Link to apology: https://youtu.be/nFwMTG6T_PI
An apology is a formal acknowledgment of any wrongdoing or mistake. In apologies, especially public ones, rhetorical strategies can be employed with the intent to win favor with an audience or to reduce the perception of fault. For this assignment, I have chosen to analyze Jenna Marbles’ iconic 47-minute-long apology video. This video was uploaded to Jenna’s YouTube channel in 2017 after a pet fish that she recently bought died while in her care. She posted the video to publicly apologize for placing her fish in the wrong size tank. More specifically, she purchased a circular tank and should have purchased a rectangular tank for her fish. Yep, she made a 47-minute-long video about a fish.
Jenna Marbles is one of the most popular YouTubers out there, so she naturally posted this apology in the form of a YouTube video. For her, this is the most rhetorically effective way to publicly apologize and win favor with her audience.
In the video, Jenna uses a myriad of rhetorical strategies to win favor with her audience. Perhaps the most significant strategy she uses is logos. Jenna spends approximately 25-30 minutes of her 47-minute video to talk about proper handling and care of fish. At the end of the video, Jenna also utilizes logos by providing a logical solution to her mistakes. Immediately succeeding the video, Jenna posts a video explaining what not to do when buying a fish from a pet store and explains what she could have done differently.
Another effective use of rhetoric Jenna uses in her apology is the admission of her faults profusely. This strategy called the tactical flaw, which reveals a weakness that wins sympathy from her audience (Heinrichs 64). Jenna also talks about her own emotional state in regard to harming her fish. She explains that this situation affected her so much, that she “didn’t sleep the Monday-Thursday after this happened.” Jenna repeatedly makes it known that harming a five-dollar fish affected her very deeply. This statement, another tactical flaw, shows her dedication to her audience’s values.