cherished memories should not be beyond recollection. They should be
accessible for a lifetime of enjoyment. Photography has become invaluable for historians, poets,
writers, personal chronicles and the aesthetics of society. Photography is timeless, precious
jewel. It has changed the course and method of our living so that the past remains as real as the
present or future may ever be.
Reflection upon Kodak is justified for several reasons. First, we must explore how
slogans, metaphors, and imagery utilized by advertisers influences and crafts our culture. The use
of women and children in Kodak’s advertisements from the early 1900s to current time provide a
key insight to understanding the effects of this industry upon the larger society. Kodak as well as
its architect will be highlighted in order to demonstrate the success of the company. Little
Trusted Companion
research has been accessed on this company’s communication. Research demonstrates the
lacking amount of information dealing with the actual aspects of the company and the methods by
which the company has conducted its advertising. Only a limited review is available at this time.
Second, the ways of living in the 1920s were different than the ways of living in the
current time period. Time, people, trends and perceptions changed immensely with the dawn of
pictures. The Kodak ads of the 1920s show the lifestyles that attracted the audience of that time
period. Their new emphasis in graphic advertisement sought to increase dependency on the
visual medium. Society had become more visual and Eastman Kodak helped to spread a new
standard of visually communicating through advertising.
Third, people enjoy sharing their lives with their family, friends, and loved ones. It is a
way to grow closer in a given relationship through the use of self-disclosure. When people selfdisclose, stronger relationships are built between people. “Self-disclosure is a process in which
one person tells another person something that he or she would not reveal to just anyone” (Hybels
and Weaver, 2001, p.179). Self- disclosure is a way to express yourself to people you are close
to, to those who believe the way you do and to whom you trust. Pictures are a way to express your
self without the use of actual words. Photographs became an incredibly expressive tool in
developing and sustaining relationships. Advertisements show that Kodak emphasizes creating
lifelong memories. Though Kodak ads have changed over time, the consumer has always been
the focus of their advertising and product.
Review of Literature
George Eastman was a founder of the photographic business world in 1879. He organized
the Eastman Kodak Company in New York. Eastman started out a poor high school dropout. He
began his business career as a 14-year-old office boy at an insurance agency (Kodak, 2000). His
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curiosity peaked during these years of employment. He introduced the first Kodak Camera in
June of 1888. (Sullivan, 1988). Eastman Kodak was responsible for the popularization of
photography more than any other company (Kodak, 2000).
This invention was only the
beginning for the art of photography and the success for the Eastman Kodak Company. The
invention of the first camera created by Eastman made photography easy to use for anyone,
anywhere, at any time.
Not only did Eastman coin the brand name Kodak, but he also came up with the first
slogan created for the Kodak advertisements, “You press the Button…We Do the Rest”
(Sullivan, 1988). Even though the advertisements of Kodak products have changed and people
have changed over time, George Eastman made a commitment to make picture taking available
to everyone. This commitment he made at the start of his discovery has remained the same
throughout the company’s history.
The Eastman Kodak Company was organized in New York and has been called this since
1892 (Kodak, 2000). In 1895, Eastman introduced the pocket Kodak camera, the first camera to
be made partially of aluminum (Sullivan, 1988). Eastman opened the world of photography to
millions of people with the introduction of the first Brownie camera in 1900 (Sullivan, 1988).
This $1.00 camera, which was mainly designed for children, eventually became popular with
people of all ages.
Eastman had four basic principles for the business; mass production at low cost,
international distribution, extensive advertising, and a focus on the customer (Eastman Kodak,
2000 p.2). These principles have remained the background for the success of the company. In
addition to these principles, Eastman found that the company must focus on research and
development, fair treatment among the employees, and profits to extend the business in order to
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remain successful in the industry (Kodak, 2000). Kodak has always focused on making its
products available to a large amount of consumers in several different countries. Today, Kodak
manufacturing operates in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, Germany,
Australia and the United States of America (Kodak, 2000). The Kodak Company ranks as a
premier multinational corporation. It is one of the 25 largest companies in the United States of
America (Kodak, 2000). Over the years Kodak has made huge strides in keeping its positive
image. As a high profile company, Kodak set the industry standard in linking a positive image
with business basics. Company values include respect for the individual, uncompromising
integrity, trust, credibility, continuous improvement, personal renewal, recognition, and
celebration (Kodak, 2000).
