Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Brand and Media Strategy

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

A. Chase Mitchell

Committee Members

Andrew Dunn, Susan Waters


Emotional appeals are frequently employed in strategic messaging by nonprofit organizations. In this study, I identify instances of emotional appeals in select print adverts of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society, and use rhetorical analysis to explore how each organization’s tactics are strategic in their appeal to target audiences’ emotions. In doing so, I identify several reoccurring emotional themes—including hope, love, and unity—that engage their target audiences and persuade them to respond to diverse calls-to-action. In order to make these appeals to audience emotion, the adverts employ rhetorical devices such as personification, metaphor, repetition, and imagery. Rhetorical analysis of the two organizations’ strategic messaging suggests that their calls-to-action, at least in print adverts, rely heavily on appeals to audience emotion. Taken together, the data suggest that previous efforts made by these nonprofits have been proven successful.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.