Commercial Ads Comparison Essay
Rhetoric, by Aristotle, describes three modes of persuasion commonly referred to as persuasion appeals. These are ethos, logos, and pathos. Understandably, persuasion is a key aspect in commercial advertising, whereby companies rely on the same to market their products. The message in commercial advertisements is tailored to resonate with a selected audience to influence them to purchase a product. Using Aristotle’s persuasive appeals, this essay will compare/contrast two commercial advertisements to determine which is more effectively persuasive. The selected advertisements are Burger King Russia’s FIFA 2018 commercial, and Volvo XC60 commercial from 2017. An analysis using ethos, logos, and pathos found the latter commercial to be more persuasive.
Pathos is used to appeal to the emotions of a target audience. It may also be used to invoke the audience’s hopes and imaginations, usually by painting a positive future based on a certain scenario. While Volvo’s commercial targets car owners and potential buyers, Burger King is focused on female football fans and an already existing clientele. Volvo wants viewers to desire or see the need for a safer car model, while Burger King seeks boost the sale of its “Whoppers” burger, with the latter having a wider audience courtesy of the FIFA World Cup. These commercials have varying results, for instance the Volvo commercial is relatable to the extent viewers can invest emotionally. In the backdrop of a little girl describing her dreams and snippets from her future life, the audience is taken through the harrowing moment she is almost hit by a car (“The New Volvo XC60 – Moments”). It is thus a relief when she survives and fulfils her ambitions. The audience is initially sympathetic over the fact that she may not achieve her dreams if she is hit by the car, and later happy that she did, thus making the commercial effectively persuasive.
On the other hand, the FIFA Burger King commercial has a largely detrimental effect on viewers. First, the advertisement draws attention away from its products by focusing on an unappealing topic. The subject in question is a distasteful jab at women that is sexist and deviates from the brand’s product, in this case “Whoppers.” The commercial, however, attempts to paint a promising future where Russia will have a superior football team, something that football fans can resonate with. Their failure to impact on positive emotions is mainly because the commercial is derogatory to women and also does not present Russia in a positive light (Rogers).
Ethos appeals to the credibility of the speakers or characters in the advertisements. Both commercials attempt to present their products as being desirable through the use of everyday scenarios that resonate with viewers. Volvo, for instance utilizes the possibility of an accident, which is a common occurrence. Although pregnancy is a common phenomenon, Burger King went too far in their portrayal of the same by insinuating that football fever can result in immoral behaviour among young women. This does not impact well on their credibility as a brand. In spite of this, they use football to connect with the audience on a personal level, capitalizing on the fact that the FIFA World Cup is the most watched sport. Everyone, both young and old is likely to watch football and thus is bound to view the Burger King commercial at some point. Volvo envisions a typical mother and daughter scenario that is familiar to the audience. This sense of familiarity invites the viewer to see the characters in the commercial as everyday people, making them more relatable and credible. As a result, viewers are more likely to view Volvo in the same light, as a credible company.
Logos appeals to a voice of reason within an advertisement. Advertisements makes use of a logos appeal through facts and evidence. Volvo’s commercial certainly made use of logos when it showcased its vehicle’s capability to avert an accident. The vehicle in the commercial avoids hitting a pedestrian by coming to a halt seconds before the accident. This is possible because of the car’s safety features that detect an object in its path. All the events in the commercial lead up to this moment where Volvo gets to showcase its vehicle’s features with evidence that it can prevent a catastrophe. This makes Volvo a logical choice for any driver looking for a safer car.
The Burger King commercial defies logic, especially in its failure to show how their product will influence the outcome of the women’s pregnancies. Women were asked to “get the best football genes (Rogers).” It is illogical to presume that the offspring produced will certainly be good football players, or that they will even play at all. Also, if indeed good football players are sired, it is not evident that they will ensure Russia’s future success in the game. There is also no certainty that pregnant women will receive Burger King’s product or the prize money advertised. The Burger King commercial is thus unreasonable and misleading.
The above analysis found the Volvo commercial to be more effectively persuasive compared to that of Burger King. On the basis of Aristotle’s persuasive appeals, Volvo was found to be more relatable to the audience through its use of a familiar scenario, which also managed to evoke emotions among viewers. The entire commercial seemed logical in the end and certainly managed to showcase Volvo’s product. The only persuasive appeal in Burger King’s commercial is pathos, whereby the advertisement provoked negative feelings among viewers. The lack of ethos and logos make it less persuasive compared to Volvo’s advertisement.
“The New Volvo XC60 – Moments”. YouTube, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjQt2lEZIXg. Accessed 27 Sept 2018.
Rogers, Martin. “Burger King Apologizes for Offensive Russian World Cup Pregnancy Ad”. USA Today, 2018, https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/soccer/worldcup/2018/06/21/burger-king-apologizes-offensive-russian-world-cup-pregnancy-ad/720668002/.Accessed 27 Sept 2018.