A Rhetorical Analysis Essay Project
of 2015 Super Bowl Commercials
By Lexxi Bielen
English 12 with Mr. Smith at CNHS
2015 Super Bowl Commercial
Mr. Smith's English 12 Essay Project
Rhetorical Analysis Essay
By Lexxi Bielen
28 February 2015
Mercedes Benz Rhetorical Analysis
Slow and steady wins the race. As children, we were all told that once, or at least hear the fable where that piece of advice came from. Mercedes-Benz put a modern spin on this story book fable to advertise their new car: the Mercedes AMG GT S, a sleek, high performance sports car. The tortoise is still the winner, but instead of relying on the hare falling asleep, he relies on the speed of this luxurious car, stealing both the medal and the hares girl as he crosses the finish line in first place.
As the egotistical hare races ahead and stops to play cards along the way, the tortoise slowly plods forward until he comes across a Mercedes factory. Struck in awe by the spotlessly clean factory and the beautifully intricate car in front of him, he steals the vehicle and rushes ahead in the race.
Mercedes put a lot of time and money into this commercial, doing a series of “pre-race interviews” with both the hare and the tortoise on ESPN Sports Center, with a separate ad during the NFL Conference Championships on January 18. The ads saw NFL legend Jerry Rice and ESPN presenters Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic take part in a sports talk show. According to CNBC.com, Mercedes-Benz traffic increased 2189%, with BMW coming in a close second with 583%. With very good animatronics but a not-so-funny storyline, the commercial was rated four out of five stars.
Looking at the scene where the tortoise sneaks into the factory and steals a car to win in a foot race, the blog named Caranddriver points out that the commercial insinuates owners of this car “will do anything (i.e. cheat)” to win and to be the best. As the tortoise sees the car and the engine is dropped into the hood, he says “Slow and steady my-” and the engine revs, cutting off the profanity as the sports car lunges past the door and races through the course. Although Mercedes probably didn't mean to imply that their customers were cheaters, this was what it came across to the viewers. This scene connects emotionally with its viewers who love to look at cars. The Mercedes is new, shining as the sun hits the hood and gives us goosebumps and makes us catch our breath as the engine revs.
Though the company made sure to show the beauty and speed of the car, the price and specifics are completely omitted from the commercial. Mercedes said that they were trying to make a commercial that focused more on the entertainment value, putting in more components that helps tell the story rather than elements that would help sell a car. While viewers do enjoy looking at a lovely car, that’s all they can really do until they know how much they will have to pay for it. In order to find out how much and the specifics of this car, people will have to go online and look it up; or go to the actual dealership to ask salespeople, who will offer them packages, deals, and other options to suit the customer. By doing this, Mercedes-Benz increases their internet popularity in search engines and brings people in by peaking their interest.
The company uses pathos to appeal to its viewers by taking them back to their childhood. As children, many of us were told the story of the tortoise and the hare, being told that being slow isn't always a bad thing and just because someone is better doesn't mean that they'll win. The writers of the commercial use pathos by creating a new ending to the story. They make the audience believe that the only way the Tortoise will ever beat the super fast Hare is by driving a super fast car.
Mercedes uses a strategic approach by providing upper income men with a message about speed: if you have a fast, sexy car, you will get the girls and a reputation as a winner. Its clearly aimed at highly affluent men who want to live life in the “faster lane.” This car is priced at $130,000, narrowing its pool of potential customers within the luxury car category but making the appeal that the owner will drive in a new race—and be seen in a different lighting among those around him. It appeals to kids because of the talking animals, loud sounds, and selfies while attracting adult women with the same as the men. No matter what girls say, they love a guy with a fast, flashy sports car.
The “Fable” commercial did a good job at advertising the commercial itself and sticking to the main original storyline, but it omitted a lot of information which made this luxurious vehicle simply fade in with the rest of the sports car on the road. I think it was good in the sense of graphics, it had great animatronics and was fun to watch, but I feel as though they could have put in a little bit more of the specifics of the car in the advertisement such as the MPG or the horsepower. Though that would take away from their internet popularity just a little bit, it would centralize the ad more around the vehicle rather than who wins the race.