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Rhetorical Analysis of ‘NIke’s Follow Your Dreams’ Advertisment

Nike ‘Follow Your Dreams’ Advertisement : Rhetorical Analysis

The Nike name inspires energy, enthusiasm and more than everything, the ability to cover the distance to your dreams. Nike is ‘innovation in sports’. Its ads are just as innovative and end up impressing viewers more than expected. What is so magical about these ads? They make you think; they make you dream and more than everything they make the viewers feel as a winner. Nike ads do not just grab attention; they create value. They amuse, engage and create a sense of win for everyone. Nike targets the sports lovers through its ads. Ads are a form of communication and target the end users to drive the rate of product usage higher.

Ads can be of various kinds. They can be informative meant to inform the users about the product and its quality. Such ads contain information on the product quality, ingredients and other factors that  inform the user about the purpose the product serves and how to use it. Advertisements are also used for branding. Nike is a well known brand. It uses its ads for both branding and promotional purposes. On the one hand its ads try to create a sense of win among the sports lovers, on the other they can also highlight how Nike products help them push the line. These ads engage viewers at both the levels. They are engaging because instead of trying to just drive purchases they try to create a favourable feeling for the brand and sports.

Like any other form of communication, advertisements also use rhetoric to create an appeal. Rhetorical appeal is of three kinds – ethos, pathos and logos. Ethos means ethical appeal. Pathos means emotional appeal and logos means logical appeal. If all these three forms of appeals are there, the communication is successful and effective. Ethical appeal helps create reliability and build trust among the users. Pathos or emotional appeal helps connect with the users’ heart and emotions. Logical appeal helps support the logic for the use of the product and creates satisfaction among the users. Advertisements are a form of communication meant to persuade users. If the three appeals are found in an ad, it will be persuasive. Persuasion is an art that requires the use of both creativity and imagination.

Follow Your Dreams ad starts with a thrilling football game. Again like many other ads by Nike, this one ad is also based on a dream sequence. Dreams are at the centre of many Nike ads as you can check out on YouTube. This time Nike takes the story a bit far from simple dreaming. The ad is full of energy and thrill. There are two or three things that are worth noting in it. This ad also shows the connection between fans and sports stars. This connection is deep and strong. The fans cannot see their stars falling. Their hearts are always full of admiration for their stars. When it comes to football, the hopes are very high from them.  Cristiano Ranaldo is a similar name that inspires hope in its fans’ hearts. Nike is known to partner sports stars for its advertisements and sponsorships. This ad too begins with a shot by Cristiano Ronaldo. An energy filed stadium is watching and Cristiano Ronaldo is trying to shoot the ball into the goal. Eager fans are waiting with bated breath. A young boy in the audience catches the eye of the camera. A teen aged boy of colour is keenly observing his star. While trying to shoot the goal, Cristiano Ronaldo falls over the boundary. He has hurt his head. The fan is watching him and feels the same shock. In the meantime a miracle happens and the soul of the two are exchanged. Ronaldo wakes up as a fan and the fan wakes up as Ronaldo. Both are surprised and the viewers are amused. The fan is driving Ronaldo’s car and knocks it here and there and brings it to the gym in pretty bad shape.

Ronaldo is perplexed what he is doing in the fan’s home. The fan on the other hand is happily spoiling Ronaldo’s impression. The star is playing football and making a great impression as his fan. His friends are impressed and following him everywhere. The fan as Ronaldo gets to visit award ceremonies and collect awards. After sometime both are on the same play-field playing against each other. While playing, they knock against each other and again souls are exchanged. Ronald is surprised and lends his fan a hand. Now, the two are back in their bodies and the game begins again. The game is never over.  This ad may look a bit odd and still strikes with its energy and charm. Electrifying energy is a prime characteristic of the game of football. The creative theme and the music together make the ad effective.

Ethos is an important part of an ad’s rhetorical appeal. This ad uses Cristiano Ronaldo, a well known name in the field of football to create trust and reliance. Nike’s own name also creates the same appeal. It is a name trusted around the world by millions. Nike name and swoosh logo are always clearly discernible among the crowd of brands.  Pathos is the emotional appeal and helps connect with the audience’s emotions. To add emotional appeal, the advertisement highlights the emotions connected with the game of sports.  The thrill in the crowd, the eagerness of the fans and the joy of being the star are all reflected in the ad. The ad also has a very high level of clarity and engages the viewers’ senses. Logos is the logical appeal. You will not see a direct relationship between the logic of the ad and the sports brand or product it is trying to promote. The ad is used for branding and its message is to follow your dream. Nike’s message is that dreamers in sports can achieve the heights if they continue to rely on the energy in them. The logic gets evident in the scenes where the ad shows that the fan and the star are alike and have the same energy and love for football.

This is how ads speak. They talk to the fans and followers of the brand. Apart from trying to create demand, their focus is to connect with and engage the customers. Advertisements are an important part of marketing communication and are used for both branding and promotions.  They must create an impression and should affect the users and their emotions. Nike ads always contain a strong emotional appeal. Football, fans, emotions and energy; all of these are there in this ad. All of this is enough to make a large impression on the lovers of football.

Written by 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.

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