This poster from the World War II era was commissioned by the British War Office. It was made in 1939 by Abram Games, an artist who created numerous pieces of WWII propaganda. The poster deals with health, specifically how flies can spread disease through food. As indicated by the “your comrades” line at the bottom, this poster was intended to be seen by soldiers. Ideally, this poster would cause the soldiers to realize the dangers flies can present in terns of disease and encourage the soldiers to “KILL ALL FLIES.”
The initial aspect of this poster that catches the eye is the use of color. Only three things in this poster are not black and white: the food and the two ribbon like bands highlighting the large text. This draws attention to these aspects of the poster. The eye is first drawn to the word ‘disease’ because of the bright red color. The arrow then pulls the viewers eye to the food and then down to the poster’s ultimate message of death to the flies. Once these items are seen the viewer can then read the rest of the poster, but these initial words and symbols are what have been imprinted on the soldiers reading this poster.
Apart from the flat out saying “Kill All Flies,” the primary way this poster persuades its audience is through logos. Flies “carry disease from filth to food” and therefor you should kill the flies. This is a reasonable claim and presents a logical argument. This claim is backed by the nature of the poster itself. A printed poster hung in a military complex carries with it the ethos of the department that commissioned it and by extension the British government itself. The poster is then seen as a reliable source for information as opposed to, for example, a random magazine article (assuming that the soldier trusts their government more than the tabloids).
Emotion is another key way this poster conveys its message. The bottom line states that killing flies is a duty not just for yourself, but for “your comrades” and “your efficiency.” This use of pathos makes the issue not just about personal health, but about the army’s overall performance. That’s a fairly large jump in responsibility from taking care of yourself to taking care of the health of your nation’s entire armed forces. I think most soldiers would listen to this poster more than someone’s advice to kill flies if they want to stay healthy.