The following is taken from a memo from the advertising director of the Silver Screen Movie Production Company.
"According to a recent report from our marketing department, fewer people attended movies produced by Silver Screen during the past year than in any other year. And yet the percentage of generally favorable comments by movie reviewers about specific Silver Screen movies actually increased during this period. Clearly, the contents of these reviews are not reaching enough of our prospective viewers; so the problem lies not with the quality of our movies but with the public's lack of awareness that movies of good quality are available. Silver Screen should therefore spend more of its budget next year on reaching the public through advertising and less on producing new movies."
The argument presented above is relatively sound, however, the author fails to recognize all the elements necessary to evaluate his situation. The idea that more money be invested in advertising may be a helpful one, but perhaps not because people are unaware of the current reviews. To clarify, it may be necessary to advertise more in order to increase sales, however that could be due to many circumstances such as a decrease in the public's overall attendance, an increase in the cost of movies, or a lack of trust in the opinions of the reviewers.
The advertising director first needs to determine the relative proportion of movie goers that choose to see Silver Screen films. That will help him to understand his market share. If the population in general is attending less, then he may still be out-profiting his competitors, despite his individual sales decrease. In fact, his relative sales could be increasing. Determining where he stands in his market will help him to create and implement an action plan.
Another important thing to consder is the relative cost of attending movies to the current standard of living. If the standard of living is decreasing, it may contribute to an overall decrease in attendance. In that case, advertising could be very helpful, in that a clever campaign could emphasize the low cost of movies as compared to many other leisure activities. This could offset financial anxieties of potential customers.
Finally, it is important to remember that people rarely trust movie reviewers. For that reason, it is important that the films appeal to the populus, and not critics alone. The best advertisement in many cases is word of mouth. No matter what critics say, people tend to take the opinions of friends more seriously. This supports continual funding to produce quality movies that will appeal to the average person.
There is no reason that silver screen should not spend more on advertisement, however, there is reason to continue to invest in diverse, quality films. Furthermore, the company must consider carefully what it chooses to emphasize in its advertisement.
Although the response begins by stating that the argument "is relatively sound," it immediately goes on to develop a critique. The response identifies three major flaws in the argument and provides a careful and thorough analysis. The main points discussed are that
-- the fall-off in attendance might be industry wide
-- the general state of the economy might have affected movie attendance
-- movie goers "rarely trust movie reviewers"
Each of these points is developed; together they are presented within the context of a larger idea: that while spending more money on advertising may be helpful, the company should "continue to invest in diverse, quality films."
This is a smoothly written, well-developed analysis in which syntactic variety and the excellent use of transitions make for a virtually seamless response. This paper clearly merits a score of 6.