Kodak’s early ad campaign ambitiously wanted to make its cameras inseparable from
Americans’ daily lives (Kodak, 2000). The content of its messaging encouraged consumers to
capture every moment in their life with the help of the Kodak products. The ads garnered
strength by tapping into conventional social concerns: the shortness of life; the need for
memories; the importance of a communal history. The average American found their message
appealing. Kodak had hit a key nerve in the national conscience.
John Alan Cohan (2001), contributing editor to the journal of business ethics, explains that
“Advertising is a paid announcement, usually targeting a specific market group, designed to
influence the purchase of goods or services” (Cohan, 2001, ¶4). The specific purpose of an
advertisement is to give information to the targeted consumer groups about the availability, use,
and purpose of the product. Persuasive strategies were employed to target the consumer into
purchasing the product. Kodak’s advertisements were placed in every imaginable location. They
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have appeared on television, the radio, in magazines, newspapers, billboards, and the Internet.
The influence of advertising is neither morally virtuous nor a detriment to consumers (Cohan,
2001). However, it is highly informative and serves a vital function in society by enhancing the
quality of our lives. In contrast, advertising has extended the desire for material gain in our lives,
and makes consumers believe that happiness is acquired through materialistic gain.
Advertising often shows the consumer that possession of materialistic gain is the pathway
to a happy and fulfilling life. It depicts a product by using an appealing method so that the
consumer ought to feel a need or desire to obtain the product in order to get him/her to purchase
it. Likewise, advertising makes consumers more susceptible to persuasion by playing a large
role on our physical inhibitions. The advertising campaigns that are successful have the ability
to bypass rational thinking by tapping into the psyche of the targeted audience through the use of
persuasion, therefore playing a role on our physical inhibitions. They can have the ability to
persuade the consumer to buy products that could be harmful or useless, entertaining or helpful.
According to Cohan (2001), “research shows that six-month-old babies are already forming
mental images of corporate logos and mascots. By the time they are three years old, most
children are making specific requests for brand-name products” (Cohan, 2001, ¶18). Advertising
aims at generating product identification of the audience (Cohan, 2001). This shows that
advertising has a way of persuading their audience practically at birth. Consumers are often
influenced through the use of various subliminal techniques.
Metaphors play an extensive role in advertising as well. Metaphors enable individuals to
make better sense of the advertisements that they are exposed to. “Metaphors therefore may be
popular in advertisements because they relate a product unfamiliar to the consumer to something
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that is familiar and shared by both the advertiser and the consumer” (Pawlowski, Baadzinski, &
Mitchell, 1998, ¶ 19).
Metaphors used in advertisements have the ability to bring forth emotions and desires of
the imagination. Advertisements that use effective metaphors have the ability to create mental
pictures that are beneficial to the company. Metaphors strengthen the ads by assisting the
consumer with a vivid mental image through the use of words. In the early ads by Kodak, they
used pictures that showed families gathering together using a Kodak. Tabloids provided a good
medium for this type of advertising. The combination of language and picture increase the
quality and message clarity for each ad. Many advertisements rely on slogans to get their
message across along with key imagery elements. Kodak’s use of slogans with the imagery of
women and children demonstrate this trend quite clearly.
Slogans are often used for entertainment purposes only in the advertisement world. The
purpose is to attract and keep the attention of viewers and make them more susceptible to
persuasion. That is the reason slogans are generally created with a musical tune. The advertisers
want the audience to remember the slogan. After all, what is a better way to remember a slogan?
