A Rhetorical Analysis Essay Project
of 2015 Super Bowl Commercials

By Mark Jensen
English 12 with Mr. Smith at CNHS

Dodge: Wisdom
2015 Super Bowl Commercial

Mr. Smith's English 12 Essay Project

Rhetorical Analysis Essay
By Mark Jensen

Everyone loves old people. The elderly as a whole are viewed as a wise, tough, and compassionate group. Dodge takes advantage of this fact in their most recent commercial featuring elderly people who are all around 100 years old, to associate their brand as a well established, trustworthy, and reliable company. The ad is effective in leveraging the wisdom and knowledge of the elderly while associating Dodge as a brand that utilizes ethos, pathos, and logos in their commercials. Dodge takes advantage of societies general admiration and trust in general for the elderly and use these feelings to try and persuade people to purchase their vehicle, in particular the Dodge Challenger.

The ad is 1:01 in length and features eight elderly men and seven elderly woman. The choice to use a relatively equal amount of men and women comes off well to the audience because there is no abundance of a single gender and it helps broaden the audience to both men and women. It also begins with an elderly man holding a picture of himself from what appears to be World War II which utilizes ethos due to the fact it builds a sense of trust because he served in the military and that makes him a more trustworthy person. The ad utilizes both ethos, pathos, and logos throughout the whole ad, it depicts several elderly people all around 100 years old stating brief quotes about everyday living. This helps the audience gain trust in them because they’re stating facts that are unquestionable and without a doubt good guidelines to follow in order to live a successful life. The quotes not only help establish a sense of trust and respect for the speakers but allow the audience to gain a sense of fondness towards the speakers which helps Dodge sell more vehicles.

The main protagonists of the ad are the elderly people who are stating brief tidbits of information about living life in general. Mid way through the ad the whole mood changes and the quotes transition from brief statements about living to much more aggressive ones such as,

“live fast”. The speakers are trusted because people assume their old age has allowed them to experience all of what life has to offer and that they are well versed with how the world works and are good sources of advice. Several of the speakers also have some sort of “props” that allow them to gain more trust of the audience, such as pictures of themselves from when they served in the military. The targeted audience is broad due to the fact that the car naturally speaks to younger men and women in the market for a new fast car, but with the addition of the elderly speakers it broadens the audience to the elderly as well who are looking for a little more excitement in their life. The younger audience is locked down because the youth are used to listening to and taking the advice of the elderly in their everyday life.

The director of the ad is trying to capitalize on the general admiration of the elderly. The director depicts very similar characters with fifteen different people throughout the ad. In general the director is trying to establish the elderly people shown in the video as kind old people who have experienced life and have their own little thoughts about it to share to the youth. Their credentials are their age; every person depicted in the ad is 90+ years old and this allows for a mutual respect and trust from the audience due to how they’ve succeeded in living for practically a century and still remain bright and cheerful. This fact is obvious and apparent during the whole ad because it is the main point. The author capitalizes on the elderly’s old weathered faces by lighting them from the side casting shadows across their face making them appear wrinkled and aged. In brief the director of the ad is using the mutual respect that the youth has for the elderly to convince people to buy their product.

Like the wise old people depicted who are all nearly 100 years old, Dodge has been making vehicles for just as long. This use of a comparison allows the audience to understand just how long that is and allows Dodge as a company to gain respect and trust from the market due to their experience as a car manufacturer. The evidence supplies is the fact that anyone can learn a lot in 100 years of doing something, especially in the case of Dodge creating cars because they have dedicated 100 years to refining and perfecting it. The logical appeal of the ad is the use of the elderly to add to the commercial in multiple ways, they not only broaden the audience but they create a sort of logical appeal because they are widely viewed as trusted figures of the population.

The ad also utilizes pathos throughout, while the whole ad is upbeat and exhilarating you are still aware of the presenters old age. Like I was saying earlier the lightning is directed in a way that it captures the speakers age in their face, their faces are weathered, wrinkled, and aged in general. The lighting is also warm and natural looking so it depicts them as aged, happy people. This allows for pity from the audience due to the fact that they are obviously old and are nearing the end of their experience on Earth. Also in the beginning of the commercial one of the elderly ladies states, “stay young” this evokes a sense of compassion towards her due to the fact she is speaking to a younger audience.

I feel the director did a fantastic job with the ad, they evoked the correct emotions at just the right times. They allowed for the audience to have the same feeling of exhilaration and excitement as they would experience driving the car just by watching the ad. The ad is effective in leveraging the wisdom and knowledge of the elderly while associating Dodge as a brand that utilizes ethos, pathos, and logos in their commercials. In brief the ad is incredibly well made and is perfect for the audience it is directed towards.

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