Rhetorical Analysis of 2012 Toyota Camry Advertisement

 

I analyzed an advertisement for the 2012 Toyota Camry that aired during last year’s Super Bowl. I think the ad would fall under two genres: “car ads” and “Super Bowl ads”. “Car ads” are shown frequently during primetime TV especially during male-oriented programming (research shows that men are more likely to purchase more expensive products on behalf of their family than women). (Baumeister) Traditionally, they show cars zooming down curvy mountainous roads or in some other kind of adventurous locale that highlights key features of the car. However, they have more recently come to include humor, music, and even beautiful models. Secondly, I would classify the ad under the umbrella of “Super Bowl ads”, which range widely in topic but are known for their humor. The Super Bowl has a reputation for having the best commercials of the year with the largest budgets; they are often the topic of conversation the next day at water coolers across the country. This commercial uses the humor predominate throughout “Super Bowl ads” and applies it to the genre of “car ads” that we view almost every time we turn on our TVs.

The audience is primarily male football fans, but some women tune in as well (sometimes just for the ads). The speaker talks as a voice of authority and on behalf of Toyota. He uses the term “we” throughout the commercial perhaps to portray the sense of a unified company working hard to satisfy the needs of their customers. By the end of the commercial you are left with a feeling that Toyota would move mountains for their customers. The creators of the commercial arranged it so that the Camry is featured at the very beginning and the very end of the advertisement. The car is shown for 4 seconds at the beginning and 5 seconds at the end. I find the product only being shown for roughly 15% of the commercial rather unusual, especially for the “car ad” genre, which frequently showcases the car for the entire advertisement. However, studies show that viewers recall the first and last parts of a presentation most easily. This is called the serial positioning effect, and is a frequently used tactic used throughout sales and marketing. (McLeod) The ad also employs use of affective conditioning, which is pairing a product with things most people already like. Affective conditioning is an unconscious force proven to increase sales for products even if consumers know the product is inferior. (Markman)  A whole range of things from babies, ice cream, mini golf, an arcade, petting zoo, and pizza are shown; such a wide range of positive items appeal to almost any viewer. The commercial specifically talks about “reinventing” aversive items or negative characteristics of an item. Everyone likes babies, but not necessarily the fact that they require frequent diaper changes. Well, according to Toyota babies who don’t poop are now a possibility. Customers may feel that there are not many differences between the 2011 and 2012 models of the Camry, but Toyota convinces you otherwise as they have spent extensive amounts of time “reinventing” it. The hyperbole is so extensive that the audience realizes it as a form of sarcasm. Toyota may even be poking fun at advertisements and infomercials that promise you the world for only one easy payment of $19.95. Although such extensive hyperbole could threaten Toyota’s credibility, I think it safe to say that most viewers will not expect to be handed an ice cream cone the next time they visit the DMV. This commercial is a typical “Super Bowl ad” in the sense that it is entertaining and very funny, but is a less conventional, more innovative version of a  “car ad” which usually have a greater emphasis on particular features, affordability, and concrete details.

Works Cited

Baumeister, Roy F., and Brad L. Bushman. “The Self.” Social Psychology and Human    Nature. Brief ed. Vol. 2. Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, n.d. 62. Print.

Markman, Art. “Ulterior Motives.” Psychology Today, 31 Aug. 2010. Web. 18 Sept. 2012. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201008/what-does-advertising-do>.

McLeod, Saul. “Serial Position Effect.” Serial Position Effect. SimplyPsychology, 2008. Web. 18 Sept. 2012. <http://www.simplypsychology.org/primacy-recency.html>.

“Toyota Camry 2012 – It’s Reinvented.” YouTube. Toyota, 27 Jan. 2012. Web. 18 Sept. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8XmdQjJ7BM>.

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4 thoughts on “Rhetorical Analysis of 2012 Toyota Camry Advertisement

  1. Great research done for this blog.

    Think about narrative a little more when you write your next blog. I know I gave you specific things to think about with rhetorical analysis and this blog, but think about leading me along your writing. Where are we starting? Explain some things to me. Make your points firm and contained. To continue with the leading me metaphor… say you’re talking me on a walk- stop and tell me about a tree for a little while instead of gathering so much information together back to back (e.g. There’s a tree. And here’s a mailbox. And that over there is a barn.) Even in a rhetorical analysis, especially in a blog, think about the organization and develop a point/focus. Mostly, I think less points but with greater depth in each point.

    Having said that, some nice analysis done.

  2. I love that you point out hyperbole. Man, we all want to be in on inside jokes, right? Doesn’t it make you feel good or smart – you can pat yourself on the back while the car company can make a connection with a potential buyer.

    I wonder how extensive the trend is of commercials making fun of commercials.

  3. You give great information to back up your analysis! It is very impressive. I love that you picked this commercial because I have seen it before and thought that it was weird that they compared their product, the Toyota, to some very unrealistic expectations. I did not quite see how the relationship could benefit their sales, but you make some very good points!

  4. I analyzed Super Bowl ads for my post this week too, and I noticed a lot of the same things you did. I found it interesting that, though the women who tune into the Super Bowl usually only want to watch the commercials, the majority of ads are still aimed at men.

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