“Advertising slogans also can play an important role in either supporting or undermining
a brand extension strategy. This is achieved by drawing attention to attributes that the brand
extension either has in common or conflict with other market brands(Pryor & Brodie, 1998 ¶ 4).”
Kodak’s mission statement provides an important piece of organizational rhetoric that under
girds their approach to business and advertising:
Kodak seeks to build a world-class, results-oriented culture…by providing customers and
consumers with solutions to capture, store, process, output and communicate images to people
and machines anywhere, anytime…bringing differentiated, cost-effective solutions… to the
marketplace quickly and with flawless quality through a diverse team of energetic employees
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what the world-class talent and skills necessary to sustain Kodak as the World Leader in
Imaging.” (Eastman Kodak Manual, 2001)
The broad scope of Kodak’s efforts becomes evident in light of this quote. In order to be an
industry leader, its products must be marketed worldwide to all cultures of people.
When a company’s advertisements change, revised slogans and logos are never far
behind. The freshness of a business image often increases the awareness of potential buyers.
William Wells and John Burnett, authors of Advertising—Principles and Practice, explains the
pivotal nature of tending to the corporate image: “The advertising slogan is a very important and
common technique that is used to provide continuity to advertising campaigns or to advertise
brands” (Mathur & Mathur, 1995, ¶4). When advertisers change a slogan, it is hoped the change
will improve the profitability of the company. A slogan is designed to be catchy and memorable.
Many advertisers use alliteration, rhyme, and rhythm in creating a catchy slogan. “Generally,
firms change advertising slogans to improve marketing strategy and financial performance”
(Mathur & Mathur, 1995, ¶8). When trends and lifestyles change, consumers change too. When
the consumer’s taste in something changes, their preferences tend to change.
How Kodak advertisement adjusted to consumer trends is a telling portrait of how
business came to understand the public it served. The prominence of particular values, themes
and socially constructed realities clearly indicate the leaning perceptions of advertisers and
business executives of that time period. A methodic look at just a few of these advertisements
reveals the focus of Kodak’s approach to selling its goods.
Persuasion researcher Charles U. Larson informs us that (2001), “The field of modern
communication can trace its roots to the ancient Greeks, who were the first to systematize the use
of persuasion, calling it “rhetoric” (Larson, 2001, p.8). The purpose of persuasion is to change
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the attitudes, beliefs, or actions of another. Persuaders have the ability to tap into the emotions
of the audience by their choice of words and images. In addition to that, they can heighten that
emotion by changing their tone and volume of voice as well as the rate of speaking. “The Greek
word for rhetoric comes from rhetorike, ike, meaning “art or skill of,” and rhetor, meaning an
experienced political/public speaker” (Campbell, 1996, p.5). “Aristotle believed that there were
certain immutable truths of nature, which he designated as the province of metaphysics or
science (theoria). He recognized a different sort of wisdom or social knowledge (phronesis) as
needed to make choices about matters affecting communities or a whole society. These illusive
truths describe a contingent attitude toward cultural values, the situation, and the nature of the
issue” (Campbell, 1996, p.6).
Advertisements are an issue of rhetoric because of how the advertisement is interpreted
by those affected. This depends on how the viewer thinks that the advertisement ought to be and
what it truly is. Some individuals may interpret the advertisement different than others, therefore
resulting in a difference of opinion. Advertisements are therefore a rhetorical act which is an
intentional, created, polished attempt to overcome the obstacles in a given situation with a
specific audience on a given issue to achieve a particular end” (Campbell, 1996, p.9). The
particular end that advertisements aim at accomplishing is success in persuasion. The advertisers
dispose an audience favorably toward the desire of their product. Rhetoric is tied to social values
that play a large role in ones interpretation of an advertisement. Advertisements are a way to
influence the targeted audience to act on the ad’s enticement. An action can become rhetorical
when an audience engages in interpretation and further acts on their interpretation. This
influence results from the use of artistic proofs.
