Example of essay on rhetorical analysis of advertisements

Advertisement refers to a form of communication and marketing strategy employed to manipulate, persuade, and convince consumers or a particular group of people to adapt a new course of action or continue with their previous behavior. The main goal of employing advertisement is to change consumer behavior, beliefs, and values towards a particular product or service with the aim to increase the sales volume, profit margin, and market niche. In most cases, people presume that advertising/advertisement means to sell, but this is not the case because advertisements inform and notifies consumers about various products available in the market. However, how do advertisers persuade, convince, encourage, and appeal consumers/ audience to purchase particular products/services or pursue a given course of action?
Before answering this question, it is worthy acknowledging that advancement in science and technology has transformed the world of advertisement largely. Advertisers not only use media such as televisions and radios to air their commercial advertisements, but also employ internet, facebook, twitter, and other form of social networking sites. Technology also allows advertisers to design and create appealing and catchy 3-Dimension advertisements, which have high graphic resolutions, and incorporate animated advertisements. Although advertisers use media, internet, and social media to appeal, persuade, and convince the audience, they include various rhetoric tools/means namely: pathos, logos, ethos, kairos, examples, comparison-contrast, and cause-effect in the advertisement in order to elicit the intended effect on the audience.
The paper discusses the use and analysis of rhetoric tools (pathos, logos, ethos, and kairos in these two advertisements: “ Maybe it’s my fault- Jordan commercial-become a legendary”, and TNT NBA playoffs open 2009: Games of Kings.


Aristotle refers rhetoric as the available tools of persuasion that one uses to appeal, persuade, and convince others to undertake a particular course of action. Most advertisements mainly focus on the use of various means of persuasion when attracting, luring, and appealing consumers to purchase certain products and services; an idea that increases sales volume and profit margin of the business (Hesford & Brueggemann, 2007). Broadly speaking, rhetoric tools are not only used in advertisements, but also in other areas as envisioned on the advertisements of TNT NBA playoffs open 2009: Games of Kings, and Maybe it’s my fault-Jordan commercial-become a legendary.
The advertisement entitled, “ Maybe it’s my fault-Jordan commercial-become a legendary”, starts with Michael Jordan (a renowned and famous legendary in basketball) holding a basketball in his hands and in an anticipation to score. In the advert, one can see Michael Jordan advising, talking, coaching, and appealing the audience (in this case, a group of young boys with the desire and passion in basketball) to learn tactic, skills, and expertise required to become a legend in basketball. The theme of the advertisement appeals to the youths to value, appreciate, and work hard towards achieving their goals in life and become a legendary in basketball. The advertisement features Michael Jordan narrates his personal experience, victory, drawbacks, and suffering while striving to become a basketball legend. The audience can see the narrators suffering, mastering of skills, drawbacks, and personal resilience towards playing basketball through the use visual rhetoric means, especially the use of 3-Dimension media. The advertisers have used modern media and technology to appeal the youths to play basketball, built their resilience, determination, power, energy, and confidence towards the game. During the narration, Michael Jordan posses a series of rhetoric questions (maybe I) coupled with body movements to elicit a conviction effect that is evident through facial expression of the audience. In the narration, Michael Jordan concludes that he maybe changed the game or the “ boys,” are making excuses about the same.

