Each year companies attempt to outdo one another in short bits of air time in front of millions of television viewers nationwide for the big game: the Super Bowl. The main goal for these companies, to conjure up emotions (preferably the ones associated with spending money on their products), can be successfully or unsuccessfully attained. For successful commercials, the investment of around four million dollars on a thirty second slot during the Super Bowl can make a crucial impact on a company’s turnaround in profit. On the contrary, unsuccessful commercials that leave television viewers scratching their heads can be detrimental to the company; members of the advertising team may very well lose their jobs, in a short period of time. Ram’s recent commercial about farmers in the 2014 Super Bowl is a prime example of a successful advertisement. By evoking pathos in the American audience through the farmer’s work ethic, depicting the culture of American patriotism, and further utilizing rhetorical devices in the commercial, Ram magnificently reveals how the life of an American farmer is surprisingly similar to that of regular people in the United States.
To begin with, the Ram commercial effectively evokes pathos in the American audience in a variety of ways. As the commercial starts, a single cow in the field is displayed on the television screen and there is no other background noise. This creates a serious tone that carries on through the entire commercial. Members of audiences nationwide are immediately drawn to this seemingly unrelated commercial. One narrator begins to describe what the farmer must attend to on the farm over the course of his entire life. An array of images of farmers are cycled through while the narrator continues to detail the hardships of farmers: “they get up before dawn, milk the cows, work all day in the fields, and milk cows again” among many other things. During the commercial, few speak a word, and afterwards many speak of the gripping emotional responses experienced from the two-minute commercial.
In addition to evoking pathos, the Ram commercial greatly depicts the culture of American patriotism in all its greatness. Ram’s advertising team emphasizes the importance of America’s glory and the decorum with which Americans carry themselves. A frozen shot of an American flag in a windowsill during winter allows for Americans to reflect upon what they have done so far in life and what they will achieve in the future. The life of an American farmer is intended to represent the average American whom must work tirelessly for a living and perseveres despite the obstacles that get in the way. An American farmer is a mentor, leader, and friend that is looked up to.
Furthermore, the Ram commercial further utilizes rhetorical devices to continue to make its point about the connection between American farmers and everyday Americans. The colorful visual and auditory imagery bolster the surreal effect of the commercial within the viewers. Bright colors of the season bring about a blissful mood, which represents a successful season for crops for farmers; this is the equivalent to a pay raise for a typical American. By using dark colors, the commercial indicates how droughts, floods, or other ill-fated occurrences could cause trouble for a farmer. The auditory imagery of an older man narrates the commercial as if it were a bedtime story. This adds a more touching feel for the overall commercial. The actual Ram trucks are left in the background of the images to show how the trucks are supports in the lives of farmers. They must rely on them to guide through the paths of life.
The farmer is a symbol of America’s average worker: tough, persistent, and loyal to all those he interacts with in life. Ram excellently invested money to promote its line of trucks in this Super Bowl commercial that moved the hearts of an entire nation. It is evident that living a satisfying life is possible regardless of what one may pursue. As Americans, we have the opportunity to accomplish an infinite number of goals. As the commercial states in the end, “To the farmer in all of us”, Ram masterfully brings up the connection between the life of a farmer to the life of an average American by evoking pathos in the American audience through the farmer’s work ethic, depicting the culture of American patriotism, and further utilizing rhetorical devices in the commercial.