Zero to Hero: Propaganda Poster


0 propaganda poster

Using methods such as the hero and hero’s journey archetype, persuasive techniques, and visual effects, this poster urges men to join the army during World War II with the incentive that they would become a hero.

The hero archetype is visible in this poster as the soldier is portrayed as a heroic figure who risks his life for the good of all in the line of duty, evident in the slogan ‘Zero to Hero’. This hero archetype is used as a form of bribery to motivate people to enlist, saying that joining the army would turn whoever enlists from a misfit to someone other people strive to be and look up to.

The hero’s journey archetype can be seen through the character change the hero must go through to become the hero that he is, encountering the stages of “The Ordinary World”, where the hero is still his ‘zero’ self, then the “Call to Adventure” stage, where he receives the summon to begin his journey as a soldier, though he might be reluctant to accept. After undergoing numerous tests as a soldier, he then returns victorious as a hero.

Pathos is a technique used here as the common man would feel the urge to experience the glory being a hero must receive, further inciting them to respond to the intentionally vague glittering generality of “Zero to Hero”.

There is a consistent color scheme of red, white, and blue used in the frame and background that creates unity and reminds American citizens of the nationalism and duty should feel towards their country. Only the heroic figure is not following that color scheme in order to provide contrast and make him the dominant element. The slogan in the foreground is done according to the color scheme as well, with the word “hero” in a brighter, different color to increase its visual weight. The message of this poster, “Enlist Today”, has red stars next to it to make it the focal point and convince viewers of its importance and righteousness. The raised American flag in the background further enhances the patriotism as well as represents victory and pride.

To convince men to enlist in the army, a clear theme of bribery is used with a glittering generality in the form of a slogan, “Zero to Hero” with the message that even the common man can become someone with the traits of the hero archetype.