Rhetoric analysis of Michael Jordan advertisement

While analyzing this advertisement, it remains clear that the concept of ethos has been used effectively to appeal and persuade the target group. Ethos means the fundamental ability and art to use another person’s character and credibility to persuade others (Rosengren, 2013). In other words, one uses his/her character to win the consumers trust and authority over a given concept. In most cases, the target group or consumers tend to believe a character who demonstrates high level of expertise, skills, and knowledge, and good will than a character with low level of knowledge about a given concept. In this scenario, ethos emanate from the people behind the advertisements especially the players and narrators, who show that they understand, have skills, competences, and knowledge needed to play basketball. In the case Jordan-commercial advertisement, Michael Jordan (the narrator) uses the words, “ Maybe it’s my fault that I changed the game,” to affirm his mastery of basketball. This aspect convinces the audience that when they follow the words and advice of Michael Jordan they will become legendaries in basketball; an aspect that prevail in narrator’s voice. In essence, the narrator persuades the audience by justifying his words through a personal experiences thus winning trust and authority over the target group. In the advertisement, it is evident that the audiences (young players) are attentive to the narrator’s advice because the former believe they will become basketball legends when they follow Michael Jordan advice. Based on this assertion, players tend to believe on the narrators words, experiences, personal observation, and reflections because Michael Jordan remains a legend in basketball.
The advert has also integrated the concept of logos in the analysis. Logos refers to presentation of facts, counter claims, logic reason, and evidence in an argument. In the case of Jordan-commercial advertisement, the narrator poses a premise, “ Maybe it’s my fault that I made you believe that it was easy when it was not,” but Michael Jordan persuades the audience by providing personal accounts to substantiating this predisposition. In this scenario, the narrator concludes that t-shirts he wore, but rather on hard word, resilience, and determination did not determine his legend. The players (audience) tend to believe on the narrator because facts, evidence, and logic reasoning are embodied in the advertisement. The audience can connect ideas, thoughts, predisposition presented by the advertisers to evaluate logic, and facts associated with the advertisements, and influence their decision towards basketball. The advertisement embodies logical and rational narrations, facts, and evidence to support claims raised by Michael Jordan in the advertisement thus persuading the audience effectively. It is imperative for advertisers to support their argument, presentation, and claims by providing concrete and reliable evidence; an idea that prevails in this advertisement.
Pathos is one of the rhetoric tools, which is envisioned and embodied in Michael Jordan advertisement. Pathos refers to emotions and values of the target group and efforts of the character/rhetoric to elicit the emotions on the audience and acknowledge the values. For instance, in the case of Michael Jordan advertisement, the narrator persuades the audience using compassion and love feelings. The narrator states that, “ your focus, determination, and resilience speak louder about your achievements and success on the game.” This shows that the narrator is concerned and compassionate over the audience and urges them to inculcate these characters. In the analysis, the narrator portrays basketball as a game that requires players’ to hold and subscribe to certain principles, values, and characters; an idea that promotes professionalism. In normal scenario, audiences are easily convinced and persuaded when they watch an advert that conveys values, principles, and characters, which they treasure and value. In the same breath, audience focus on advertisements, which elicits compassionate emotions to their audience; an aspect that prevails in this advertisement.
Kairos remains embodied in the advertisement as illustrated in Michael Jordan narration. Kairos refers to the opportune or correct time and place to strike an argument. In other words, a persuasive argument may not yield positive results because it is not timely and suitable for a given place. In this scenario, the advertisement has considered these features as envisioned in the analysis and narration. The advertisers provide a historical background that sets the premise and favorable environment to persuade the audience. In the advertisement, the narrator strikes a persuasive argument with the audience/players in a basketball pitch because the narrator (Michael Jordan) holds the view that audience would connect with his idea, advice, and predisposition while playing the game. This aspect promotes relevance of the advertisement and persuades the audience. This fact allows the audience to relate the past events with the current aspects and weight over the significance on each event.
Other development strategies including comparison-contrast have been used to design the advertisement. The idea behind comparison-contrast strategy is to reveal the uniqueness of the object in question over the other, and in this case, it focuses on basketball and chase games. In the case of Jordan advertisement, the narrator echoes the words, “ failure you gave me strength, my pain you gave me motivation.” Such words contradict each other in meaning, but they appeal and persuade the audience to be confident and patient while playing basketball; an idea that is evident in commercial advertisements.