Trusted Companion 11
Three forms of artistic proofs exist in persuasion. The first artistic proof is logos, or
logical argument. “Logos refers to appeals to the intellect, or to the rational side of humans”
(Larson, 2001, p.55). In this type of persuasion, the audience must be able to process statistical
data or examples in logical ways in order to come up with some type of conclusion. The
persuader’s responsibility is to predict how the audience will interpret their informationprocessing and conclusion-drawing patterns (Larson, 2001). When using the artistic proof of
persuasion logos, syllogisms are often created. When we argue in deduction patterns we argue in
the form of a syllogism, which contain a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion.
Logically the persuader must give evidence to support the premises so that the audience has the
information needed to fully understand the conclusion. The artistic application of a syllogism
involves the use of enthymemes. An enthymeme is the result of a rhetor’s skill in matching
one’s character as a rhetor, the style of the message, and the nature of the audience in developing
an artistic appeal. In advertising, advertisers may use graphs or tables to persuade the audience
to modify their behavior (Larson, 2001). Advertisers aim at creating a particular behavior by the
artistic applications of enthymemes. When enthymemes are used, the audience has to draw its
own conclusion based on the major and minor premise that is presented. Aristotle believed that
when enthymemes are coupled with audience involvement a “common ground” is formed
(Larson, 2001). He believed that a good way to find such common ground was to categorize the
places or topics of arguments also called the topoi. By doing this, the persuader has the ability to
decide and determine whether or not the place or topic will work for a particular audience.
The second form of artistic proof is ethos, or the appeal to credibility. “Credibility is
demonstrated by a rhetor largely through the display of three qualities in the rhetorical act: (1)
moral character or integrity, demonstrated through linking the message and rhetor with what the
Trusted Companion 12
audience considers virtuous; (2) intelligence, demonstrated through a display of common sense,
good taste, and familiarity with current topics and interests; and (3) good will, or the
establishment of rapport with the audience (Foss, 1996, p.30).” To create credibility, the speaker
must be straightforward with the audience. The audience perceives the speaker in some way or
another before the speaker even begins to speak. People have the tendency to form opinions or
build judgment on advertisements before they even know what the ad is about. The audience
perceives the ad in some way or another before knowing what it is actually advertised. This type
of perception plays a role in ethos because ethos is not only about credibility, but charisma and
image too. This brings forth the character of the speaker.
The last form of artistic proof is pathos, or the emotional appeal. “Pathos is a Greek
word derived from “patho,” meaning suffering” (Cockrell, 1988, p.2). This form of artistic proof
strives to tap into the emotions of the audience, as well as their needs, wants, desires, and wishes.
“People who are most successful at persuasion are those who can understand others’ motives and
desires even when these motives and desires are not stated” (Hybels & Weaver, 2001, p.571).
Therefore, pathos became a key ingredient in the equation of advertising.
Pathos is a strong proof in Kodak’s advertisements. It is clear their methods employ the
power of emotions in persuasion. Aristotle developed 14 emotions that deal with pathos: anger,
calmness, enmity, friendship, fear, confidence, shame, shamelessness, kindness, unkindness,
pity, indignation, envy, and emulation (Jasinski, 2001). After Aristotle developed these
emotional states, he analyzed each emotion in three ways. The first way was the individual’s
state of mind (who). The second was the objects (toward what) within the world which stimulate
that particular emotion. The third was the grounds (why) for the emotion itself (Jasinski, 2001).
In order to persuade an audience the advocate must reach both the mind as well as the heart of
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the audience (Jasinski, 2001). Based on the advertising aspect of pathos, the audience must have
an understanding of the product, and then have the will to purchase the product itself.
