Advertisements are constantly surrounding our lives. They appear on social media, television shows, commercials, and are compared to “mosquitoes of the media universe: annoying and pesky and sometimes carrying disease but, on some level, a critical part of the ecosystem”. One of the biggest, most influential advertising source, are commercials. They use many emotions to connect with all different types of people to sell the product. Research has proven “that people rely on emotions, rather than information, to make brand decisions — and that emotional responses to ads are more influential on a person’s intent to buy than the content of an ad”. Comedy, sympathy, happiness, empathy, and even sometimes anger and disgust are the basic emotions used. The most popular of those emotions is empathy. When one can relate and empathize with the message the commercial is implying and the message it is essentially selling, they are more likely to want and purchase that certain product.
An example of a commercial that uses the emotion of empathy is “Brotherly Love.” It is a commercial that was aired during the Super Bowl in 2017, by Coca-Cola. It is explicitly selling Coca-Cola products. Throughout the entirety of the commercial, whether the younger brother is at a family dinner or in the park eating alone, there are multiple coke bottles.
While Coca-Cola products are the main product that is being sold, one thing that is implicitly sold is that coke products bring people together, and in this specific case, brothers. Essentially, it is selling that it is more than just a big drink company and they are just trying to spread love everywhere. The implied audience of this commercial is any family with siblings or anyone who can relate to being picked on either at home or school. By using these specific scenes of these two siblings not getting along, “brothers all across America will be bonding over this scene”. The rhetorical appeal of kairos is used in this commercial. In the background of the commercial, the song Hey Brother by Avicci is playing in the background. This song plays a perfect role in this commercial. The lyrics match up with what is going on in the ad and it adds a sense of emotion. Right when the older brother stands up for his younger brother, the lyrics read “What if I’m far from home; Oh brother I will hear you call; Oh if the sky comes falling down for you;There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do”. These lyrics developed the magnitude of the message of the commercial and kept the audience waiting to see what would happen next.
Overall, the lyrics supported the theme of this commercial by backing up the objective that brothers will always have each other’s backs. Throughout the commercial, many rhetorical appeals are used to connect with the audience.
Pathos is the most commonly used during the commercial. When the younger brother is getting picked on by his older brother throughout the commercial, it creates a sense of empathy for the younger brother. He is smaller and weaker than most, so he cannot stand up for himself as easily. When the older brother finally stands up for him, the audience now can see that “this is an older brother who really cares”.
Ethos is demonstrated when the older brother is loyal to his younger, weaker brother by scaring off the bullies. An older brother would not let his younger brother get picked on, so it is showing that he is not a bad brother. The logic that is used in this video is that the older brother is picking on the younger brother even when the younger brother did nothing to deserve it. This helps the ad fit in the stereotype of a typical modern family. By using these elements of rhetorical analysis, it helps the product appeal to the viewers and understand what is being sold.