Analysis of advertisements on Games of kings

The advertisement of TNT NBA playoff opens 2009: Games of Kings, features players playing chase and basketball, which are referred as “ games of kings.” The advert reveals determination, resilience, skills, competences, and techniques required to emerge a win in chase and basketballs. The advert elaborates on technical skills, which players need to use to attack their opponents. The advertisement articulates that winning “ games of kings” need combination and mastering skills, rules, and exhibition of high level of confidence and determination. The narrator urges players to balance their emotion because emotions either exalts or lowers a man’s spirit to win the game
In the advertisement, the advertisers have incorporated various rhetoric tools including ethos, pathos, logos, and kairos, to persuade, convince, and appeal to the audience. In the advertisement, the concept of ethos is evident when the narrator states that the first moment does not require movement, but a look on the opponent’s eye; an idea that portrays the narrator as a competent, experienced, and skillful of the game. In this aspect convinces players to maintain an eye contact with the opponents to facilitate one’s chance to become a winner. The narrator uses tonal variation to create different effects and elicit emotions on the audience; an idea that enables the audience trust and believes that, indeed, chase and basketball are games of kings. Additionally, the advertisement portray ethos by using energetic, determined, and confident players who confirm that chase remains a game of kings thus changing character of the game in question. All the players featuring on the advertisement are portrayed as being strong, stern, focused, and determined; an idea that makes the audience believe that anyone playing the games of kings should posses these characters and personality traits. This aspect appeal and persuade the audience because they believe and trust the advertisers as being genuine and trustworthy.
The advertisement embodies the concept of logos in its analysis. In this scenario, the narrator appeals to the audience by showing crowds of spectators watching and cheering players play chase and basketball. This creates emotions and reveals that indeed chase and basketball remain games of kings; played by competent, skilled, and experienced players. The narrator use real life examples to show the outcome of mastering various skills of the game by using the words such as “ attack, retract, and employ tactics hence persuading the players to remain focused when playing games of kings; a move that further appeals and convinces the audience.
Eliciting positive or negative emotions on the audience remains an imperative component in advertising. This aspect is embedded in the manner in which, the advertisers integrate concept of pathos in narration and analysis. The narrator uses negative feelings including anger and fear to persuade the players. This is evident when the narrator states that, “ emotions can raise a man or can lower a man.” This means that players/audience needs to maintain a balance their emotion to avoid downfall and propel their victory. Normally, players/ audiences who would not maintain their emotional balance would be destined to a downfall in the game. In the business arena, advertisers use fear and negative emotions to urge consumers to continue purchasing and using particular products/services by conveying negative effects that results from using certain products/services.
The advert has integrated the concept of kairos to appeal, persuade, and convince the audience. In the advertisement, the narrator explains the importance of focusing on time when playing the game; an aspect that is evident when the author states, “ be mindful of time and do not clock authority over your reason.” This move encourages the players to pay attention to the time aspect prior launching an attack towards the opponent to avoid poor calculation and defeat. The narrator articulates that failure to observe time may affect the outcome of the game and de-motivates players/audience. Advertisers should consider time factor when appealing and convincing their consumers/ audience to create immerse impacts on the intended target population.
Narration remains an indispensible component in advertisement as illustrated in the advertisement. The audience and purpose of the advertisement determined the type of voice or tonal variation that the narrator employs in appealing the audience. In the advertisement, the advertisers use calm, stern, and low voice to advise, persuade, and appeal the players to master skills of playing basketball and chase game. In the same breath, the narrator uses the tool of tool variation to elicit feelings, shared values, and compassion to connect with the audience and appeal them to value chase and basketball. The advertisement embodies pictorial and graphical illustrations to reinforce the effects of the words and tonal variation employed by the narrator; an idea that is evident from the audience facial expression. In conclusion, it is clear that rhetoric tools of persuasion play a crucial role in appealing, convincing, and encouraging the target group takes a course of action as envisioned in these two advertisements.

Works cited

Hesford, W. S., & Brueggemann, B. J. (2007). Rhetorical visions: reading and writing in a visual culture. Upper Saddle River, N. J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
MAYBE IT’S MY FAULT – Jordan Commercial – Become Legendary – YouTube. (2012, February 4). YouTube. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://www. youtube. com/watch? v= _-EyRUgp9Mk
TNT NBA Playoffs Open 2009: Game of Kings – YouTube. (n. d.). YouTube. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://www. youtube. com/watch? v= UwPk9_TEdaQ
Rosengren, S. (2013). Advances in advertising research. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler