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Two legs on a white background. One is a familiar human leg of flesh and bone. The other is a black prosthetic with a metal band around the ankle and manufacture sticker below. The foot is cream colored and attempts to replicate the original. The reader can conclude from this that the person who is photographed has been in some type of accident that has caused them to lose a leg. The viewer’s eye is then drawn to the large black font that reads: “Spare parts for humans are not as original as those for cars. Don’t Drink and Drive.” Under the large black caption, small black words say, “Issued in Public Interest by” with the iconic symbol of the BMW Company depicted below. This dark tone sets the mood for the ad to subtly hint that while their custom made car parts for each vehicle could possibly prevent some types of accidents, drinking and driving will ultimately lead to severe accidents. This ad is effective because it addresses a possible consequence of drinking and driving while promoting the originality of their product.
The first thing to consider when reading any advertisement is the author. In this case, the author is the BMW car company. The first thing to realize about this particular author is that they must know an awful lot about the company. Sure they work for the company, but they need to know the marketing details. Ways to make the product look good enough to sell. So, why do the creators put such dark notions in this advertisement? One reason may be to appeal to the reader’s emotions.
This advertisement uses pathos in the form of the prosthetic leg to draw the viewer in and helps them make the connection between consequences and drinking. This use of a rhetorical appeal makes the reader feel a bit more emotional than they originally would have, if the prosthetic leg had not been included. The leg makes the connection to pain and heartbreak that two normal legs would not have the ability to do. This may have the effect of making the reader look further into the advertisement. Perhaps to make the audience look more into the BMW Company itself, and their purpose for this ad.
Ultimately the purpose of this advertisement is to sell BMW cars to customers. A second form of rhetorical appeal, ethos, is used here by the credibility of the BMW Company itself. The company promotes the uniqueness of their product by the use of words such as “spare parts are…original.” While these words are not directly next to each other, this advertisement may be insinuating that each of their products are individual in the making. However, looking deeper into the text, one can see that the car company truly is concerned about drinking and driving. Drinking and driving is quite possibly the worst thing anyone could ever do. Not only are the drivers endangering themselves, but they are also endangering everyone around them. Be it the people in the car with them or pedestrians nearby.
The company specifically says on their advertisement that they are issuing it in the public’s best interest. That must mean that they really do care about their customers and don’t want them to do dangerous things. The one dangerous thing they are targeting here is drunk driving. As stated earlier, driving under the influence is terrible and can cause terrible accidents. Car wrecks and dumb mistakes happen too easily when a person is inebriated.
Prosthetics, as shown in this advertisement, may not be the consequence for every person who crashes while under the influence. The drunk driver could end up being dead, or having killed someone else. The creators of the advertisement, specifically the BMW Company, knew this and wanted to create something to possibly help prevent drinking and driving with their product. This one advertisement states in a roundabout way that ‘spare parts’ for humans, aka prosthetics, are neither cheap nor easy to cope with.
Looking into the colors of the advertisement, the reader can deduce that the whiteness of the background may signify a hospital room. The person who is standing in this advertisement may just be returning to the outside world after getting their new leg. Going deeper into the color white, the reader may find that advertisers use this color when showcasing high-tech products, such as a BMW car. In using white, the designers may get the consumer thinking that their product is sleek and simple.
Next, information can be gleaned from looking at the black prosthetic leg. The first thought that comes to mind when someone sees the color black is usually death. Black can also symbolize fear and grief. Perhaps the symbolism in the black prosthetic means the wearer just lost someone they loved in a crash they caused while under the influence. Or, maybe they are afraid of the consequences their actions will bring. Either way, the use of black in this advertisement is effective in that it pulls injust enough pathos to make the reader stop and think about the words.
The very first words read are: “Spare parts.” This immediately makes the reader think of cars or any other mechanical object. This may be the manufacturers’ intent, but the next words are, “for humans,” tying the words into the picture to the left. Further along the word “original” comes along. Originality has become a big thing for car manufacturers. The company here may be insinuating that prosthetics are made in bulk while each car is carefully and individually crafted.
Many rhetorical situations must be considered when making or writing anything. One major situation to take into consideration is audience, which is a big, multi-angled thing to allow for. A few audience angles to bear in mind are: who, age, and gender. This ad covers who and age very well. Being a car advertisement the ‘who’ is anyone who has a license. Therefore, the age focused on is sixteen and above. But wait, that is just the car part. Now, take into consideration the words of the advertisement, “don’t drink and drive.” This then puts the age from sixteen up to twenty-one. Then again, no one should drink and drive, no matter their age. Gender in this ad is pretty general. Since everyone who has a license is being targeted, men and women are part of the consumer market.
Some may argue that this advertisement is not that effective because it does not promote its product in a very strong light. However, the company may not have promoting the product their first priority. They may be trying to raise awareness in their purchaser body of the risks involved in drinking and driving. If this is in fact the case, the BMW Company did a very good job. They addressed a possible repercussion of the driver’s actions, the loss of a limb. Not all who drink and drive will have the same consequences, some may only get a DUI. Whatever the case this BMW advertisement has addressed the issue at hand and at the same time subtly promoted their product.
From start to finish, this advertisement has pulled the reader in by use of a few different rhetorical effects. It started by using pathos with the gripping visual effect of the prosthetic leg to pull the audience in. Then the ad used ethos by employing the company’s pre-established reputation to promote their well-known and trusted product. It even slightly addressed the opposing view; that some may think this advertisement is not well constructed to suit the manufacturer’s selling needs. Altogether this is a well-rounded ad that quickly addresses the problem of drinking and driving while inconspicuously encouraging people to buy their product.
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