George Campbell, an 18th century scholar on Rhetoric, believes that the immediate sense
experience was the most important when persuading an individual (Jasinski, 2001). After
sensation, memory has the greatest impact on the passions, and after memory comes imagination
(Jasinski, 2001, p.422). Campbell identified seven specific “circumstances” that have a
significant impact on the passions (Jasinski, 2001, p.422). These include: probability,
plausibility, importance, proximity in time, connection of place, relation to the persons
concerned, and interest in the consequences (Jasinski, 2001). Even though Aristotle and
Campbell represent different accounts of pathos, they are both useful when applying them to
advertising. Advertisements focus on pathos because everyone feels an emotional experience.
After viewing the use of artistic proofs in the advertisements, Kodak is societies Trusted
Companion. The use of artistic proofs and rhetorical theory will be explained in further detail.
The implementation of these two methods will be described in specific Kodak advertisements.
An 1890 Walk in the ParkThis particular 1890 advertisement is a drawn black and white ad with the use of women
and children. A woman is taking the photograph of her daughter holding the hand of her play
doll. Her son, Jack, asks whether the child will be still long enough for the picture to be taken.
The mother responds by saying, “The Kodak will catch her whether she moves or not; it is as
“quick as a wink.”
The second slogan ever used by Eastman Kodak appears at the upper left hand margin of
the ad, “You press the button…We do the rest.” The appeal of this message appears to be on the
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capability of the Kodak camera to challenging photographic situations. The mother uses a
physical description to describe the cleverness and quality of the Kodak camera… “it’s as quick
as a wink.” The implication of her comment tells us that the Kodak camera is a handy, advanced
apparatus in capturing the moments of life. The advertisement captures the emotional appeal
through the mother having the desire to preserve the moment eternally. The alluring slogan
“You press the button…We do the rest” shows that Kodak is trustworthy enough to capture the
memory for a lifetime.
A Kodak Christmas
The artwork is reminiscent of an upper white class home on Christmas morning. Children
are sitting in front of a Christmas tree opening presents. Both children appear to be captivated by
what appears to be a Christmas Brownie Kodak camera. In the background, the father stands
firm with a larger Kodak camera ready to photograph the memories of this precious Christmas.
His wife and the children’s grandfather look on his moment of photography with expressions of
rapture upon their face.
At the top of the ad reads one of Kodak’s early slogans, “If it isn’t an Eastman, it isn’t a
Kodak.” Within the ad, two distinguishable cameras appear. One is a classic Kodak camera held
by the father. The other, quite poignantly, is a gift the children open – the well suited Brownie
Kodak camera specially made for any school boy or girl. Touted at the bottom is the suggestion
that Kodak cameras have the ability to keep the holiday memories “green.” The impetus behind
these ads would appear to suggest the following: 1) the only thing worth owning and giving is a
Kodak; 2) only Kodak has the power to keep memories alive; 3) Eastman is a credible name
brand used by the upper echelon of society; 4) the emotive expressions of the characters imply
the emotional allure of Eastman Kodak; 5) its logical appeal is clear in that it presents a major
Trusted Companion 15
premise, a minor premise along with enough quality information to draw the conclusion that
Kodak is your trusted companion.
The Role of Demographics
Advertisers must constantly remain aware of their targeted audience. Demographics play
a large role in shaping advertisement appeals, driving economic bargains and the development of
new products. Historically, women are responsible for about 80% of spending by consumers.
This results in about 70% of all retail spending in the United States (Cohan, 2001). In the more
current advertisements, women are more likely to be shown as product users rather than as
authority figures (Artz, Munger, & Purdy, 1999).
The earliest advertisements for Kodak cameras often depicted women using them.
(Kodak, 2001) Women were meant to reinforce how simple it was to take pictures and gain
power in society. It was argued that if a woman could take a picture that anyone could take a
picture because it was just that simple. Women in the early Kodak ads appeared energetic, bold
and knowledgeable about the product. Recent advertisements of Kodak products exhibit women
posing with a camera. The recent ads do not focus so much on scenery, situation, or occasion as
much as the product itself. Older ads show women with family or in the midst of an activity.
