Rhetorical Analysis:

The purpose of the billboard ad is, clearly, to sell Sharpie pens, but the genius of this ad is in the highlighting of the fact that Sharpie pens can be fun for everyone. I think that the intended audience would be primarily parents, with young children being a close second target audience. I feel as though parents are being targeted with this ad because it showcases a potentially mundane parental duty–making lunch for kids before school. This ad shows parents how much fun they can make their kids’ lunches with a simple drawing made by not just any pen, but a Sharpie pen. It also gives them a way for their kids to think of them while they’re at school because what better way to say “Have a good day, son/daughter” than a funny face on one’s lunch? For this reason, I feel like young kids are being targeted by the ad because of the potential fun that having Sharpie pens can cause. The funny face on his or her lunch is something that the kid can look forward to, or even make themselves, if their parents let them. The image prompts the reader to, if anything else, think about how useful Sharpies can be, not just for drawing on kids’ lunches, but also with the labeling of lunches, and why stop at lunches? Things need to be labeled all the time, so why not get a whole pack of Sharpies to organize your living space?

Design Analysis:

The design element implemented here is that of Balance. The ad is symmetrically balanced–although it seems that not everything is exactly centered/balanced on either side of the graphic, if you draw an imaginary line down the middle of the graphic, there are equal elements on either side. The elements of the graphic seem to be in a diagonal, with elements in the opposing corners of top-left and bottom-right in the overall graphic. The red Sharpie is still the focal point because it is so close to the middle of the graphic and because it it bolder than any other color used in the ad, except perhaps for the yellow highlight. Speaking of which, the ad balances itself out by having two parts of the corner elements highlighted with the yellow and with the white text in either corner. I think that the ad reaches its target audience because of the fact that it highlights the fun aspect of Sharpies for both parents and children. It sends a little message, almost, like “add come color to your life with Sharpies.”