Tag Archive for Chevy

Super Bowl 2012: Week in Review

           Friday Dialogue from                

                                      Your Two Favorite Educators 

As Emily and Aubrey look back over the week they use their razor sharp wit to analyze commercials.  All types of commercials.  Even, *gasp*, some of the worst.  

1.  Why do you think it is important to use commercials to teach students rhetoric?  What types of commercials do you think work the best with students?
What does Emily say?


Emily:  I think students respond the best to commercials with humor. However, I think they do the best job of analyzing commercials with dogs in them.  For some reason it is easy for them to extract a larger argument when a canine is involved!

Is Aubrey right?

Aubrey: Humor, dogs, even Kia’s “Hamster Rap” make a difference in student response.  Although I will say that I’ve used Google Chrome’s “Dear Sophie” commercial and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.  Something about children growing up and swelling music.  Judge for yourself.

Google Chrome: “Dear Sophie”

2.  Sharethrough argues that consumers should demand all commercials live up to the same “hype” and content quality of Super Bowl Sunday.  Do you think that companies have the responsibility to entertain, morally challenge and delight their consumers?

Emily: No, I don’t think it is their “responsibility.”  However, I think the more

What does Emily say?entertaining they are the more effective they are in engaging viewers, which brings in more revenue.  I worry about commercials with the intent or responsibility to morally challenge their consumers.  I don’t think it is inappropriate or wrong, but I think it says a lot about the current state of our country and our morale if moral education is coming through 30-second spots that should be geared toward promoting a product.


Aubrey: I like entertainment.  I’d like to demand more entertainment. I’m not in a position to demand when it comes to advertising.  I don’t own aIs Aubrey right? Volkswagen, a Chevy or even a Ford.  There’s little chance that I’m going to fall wildly in love with Nacho Doritos or Bud Light.  So technically they don’t really owe me anything.  When it comes to morally challenging though, it seems complicated.  Ultimately even advertising that promotes “good” wants to also promote consumerism.  I don’t think either or those things are wrong individually.  I worry that together people, events, even “things” can be misappropriated.


3.  What commercials have had the most impact over the last ten years.

Emily: The commercials with lasting appeal are the ones that people find What does Emily say?themselves repeating later in the day.  The catchphrase or tagline is key.  The commercials with a statement like “don’t leave home without it” and “the other white meat” last with audiences.  The commercials with lasting appeal are the ones that people find themselves repeating later in the day.  However, my favorite taglines are ones like “Have It Your Way” and “I’m luvin’ it.” Mmmm…fast food.

Aubrey: Taglines are important.  I can’t remember as a child how many times I said, “Time to Make the Donuts” but it was far too many.  Personally, I feel the shift to commercials that showcase music and limited dialogue has been significant.  Clearly,  Volkswagen’s “The Force” is a near perfect example and the Chevy Sonic “Stunt Anthem” from Sunday was quite good.   But I would classify one my favorites as the Nike “Tag” commercial. Idea, execution, acting, music–it’s all amazing.  I may have looped it while writing all my responses.

4.  Choose an item or buisness that you think is in need of a revamped advertising campaign.  Explain yourself in an appropriate and witty way.


Emily: One store that I think is in need of a better advertising campaign is Jared, the Galleria of Jewelry.  I turn the television every time those commercials come on the air.  They are toxic.  No matter what approach they take (like the most recent commercials that have a man proposing on the big screen and then football players commenting on the fact that he went to Jared) they are still miserable.  Actually, I think most jewelry commercials are horrible.  The ones with Jane Seymour are pretty horrible too.
Is Aubrey right?


Aubrey: Gag, Jane Seymour and Kay Jewelers.  “Every Kiss Begins with Kay” is the worst.  Those commercials make me feel dirty if I don’t press mute fast enough.  They are rivaled by all of the Lexus ads asking you to make this a “December to Remember.”  I think I just threw up in my mouth thinking about that ad campaign.

Super Bowl 2012: Car Commercials

I do believe that, taken all together, Chevy’s commercials in Super Bowl XLVI were hands down the best.  From indie music to humorous takes on the apocalypse they presented a good/fresh take on the tired car add.  But, it would be unfair to simply examine Chevy commercial after Chevy commercial.  Even though I was born near Detroit, it can’t just be about the Motor City.

This Super Bowl had some solid car commercials.  They might not rival Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” commercial, but they’ll work, offering examples of teamwork, high school “expectations,” and the animal affections discussed in yesterday’s post.  Use the ads and the accompanying questions below as starting points for implementing a smaller unit based solely on car commercials.

Hyundai “All for One

  1. Examine the limited dialogue between characters in the commercials.  Focus specifically on words like “impossible” and “try.”  What is the connotation of these phrases as they relate to the action of the ad?
  2. Why would Hyundai choose the Rocky theme song to sell their product?  Consider their origin, how their seen as a car manufacturer, even their car design/price as you respond.
  3. List as many categories of Hyundai employees as possible.  What is the argument being made by their inclusion?
  4. Humor?  Identify it.
  5. The tagline argues, “There’s always a way.  That’s just our way.”  Explain the purpose of this specific repetition (epistrophe).  What is implied?

Chevy “Happy Grad

  1. Explain how this commercial plays upon a “preconceived” notion about graduation and gifts.
  2. Identify two ways in which humor is created via the parents’ interactions with each other.
  3. Explain two ways in which this high school grad is characterized. For each explain what this characterization is supposed to imply to the audience.
  4. Many car commercials, read Lexus holiday ads here, focus on using elaborate bows on cars in an effort to suggest the “size” of the gift.  Examine the commercial again.  Look for the red bow.  Decide why its inclusion creates humor.
  5. This commercial was the winning entry in the Chevy Route 66 Super Bowl ad contest.  What significance results in having an individual create/construct this ad instead of a company?  When 2012 Super Bowl air space runs 3.5 million dollars per 30 seconds, what does Chevy have to gain from using this type of an ad?


Volkswagen “The Dog Strikes Back” and Making of Video

The great thing about the Volkswagen commercials is that the company also releases a “making of video.”  It’s a great way to get students to reconsider the way in which we culturally view advertising.  Have students watch the making of video after viewing the commercial as a way of deepening your discussion about the rhetoric of today’s advertising.

  1. What is the advantage of having limited narration?
  2. What role does music play in telling the story?  Explain the impact.
  3. Identify the elements of humor employed.  What impact do they have on the audience since the actor is a dog? Why build an entire narrative around a character who can’t speak?
  4. Is the Star Wars theme, a nod to last year’s “The Force” commercial necessary?  Explain whether or not this “nod” to last year’s Super Bowl commercial helps or hinders the narrative.

  1. What argument is made about Volkswagen’s ads and their impact on a global audience?
  2. Identify the elements of humor employed in the “making of” video.  Explain why they exist.  Isn’t this supposed to be just an explanation of how the commercial was shot?
  3. What does the attention to detail in the Stars Wars section convey to the audience?
  4. Consider the amount of time that went to into constructing the costumes and the set what argument is being made about consumers and Volkswagen’s relationship to them?