This creates a positive image that shows that women are intelligent in using the equipment. In
the late 1940’s and early 1950’s Kodak ads encouraged women to incorporate picture taking into
their lives. It was important to the company to draw in the female audience to use their products.
As a result, advertisers tended to employ women to sell their products. Most images in
advertisements that occur in text are produced by men and cast women in generic, stereotypical
form (Stern, 1999). “What is certain is that today it is very difficult for women to accept at the
same time their status as autonomous individuals and their womanly destiny; this is the source of
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the blundering and restlessness which sometimes cause them to be considered a “lost sex” (Cain
et al., 2001, p.1414). History shows that women were labeled as house-wives instead of career
women it has caused them to be considered inevitably lower than the male culture. Career
minded women have created new considerations in the development and persuasive message of
Gender gaps exist in how men and women relate to their needs and wants. Bridging this
gap are the combined advertising techniques that employ both a written and visual medium in
order to relay a message. Advertisements that use text, photographs, or both have the ability to
convey different cultural expectations and value systems for both men and women. According to
Barbara Stern (1999), contributing author to the American Academy of Advertising, “advertising
that depicts the diversity of humankind in a multiplicity of social roles could serve as a genuine
forum for a plurality of voices rather than as a forum for a narrowly defined consumer’s voice
that has been limited mostly to that of the white middle class (Stern, 1999, ¶40).” Advertising
that is broad based and appeals to a multiplicity of social roles is more effective in drawing in a
wider audience. If advertisement only used a particular social role for campaigns, then the range
of consumers would be more confined.
Ads created from the 1920s to the present day have changed with the times. Ads that
were created in the 1920s made it clear how the feminist demand for equality and freedom for
women was appropriated into the jargon of consumerism (Ewen, 1976). The work that women
did during this time period was traditionally viewed as home-production, set apart from the
world of industry (Ewen, 1976). The women may have been the targeted consumers, but their
roles as a working class were set apart from industry. A revolution was started by women of the
40s and 50s such as Simone de Beauvior’s The Second Sex, published in 1949. She identified
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women as the “other” sex, “automatically considered inferior by male dominant culture” (Stern,
1999, ¶ 4). It was a multidisciplinary essay that focused on the “lived experiences of women”
(Cain, et. al., 2001). In this book Simone De Beauvoir examined women from the subjective and
objective standpoint. It is understood in her writing that women are mysterious, beyond the
comprehension of men. Gender research has taken off since the 1980s and has been enriched by
multicultural studies, which provided the impetus for incorporating variables other than
biological sex-race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, education, and so forth in the study of
populations marginalized by the Western world’s neglect of culture other than that of males
(Stern, 1999).
In the 1960s and the 1970s women were considered to uphold a place as a wife, mother,
sex object, or housekeeper (Stern, 1999). During that particular time period men were dominant
and women were not. The perspective image of a woman was produced by men who referred to
women as the generic group (Stern, 1999). According to Register, “the approach known as the
sub-cultural approach is anchored by the assumption that different cultural expectations, life
experiences, and interpretive habits determine the way people construe meaning of incoming
media messages” (qt. in Stern, 1999, p.6 ). The way a person interprets something that the media
instills upon them determines a lot on the way that their culture believes. Women now have a
role in society that is not solely a house-wife; they now exist as career women. There are many
cases where the women make the family decisions in the household that differs from the 1900s.
In the 1900s the men generally made all family household decisions.
Research pertaining to the employment of children in advertisements is scarce. Research
suggests the value of children in advertisements is limited. Kodak employed children along with
Trusted Companion 18
adults to create a family encounter in their advertisements to show that their purpose is to create
memories, and many memories include family activities. According to Elizabeth S. Moore and
Richard L. Lutz, professors of the University of Chicago, “children gain marketplace information
from the products they encounter, advice from friends and relatives, and their own consumption
experiences” (2000 ¶ 3). This is prevalent in the Kodak ads pertaining to the Brownie cameras
since they are aimed specifically for the younger audience.
