Rhetorical Analysis of Nike “Want It All” Advertisement

Author- | Posted- | Updated: December 20, 2018 |

Rhetorical Analysis of ‘Want It all’ Advertisement by Nike 

Ads are created to affect. However, few of them make their mark and are effective as expected. It is because to persuade your audience can be difficult. Only if your ad has the right appeal, it will reach its target. For a strong appeal, ads use rhetoric whose appeal can be strong or weak. A good advertisement has a strong rhetorical appeal. It has ethos, pathos and logos. Apart from being appealing to the eyes, ads must also appeal to the other senses. Effective ads connect with the hearts of the audience. They do not just use logos or the logical appeal but also ethos and pathos. Nike is known to have made some of the most interesting ads whose theme is mostly energy, courage and dreams. These ads are designed to appeal to people interested in sports. However, they appeal to a broader target audience and the reason is their use of creativity and imagination. Nike advertisements even if they primarily target sports lovers celebrate aspirations and victory. This is why a larger audience loves them. These ads are about ambition, achievement, success and goals.

This is the analysis of a Nike ad released in 2017. Nike is a brand of sports shoes, apparel and equipment. The brand is well known around the world by its logo and brand name. The swoosh logo easily sets it apart from the competition. One among the best known brands in sports and athletic wear, Nike competes with Adidas, Under Armour and Puma. While it has built a great brand image, the brand still invests a lot in marketing and advertising. It brings special creativity to its ads so as to make them shine. Outstanding ads rely on creativity and are made to strike the right chord with the audience. This ad like most other advertisements by Nike is also based on the theme of energy and dreams. Most of the Nike ads are about pushing the line, dreaming, sweating and achieving. Sports are all about energy and courage and this fact is known to millions of sports fans all around the world. Whenever, it is an advertisement by Nike, the themes are bound to be related to courage and enthusiasm.

This ad starts with a kid watching others play basketball. He is standing by a basketball court where some other kids – teenagers above his age – are playing. The dream sequence continues and passes through stages. From there it reaches a training court. Teenagers are practicing in the court. They are learning from a coach. In the next scene, the kid has grown up. He is watching basketball on TV and dribbling inside his room. His mother cries from another room to stop dribbling. The kid keeps growing and he is a basketball player now. He is playing for his team. The dream sequence continues and shows him growing. He passes through several phases of failures and wins before he becomes a major player. At last, it shows him winning in the basketball court. The ad shows you should not stop because you will at last win. If you are unstoppable you will win.

The ad consists of all the three appeals including ethos, pathos and logos.

Ethos – It means ethical appeal or appeal to the ethics. This appeal is related to the people’s sense of ethics. The ad does not show anything unethical and gains credibility from the Nike sign. It is because Nike is a brand name that millions around the world rely upon and admire. This is how the ad strikes credibility.

Pathos – It is the appeal to emotions. The ad does have a deep emotional appeal. Every heart wants to win. However, to win, you need unending energy and you need to persevere. The ad appeals to the emotions by showing that every young heart has dreams and it aspires to reach its dream. Emotions are there inside every heart. The kid in the ad just symbolises the dreams nestled in the hearts of all basketball fans. These emotions lend us strength and then perseverance and regular practice helps you win.

Logos– After ethos and pathos, it is the logos part that lends strength to the advertisement’s appeal. Logos is the logical part of the advertisement and the logic lies not just in the product but the emotions and spirit it reflects.

The logic of Nike lies in the spirit of basketball which is to never let go and to never stop. Millions of sports fans find logic in this spirit around the world. To add logic the ad stresses upon perseverance and hard work. In this way the ad is rich in terms of all the three appeals. It has ethos, pathos and logos all the three and it has also the creativity needed to strike the right chord with the sports fans. The advertisement ends at “Want it all” – or the heart aspires to achieve everything that it dreams of.

Nike is known to have made some of the world’s best ads whose aim is to inspire energy in its fans. Nike is a sports brand and its customers are mainly the athletes and sports fans. The success of the ad depends upon how much appeal it contains and Nike has done it successfully in this ad. Overall, the ad is highly effective and it does what it intends to do – to connect with the audiences. Nike is among the best of the sport shoes and apparel brands. It has a very large segment of fans and followers all around the globe. These ads help it successfully connect with its followers and to keep their imaginations engaged. High engagement level also translates into higher sales and revenue plus a strong brand image.

Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.