GMAT : Analysis of An Argument

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An Argument

50. The following appeared as part of a business plan recommended by the new manager of a musical rock group called Zapped.

To succeed financially, Zapped needs greater name recognition. It should therefore diversify its commercial enterprises. The rock group Zonked plays the same type of music that Zapped plays, but it is much better known than Zapped because in addition to its concert tour and four albums, Zonked has a series of posters, a line of clothing and accessories and a contract with a major advertising agency to endorse a number of different products.


Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underline the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate in conclusion.


The new manager of the rock group Zapped believes that name recognition is the key to attaining financial success for the group. To increase name recognition the manager recommends that Zapped diversify its commercial enterprises. The ground for this recommendation is an analogy with Zonked, a much better-known rock group that plays the same kind of music as Zapped.

According to the manager, the main reason Zonked is better known than Zapped is that Zonked participates in several promotional enterprises in addition to concerts and albums.

The manager's recommendation is questionable for two reasons.

In the first place, the author assumes that the only relevant difference between Zapped and Zonked is that Zonked has greater name recognition than Zapped. If this were the case, the manager's recommendation would be apt. However, the fact that the two rock groups play the same kind of music leaves open the question of whether their performance of this music is comparable. If Zonked's performance is significantly better than Zapped's, this could go a long way toward explaining why Zonked is much better known.

In the second place, the author assumes that name recognition is all that is required for financial success.

While name recognition is an important element in determining the success or failure of any enterprise, it is hardly the only element required. Other factors are equally important. In the case of rock bands, factors such as musical talent, showmanship and repertoire play a significant role in determining the financial success of the group. If Zonked is superior to Zapped in these areas, this difference could account for Zonked's financial success.

In conclusion, the manager's argument is unconvincing. To strengthen the argument the author will have to show that Zapped and Zonked are alike in all relevant ways except name recognition.

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