Kodak employed children in advertisements to draw a broader audience in with their
intergenerational appeal. In addition, the children were employed to depict the importance of
family encounters. “Children are not only playing a significant role in family decision making;
they are also gaining responsibility as consumers in their own right” (Pecheux & Derbaix, 1999,
¶2). The role of a child has increasingly changed throughout the years. In the early 1900’s the
child was not involved in making family decisions as they are today. “The fact that childhood
was increasingly a period of consuming goods and services made youth a powerful tool in the
ideological framework of business” (Ewen, 1976, p.139).
Children are the power of the present and future. Advertisers have decided to focus on
them as part of the targeted audience to gain revenue which starts early and is recurring.
Promoting the perspective of a younger audience became a key source of ideas. “Where ads
were not written directly for the young, they often spoke in the name of the young against
parental attitudes” (Ewen, 1976, p.144). Advertising reached the point where it began to portray
adults as being unskilled in dealing with the modern child. Parents became surrogate trendsetters
for their children. (Ewen, 1976, p.147). For example, the current Jiffy Peanut Butter slogan
“choosy mom’s choose Jiff” implies that Jiff Peanut Butter is the brand that mothers should buy
Trusted Companion 19
for their children. This slogan demonstrates the notion that children were the main target of
product selection and development rather than second line recipient of other product choices.
Advertisements encourage children to request a specific product and require adults to
play the role of the child at times. “Whatever goods were for sale, the promise that adults could
perform like children was essential to the messages of many ads” (Ewen, 1976, p.146). One
example that comes to mind is the Toys R Us commercials in the 1990s. The commercials often
showed adults playing in the store more so than children. Its lyrics suggested not “growing up”
so you could remain a Toys R Us Kid forever. With Kodak, this is true with the Brownie camera
ads. Though the camera was originally developed for children, its popularity grew among the
adult population. It may be said that the invention of the camera was an impetus for bringing out
the inner child of most adults.
In the 1960’s, Kodak ads started to use family gathering in their ads in order to create a
larger family attraction to photography. It was a major shift in how language, graphics and
strategy were utilized in Kodak’s plan for the future. Eastman Kodak had to make itself adhere to
the growing prominence of the nuclear family.
Symbols and Language
This paradigm shift brings to light the importance of studying the use of advertising
language and its influence upon the intended audience. “Rhetoric means the action humans
perform when they use symbols for the purpose of communicating with one another” (Foss,
1996, p.4). When there is an attempt to persuade someone through the use of images, rhetoric is
highly involved. As human beings we exert symbols in our lives to create a better
understanding. In advertising symbols help us to perceive the ad as something that we have
experienced or want to experience. This enables us to create a meaning to the ad as being good
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or bad. Symbols work in different ways and attract different meanings from various groups of
people. Clearly, the audience is an essential consideration when creating an advertisement.
When rhetoric affects us as individuals, we engage in action by making a conscious
decision about what to do. With Kodak, we are being persuaded to use the products made by
Kodak to capture memories that will last a lifetime. In this case, desire, will, and control play a
role in our lives. According to Foss, (1996), “We use rhetoric in an effort to persuade others- to
encourage others to change in some way. Rhetoric is an invitation to understanding- we offer
our perspective and invite others to enter our world and to see it as we do, not in hope that they
will adopt our perspective but so they can understand us and our perspective better (Foss, 1996,
p.4).” As symbols impact us in different ways, we try to distinguish why they have the impacts
on our lives as they do. The non-verbal symbols used in ads (such as Kodak’s) aim to persuade
consumers to buy their product.
Advertisements by Kodak are designed to attract the customer to desire to capture their
lives in picture form to have the ability to share them with their loved ones throughout their lives.
Kodak has used a wide variety of catchphrases throughout the years. One in particular that
reinforced the idea of the family on the go was “Kodak as You Go” (Kodak, 2001). Other
jingles included: “Take a Kodak with you” (an appeal to family outings) and “All outdoors invite
your Kodak”, “Let the children Kodak” and “At home with the Kodak.” The current Kodak
motto draws together the important sense of shared memories with loved ones and friends:
“Share moments, Share life.”
