Beau Greenwood


April 10, 2021   /  

Name: Beau Greenwood
Major: Communication Studies
Minor: History
Advisors: Denise Bostdorff, Ph.D., and Michelle Johnson, Ph.D.

The purpose of this study is to determine the rhetorical characteristics of Penzeys Spices’ Facebook ads that were explicit political advertisements opposing President Donald Trump. More specifically, I examine messages by Penzeys Spices that supported his impeachment in 2020. This study uses the method of generic criticism to find similarities among messages. In order to find the similarities, I chose a total of four Penzeys Spices explicit advertisements. I analyzed these four advertisements to identify the recurring similarities within Penzeys Spices explicit advertising. The language within the advertisements and comment section of these advertisements allowed me to see how Penzeys Spices used Brand Alignment and Brand Identity.One major conclusion found from my study is how Penzeys Spices justified its use of explicit political advertising. In its ads, Penzeys Spices pointed to a crisis, instigated by Donald Trump, that demanded the company respond. In contrast, Penzeys Spices depicted both the company and its CEO as heroic, principled, and compassionate. This is important because it further illustrates that the company’s explicit advertising is acting out of good faith rather than looking for controversy. Penzeys connects their brand with their consumers through promotions that are used as a tool to align and identify with their audience. An example of these promotions is the “V for victory pin”.Based on the conclusions, implications, and limitations found within this study, I can see several options for future research. One possibility for future research could be to analyze the audience’s reception of any future explicit Penzeys Spices’ advertisements.


Beau will be online to field comments on April 16:
4-6pm EDT (PST: 1-3pm, Africa/Europe: late evening)


  1. I’ll be stopping by later, Beau, but just wanted to wish you good luck with the symposium. Working with you on this project was fun and also the reason that Penzeys Spices is now stalking me on FaceBook, lol.

    1. Thankyou Dr.Bostdorff! This project was a pleasure to work with you on! So cool how a small spice company can make an impact!

  2. Congratulations Beau. I look forward to learning more about your IS process and findings.

    1. Thankyou so much! It has been quite the journey from freshman year until now! Thankyou for all you’ve done to help me reach this point!

  3. Congratulations Beau, on completing the journey. I have been so pleased to see you grow throughout these last four years. Good luck with your post-Wooster journey, and please do keep in touch with the folks here.

    1. Dr.Pasteur,

      Thankyou for all you’ve done to help me throughout my time at the College of Wooster. It has been a crazy ride since freshman year FYS class! Thankyou for the well whishes and I will make sure to keep in contact!

  4. Beau, remember the reasons you chose to attend The College of Wooster. One was you felt it was a special place, if you could compete in the classroom and earn a degree, you would leave there a better person. Congrats, you did it son. We don’t have the words to appropriately describe just how proud of you we are. All of our best, Mom and Dad.

    1. Mom and dad,

      I couldn’t have completed this journey without the support from you guys. Thankyou for all you’ve done for me throughout my time at The College of Wooster.

  5. Congratulations, Beau, and best of luck on your symposium. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone! I’m so proud of you!

    1. Ms. Watkins,

      Thankyou for everything you’ve done for me since elementary school! It is crazy to think about how quickly the time has come and gone! Thankyou for everything once again!

  6. Congratulations, Beau on such an interesting IS! Your results are even more timely with the discussion surrounding businesses and political messaging, such as around Georgia’s new voting law. Do you see more companies following the same path as Penzey’s?

    1. Professor Schen,

      This is a very interesting point that you have brought up. During the process of writing my I.S. one objective was to see if any other company was creating explicit political ads. However, after some research, finding companies that made explicit political advertisements like Penzeys was a difficult task. Most of the times if a company were to get political within an advertisement it would be taken in a direction of implicit. All things considered, I think that Penzey’s has laid out the ground work on how to make explicit political advertisements without receiving major blow back. Which in return I believe this will motivate other companies to follow Penzeys footsteps and make explicit political advertisements in the future. Potentially on a topic like Georgia’s New voting laws.

  7. Beau, congrats on all of the hard work coming together and paying off. Quick question: when you mention that qualitative research methods were used, what were some examples of these methods?

    1. Eric,

      This is a great question, One method that I used was called Generic Criticism. The main purpose of this method was to find reoccurring similarities among the four specific advertisements I selected from Penzeys Spices. An example of this could be reoccurring descriptive words or general reoccurring themes. Lastly, I would like to thankyou for all you’ve done to help support me throughout Elementary school, Highschool, and now college.

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