A Rhetorical Analysis Essay Project
of 2015 Super Bowl Commercials
By: Austin Brossard
English 12 with Mr. Smith at CNHS
Mercedes Benz: Fable
When we were all younger we were told about the infamous race between the tortoise and the hare, and hopefully learned the life lesson that slow and steady wins the race. Mercedes has created their own retelling of this parable. The screenwriter has really done a fantastic job with this commercial and has managed to keep an even balance of pathos, ethos, and logos throughout the commercial.
In this alteration of the well-known fable which has been recreated by Mercedes, the tortoise and the hare step onto the starting line for the big race. Of course, everyone is expecting the hare to win considering he is obviously more agile than the sluggish tortoise. As the race begins, the hare is quick off the line and makes multiple stops because he has put so much distance between himself and the tortoise. As the tortoise begins to make his way through the race, he stumbles upon a mysterious building in the middle of the forest. Curiosity gets the best of him and he goes down to explore this mystical building. He enters the giant building only to find a couple of people building one car: the Mercedes-Benz AMG GTS. Meanwhile, the hare is still playing cards when he hears this machine tearing down the road, all pistons firing. The hare is much too slow to catch the tortoise in his “golden chariot”, and then to the hare’s dismay the tortoise wins the race.
In all its 61 seconds of glory, Mercedes has thrown their line and attempts to set the hook with the viewers of this commercial featuring their new flagship model, the AMG GTS. Now Mercedes-Benz has always been known for their high priced luxurious cars. Even though they have tried to make their cars more affordable, most of their vehicles still maintain a sticker price of at least $50,000. For most people that is a lot of money to put down on a car especially when there are so many other alternatives that are also reliable and fuel efficient, but when people buy a Mercedes that’s not what they’re looking for. They want the status that their car carries with itself and the luxurious features that they boast over all their other competitors. Obviously, when people watch this commercial they will want to be the one behind the wheel of this 500 horsepower monster that can get you from 0-60 in a breathtaking time of just under 4 seconds.
I know that I was hooked when this commercial first came on because it came through with something that we can all relate to, the story of the tortoise and the hare. Of course, we all know how the story goes, slow and steady wins the race, which teaches you to be persistent and stay focused on your goal. However, Mercedes wanted to throw in a little “plot twist”. This was a great call by the author because I’m sure that at one point in our lives curiosity has gotten the best of us. I mean what is more majestic than a giant shining building in the middle of the forest with flaming beams of sunlight illuminating its magnificent architecture? The tortoise then goes on to enter this glowing building to find Mercedes mechanics hand building this godlike super car. Once the tortoise laid eyes on the stunning machine he then pronounced “Slow and steady my…” as the car then proceeds to interrupt his almost vulgar statement with an invigorating startup that gets every car enthusiast’s blood pumping.
From the beginning this commercial seems like it’s going to just be a child’s commercial until the tortoise stumbles across the secluded Mercedes-Benz factory. This was an excellent call made by the author, because it gives Mercedes exclusive credibility by placing them in the middle of the forest in this fairy tale based story. It allows the audience to perceive Mercedes-Benz as a reliable, educated, smart, and trustworthy company that doesn’t mind sharing their prestigious status with the rest of the world. One of the major components of Mercedes’ credibility is the fact that Mercedes-Benz does in fact require each of the engines in their AMG division cars to be built by an individual Mercedes-Benz qualified mechanic, which is showcased in the commercial. If you noticed, that is exactly what the tortoise found himself in the middle of when he walked into the factory.
We’ve all seen our fair share of car commercials on TV that are car companies making attempts to convince the audience to buy their car above every other company’s. The logic of this commercial is that the car is of the highest quality and is incredibly fast. Even though it is only compared to a hare in terms of speed you can acquire this feeling in your gut that this car is so much faster thanks to the presentation of the car while it was in the factory. The author did a great job at making you feel as if you were the tortoise in the car who had just won the race, which makes the viewer want this car even more. Another fact that needs pointing out is the omission; the price is never mentioned, and with all car commercials, the price is usually never listed if it is above $60,000 and from that, we can inquire that this car isn’t cheap.
One of the scenes with powerful emotional appeal was when the car won the race and the tortoise had gained the fame and respect that the hare had once had, which the author is trying to show that this car will change the way that people will look at you. The tortoise says “who’s your turtle” while jumping over the hare across the finish line and at the same time a woman rabbit looks down on the loser from the passenger seat. This announces to the audience that if you drive this car you will be a winner and leaves us feeling that owning this car will boost our self confidence.
The author has done a wonderful job with this commercial, but there are a couple of things that I would have done differently. I like the idea that he incorporated the fable of the tortoise and the hare; it really helped to capture the attention of a broad audience. It was a great call not to put the car in it right away but to hold off a bit and not show it for the entire length of the commercial so that it left us wanting more. I would have increased the speed of the car throughout the race, and make it look as if it was going much faster because it only seems to be doing about 55 mph when they should be advertising how much power this car actually has instead of a slow drive through a forest. The last thing I caught at the end of the commercial was that they said “Experience the hair-raising power and performance of the Mercedes AMG GTS, it’s no fairy tale”. This was a great way to claim that they have finally made a spectacular car that people would only dream of, but that’s also the problem here. They claim that it is no fairy tale, but it is for most people considering only a very privileged group of people will ever own one, let alone drive one.