Metaphors are often used throughout advertisements. Specifically, Kodak uses
metaphors in both styles to create the themes of their campaigns. Some advertisements solely
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use metaphors through pictures or through words. Others have combined their use for a greater
sense of clarity and effectiveness.
Six values cap Kodak’s value policy. These values include: Respect for the dignity of the
individual, integrity, trust, credibility, continuous improvement and personal renewal, and
recognition and celebration (Kodak, 2001). These values have created the company that Kodak
is today.
Kodak uses enthymemes in practically every advertisement made. They do not tell you
to purchase a Kodak or to use Kodak directly. Nor do they make the conclusion perfectly clear
to the audience. Instead they use a major premise and a minor premise without the conclusion
directly being stated. This way the audience has to make the conclusion based upon the
information given. With the current slogan, “Share moments, Share life”, it does not tell the
consumer they must purchase Kodak’s products in order to share your moments and share your
life. Rather, it creates an emphasis that Kodak is the way to capture your most important
memories to share with those you care most about.
the advertiser wants the consumer to draw
the Right conclusion. Therefore, enough of evidence has to be presented in order for the
advertiser to get the consumer to draw the conclusion that they are aiming for.
Kodak’s catchy slogans are not only to grasp the audience’s attention, but to show that
their company is credible and trustworthy as well. Undoubtedly their slogans are short, simple
and catchy; but most of all they tell the audience that they are dependable. One in particular is
“Take a Kodak with you”. This slogan encourages you to take a Kodak with you no matter
where it is, and it will be dependable enough to capture that moment to take with you forever.
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The earlier slogans such as, “You press the button… We do the rest”, “If it isn’t and
Eastman, it isn’t a Kodak”, and “Take a Kodak with you” aim at showing the audience their
credibility. The Kodak camera is credible enough that all you have to do is press a simple little
button and it captures the moment.
Kodak focuses on the emotions of the audience a lot in their advertisements. One
television advertisement shows a little boy blowing up a picture of his grandmother in her
younger years playing softball. In this commercial the little boy is presented as the actual
consumer of the Kodak product. By Kodak choosing the little boy as the actual consumer of the
product, it becomes certain that the company focuses on consumers of all ages; including the
young. Mass media and parent- child interactions assist the children of the world to learn the
consumer role (Rose, Bush, & Kahle, 1998). After the little boy gets the picture printed on
Kodak paper he takes it with him to his grandmother’s house. The commercial ends with the
little boy asking the grandmother if she could “still do that,” and they both go off to play ball
together. The need for love and affection from family members is prevalent in this
The logical appeal of Eastman Kodak has always been seen through the eyes of
innovation and responsiveness to cultural needs. Throughout history the word logos has been
used as a descriptor “of that which makes sense of the world around us” (Aristotle, ethics). The
invention of the Kodak camera helped society to better reflect and capture the essence of the
human spirit. The appeal of their advertising was based upon this premise: our world makes
better sense when we can see it, touch it, and remember it.
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Advertising is a ubiquitous presence in society that has impacted everyone in some form
or another. The slogans that Kodak has used do not target only one culture; they have the ability
to target all cultures. Some slogans that the company has chosen reflect the product of the
company rather than the actual audience. This is the genuine fulfillment, and realization of
potential. Pathos also appeals to the passions and the will of the audience. Kodak’s current
slogan recognizes this fact with its slogan “Share moments, share life.”
Kodak’s reputation has been steadfast in its interpretation of credibility, honesty, and the
value driven life. In addition, the company has maintained a strong impression on the consumers
all over the world. It makes its products available to a wide variety of consumers and continues
to build a strong impression. This manner of consistency and business ethic makes Eastman
Kodak an excellent example of what it means to be a trusted companion to the human race in the
journey of life.
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