A Rhetorical Analysis Essay Project
of 2015 Super Bowl Commercials

By Shelby Rockefeller
English 12 with Mr. Smith at CNHS

Coca-Cola: Big Game
2015 Super Bowl Commercial

Mr. Smith's English 12 Essay Project

Rhetorical Analysis Essay
By Shelby Rockefeller

Everyone at some point in their life has been hurt by people online; they may have been teased, made fun of, or treated unfairly. I had been lucky enough that when I was teased it was not posted all over the internet, but was just sent through a private message. I still remember how I felt that day and the days after. When something negative or hurtful is said about you, it is not something that is easy to forget. It stays with you and can haunt you, like it does me. The internet is a place where people love to pick on others and make them feel worthless. If I can help people to realize that what they say about others can hurt, then I am doing my part in changing the way “the game” is played. There are many ways to change “the game”, and one is showed through the Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial.

Coca-Cola found a way to show how their drink can make people happy. They chose a different method of happiness. When a commercial tries to advertize a drink product, they use happy people or game-like settings to show why people drink their drink. The Coca-Cola commercial starts out with someone typing furiously on their keyboard “I hate you” and many faces speeding across the screen teasing others about being freaks and losers, then there are the people crying. They start to get furious at their computers, and then the scene switches to the internet server room. There happens to be a guy working on the servers, he takes a drink from his Coca-Cola, but as he sets it down it spills over onto the servers. At that point his drink is now colliding with the power cables and music starts to play. As the music is playing the Coca-Cola makes the cables run with it to all computers using that network. It changes all computer screens to cherry-red bubbles, then whatever was on their screen before now is uplifting and makes them smile. The next scene is a woman sitting at a bus stop crying, when the cherry-red bubbles light up the advertisement it changes to an inspirational saying and the woman starts smiling. And the last scene is a little boy sitting alone on a school bus when someone posts on his Facebook that no one likes him, but then just like the other scenes, the cherry-red bubbles hit his phone screen and it changes the post so that it states that there is no one like him and it makes him smile. The commercial ends with the slogan, “The world is what we make it” and Coca-Cola’s hashtag is make it happy. The logos here is that some Coca-Cola can make you smile and feel better inside.

Coca-Cola is purposefully trying to use pathos to get your emotions rolling; they want you to feel sorry for the people who were looked at as worthless and who were called losers and freaks. They were able to catch an audience of all ages because it wasn’t only little kids being called names. The commercial itself showed all ages, girls and guys, and different races. By showing a variety of people, it helps one to see that everyone in the world has feelings and can get hurt from time to time. Coca-Cola was trying to reach out to anyone who has ever felt the way those people looked. Makes you want to go buy a Coca-Cola and see if it will make you happier, which is exactly what Coca-Cola wants. They tried to be different and see that if hitting that emotional side in people helped their product sell.

Coca-Cola uses pathos more than anything in their commercial. They want you to feel helpless and fearful of what people are going to say to each other, but then at the end they want you to feel happy and uplifted in your heart. These emotions are conveyed by watching people get angry and others crying, and when someone smiles it becomes happy and uplifting. But then again one smile can change the way anyone feels, which makes the end of the commercial so significant because everyone was smiling and finally feeling better all because of a little spill in the internet server room. The music also helps with the emotional pull of happiness due to the fact that it only comes on when the Coca-Cola is spilled, and it was a song that was happy, but not crazy. Just happy enough that it gets stuck in your head and makes you smile inside. Coca-Cola could have played any song at this point, but they chose a song that was upbeat with a female voice behind it singing about happiness.

Ethos is presented by Coca-Cola, a widely trusted and liked drink producer, whose logo shows up on every screen and monitor after the spill in the internet server room. Coca-Cola is known by so many, and unlike Pepsi and Dr. Pepper, they chose a different method of advertisement for the Super Bowl. Therefore we can say that Coca-Cola is known to make people happy, which is what they accomplished in this commercial. There is no true speaker, mainly because it gives the commercial more power to try and figure out what it is for and what it is all about. The product is only first shown in the server room, where it then spills and you see someone drinking a Coca-Cola is one other scene.

As much as the commercial hit me emotionally, I found it almost hard to watch at first. I wasn’t sure I could sit and watch a sad story of people yelling and calling each other freaks and idiots. I think that the first 15 seconds of the commercial were strong, but it also made it seem like it was going to be a commercial to stop online bullying or a commercial about the internet, and not one trying to sell Coca-Cola drinks. Another problem I had with it was the server room scene, because that is not what happens when a liquid is spilt on a server. The server should have started fizzy and become unable to use. Although I did like the end, and the process in which all screens and monitors changed, it could have been more realistic when it came to making people happy. The reality of it all is that Coca-Cola can make you happy, but it’s not going to happen through your computer or phone screen. The reality is that there are still the people who will post mean and harmful things about others, and they could then go drink Coca-Cola and become happy.

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