A Rhetorical Analysis Essay Project
of 2015 Super Bowl Commercials

By Mackenzie Bielen
English 12 with Mr. Smith at CNHS

BMW: Newfangled Idea
2015 Super Bowl Commercial

Mr. Smith's English 12 Essay Project

Rhetorical Analysis Essay
By Mackenzie Bielen

As a senior in high school, I am always looking towards the future, wondering what it will be like and what will be the next big thing. In today’s society we all have this similar mindset of looking for the next big thing. For example, the 2015 Super Bowl commercial for BMW talked about when the internet came out it was considered a huge event and was labeled by many to be the next big thing. I can look at this commercial for the BMW I3 and appreciate how it appeals towards this mindset by making the implication that, like the internet, the BMW I3 is going to be the next big thing. The “Newfangled Idea” commercial uses different forms of pathos, logos, and ethos to persuade the viewer to want their product.

In this advertisement by BMW from the 2015 Super Bowl, different forms of emotional appeal are used to gain the viewer’s interest. The first noticeable appeal presented is pathos, which is used in the form of comedy. It begins by showing a clip from 1994 where two news anchors, are discussing what was, at the time, a new invention called the internet. As they try to define what the internet is and figure out how it works, the viewer can't help but smile because today the internet is such a common thing. After that clip it switches to present time and shows those same news anchors driving BMW's new electric car and trying to figure out how it works, just like they were doing 11 years prior with the internet.

Pathos is used again just before the commercial ends. When the male news anchor looks over to his co host and asks if she can twerk. This is using emotional appeal because most of our society has a knowledge of twerking due to the famous celebrity, Miley Cyrus, popularizing it. When the audience is shown a video of people in their fifties talking about twerking it will come off comically, which will work towards their advantage because comedy is a great way to get the viewer’s attention, and interest, and help them feel joy which they will associate with the brand.

Ethical appeals are used in this commercial. Ethos is used when they show the two news anchors, Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric, two influential and respected people in our society. It is from these credible people advertising this new car that we are able to place more trust in the dependability of this vehicle. Another way ethos is used is by the BMW name backing up the product. BMW, being the idolized car company that it is, allows the viewers to believe that this is a reliable vehicle and that it in fact one of the best we would be able to find out on the line.

One more way that this commercial appeals to its viewers is by the use of logos. Many logical appeals are used in order to prove the stability of the vehicle and why we should buy this one compared to its competitors. The commercial describes how the vehicle is not only energy efficient and beneficial to our planet, but also made in a way that does not use any fossil fuels, but instead uses wind turbines. Stating the miles per fill up, safety features found in this car, and extra qualities added to make this car the best that it can be also appeals to the logical side of our brain.

At the end of the commercial we can notice a slide that states, “Big ideas take a little getting used to.” This is an attempt at both pathos and logos. We can tell that it is using pathos because reading a quote like this inspires emotional feeling in most viewers since it is a popular quote in our society. This is also a form of logos, however, because using this quote causes the viewer to think that its user is wise and knows what they are talking about.

A last attempt at logos is used in the slogan that BMW uses, which is presented at the end under the BMW logo. It reads “The Ultimate Driving Machine”. This is a use of logos because it is a statement of BMW’s authority. It is telling the viewer that they know what they are talking about and how to build a great car because they are the ultimate, or the very, very best.

After carefully analyzing this commercial BMW has done a good job of using pathos, ethos and logos to sell the product to their viewer. They were successfully able to capture the viewers emotion through pathos and draw you in with comedic ploys and scenes. They successfully used logos to statistically assure you that there product is worth buying by stating how their car is made using wind turbines and doesn’t emit any fossil fuel into our environment. Finally, they established credibility through using news anchors that have been around for awhile. As a high school senior, I am looking forward to the future and to having a BMW I3.

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