Essay topics: The following is taken from a memo from the advertising director of the Super Screen Movie Production Company.
"According to a recent report from our marketing department, during the past year, fewer people attended Super Screen-produced movies than in any other year. And yet the percentage of positive reviews by movie reviewers about specific Super Screen movies actually increased during the past year. Clearly, the contents of these reviews are not reaching enough of our prospective viewers. Thus, 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. Super Screen should therefore allocate a greater share of its budget next year to reaching the public through advertising."
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.
In this argument, the advertising director advocates that Super Screen should allocate a greater share of its budget next year to reaching the public through advertising. Although this might seem reasonable at first glance, it is in fact ill-conceived. The reasons are stated as follows.
In the first place, the advertising director argues that fewer people attended Super Screen-produced movies during the past year than any other year according to their marketing department. Although this is entirely possible, the director offers no evidence to substantiate this crucial assumption. It is very unlikely that their marketing department only account the direct Super Screen-produced movies except relative ones. An appropriate example is not very far to seek. Super Screen may have more cooperated post-productions with other movies production companies. The assumption is definitely flawed unless the advertising director can explain that these and other possible scenarios are unlikely.
In the second place, the advertising director argues that the percentage of the reviewers who gave positive feedbacks for Super Screen movies increased during the past year. Nevertheless, there is no guarantee that this is necessarily the case and the director does not supply any evidence to confirm the assumption. It is quite possible that the marketing department only calculated the limited review sources. To illustrate this point clearly, let us take a look at the following representative example. The marketing department might focus on the web advertisting during the past year. It is likely that the marketing department only calculated the numbers of reviewers online except other media. Without accounting for and ruling out these alternative explanations, the director cannot bolster the recommendation.
the last but not least important, even if the evidence turns out to support the foregoing assumptions, the director just simply assumes that the problem lies with the public's lack of awareness that movies of good quality are available and no conclusive evidence support this assumption. It is reasonable to doubt that this is necessary not the case. It is just possible that Super Screen might allocate too much budget to advertising and produce worse quality movies during the past years than in any other years. For example, Super Screen might cut their budget on casts due to their limited budget. To reach the cited conclusion, the director should explain either why none of these alternatives are available or none of them is able to sustain.
In sum, the advertising director's argument is not based on valid evidence and sound reasoning. Neither of which is dispensable for conclusion. To draw a better conclusion, the director should reason more carefully, cite more evidence that is persuasive, and take all possible consideration into account.
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