Chevy Runs Deep

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       Before the arrival of the current year, the question of when will the world end loomed in the air. Since the arrival of 2012, this question is being asked even more so. Chevrolet says through its most recent Super Bowl commercial that the world might end and if it does, Chevy vehicles will be there. This commercial, on the surface, is a testament to the durability of Chevy. However, on a much profounder level, this commercial uses different rhetorical techniques to convince its audience that Chevy is the brand of car they need to buy. So, indeed the slogan "Chevy Runs Deep" holds some truth.

            This particular Chevy commercial has an apocalyptic setting. The first thing that audience sees is a newspaper flying across the screen that says "2012 MAYAN APOCALYPSE, WILL THE WORLD END?". The next thing the viewer witnesses is Chevy in all its tough brilliance rising from the ashes, as the driver pulls out from under some rubble. We watch as the driver and his dog proceed to drive through a city demolished by a foreseen apocalypse. As the man drives through the city, the audience is shown that every other car in this area has been completely destroyed and lay useless among the rubble. At last, the driver pulls up to what appears to be a rendezvous point for the driver and his friends. The driver gets out of his enduring Chevy and asks one of the men where his friend Dave is. The man, with a somber look on his face replies that the drivers' friend did not survive the apocalypse because unfortunately, he had a Ford. Chevy closes the commercial with its short but powerful slogan "Chevy Runs Deep".

             Rhetorically, this commercial holds a considerable amount of significance. One point is on the ideology of the world coming to an end. The newspaper that flies across the screen with the bold print saying "2012 MAYAN APOCALYPSE, WILL THE WORLD END?", is  impossible to miss. One of the main purposes of going with an apocalyptic setting was to use the kairos of the moment which is especially relevant because the end of the world is believed to occur in 2012. Chevy uses this commonplace as a tactic to catch the initial attention of its audience. While the idea of the end of the world grabs the audience's attention, they are thinking, ok if the world ends and I survive, what will I need? This is when Chevy comes out of the rubble unscathed almost as though it is beacon of light, suggesting that Chevy is the way to go. However, Chevy coming out of the rubble seems to also symbolize other underlying ideas.

            In the commercial as the man drives through this city that has been completely destroyed you notice that the only cars that haven't been destroyed are the Chevys. Every other car in the commercial looks as though it has been burned and it has somewhat faded into the background. At this point in the commercial Chevy is making it clear that it outshines the competition. In addition, toward the end of the commercial, one of the men mentions that another man did not survive the apocalypse because he was a Ford owner instead of a Chevy owner. This of course is a direct line to Ford that Chevy is the better car. Apparently, this commercial is just one more argument in a series of arguments. Chevy and Ford have been enemies, so to speak, since Chevy came out with cars after the Model T. Ford. In 1928, Chevrolet finally out sold Ford making them official long-time rivals since then (Williamson). This really explains why "Chevy Runs Deep". The real meaning of this commercial has almost nothing to do with the impending apocalypse and more to do with Chevy making a statement to Ford. This statement seems to say at the end of the world, Chevy will be standing and Ford will be demolished in the dust with the rest of the rubble. This commercial is really about the rivalry between Ford and Chevy and Chevy showcasing that they will win the rivalry. In fact, throughout the commercial there are signs that Chevy has triumphed over Ford that are hidden in the overtone of the apocalyptic setting. One example is the music in the background that keeps repeating "looks like we've made it". On the surface one might think this refers to the great feat of surviving the apocalypse. However, it is just one of a few ways that Chevy shows its dominance over Ford. Another case is shown when Chevy comes rolling out of the rubble. This act almost seems to say that the war between Chevy and Ford is over and Chevy has prevailed. The final way Chevy gives a direct message to Ford is also the most obvious. This requires me to bring up a previous point made. When the man says that another man did not survive the apocalypse because he had a Ford, Chevy administers the final blow to its opponent. In the process of discrediting Ford, Chevy also manages to boost its own image.

            As Chevy makes it clear that its newest commercial is about its triumph over Ford, it also increases its own ethos and appeals to logos. Chevy does it throughout the commercial but especially at the conclusion when the man makes a comment about Ford: "Dave didn't drive the most dependable, long-lasting, vehicle on the road. Dave drove a Ford". Chevy plays up multiple techniques with this single comment. One technique is that the ordinary man who looks as though he could possibly be from a rural area is seeing Chevy as useful and dependable. The reason having an ordinary man making a statement makes an impact is because people who tend to drive pickup trucks can relate to him and possibly find him trustworthy which adds to the ethos of Chevy. Another detail that makes an impact is given at this time in the commercial.  This detail appeals to the logical person in the audience who wants to see proof of dependability which they find in the fine print at the bottom that they were probably looking for. The fine print reads:  "dependability based on longevity: 1981-July 2011 full-size pickup registrations". Most logical people are looking for a car that can be dependable, has longevity, and more importantly is worth their money. Chevy claims that as far as those qualities go, it has its audience covered. Chevy also appeals to its audience through other rhetorical means.

            Another way Chevy appeals to its audience is through the presence of the dog while the driver approaches his destination. On the surface the audience might not think much of a man and his dog driving somewhere. However, in the context of the commercial the symbol of the dog helps to subconsciously cement the idea of Chevy being trustworthy and dependable. Historically, a dog has been seen as a symbol of trustworthiness, dependability and security which is why when the dog is shown it strongly appeals to pathos. In other words, the dog becomes part of the message that Chevy is trying to get across to its audience.

            In Chevys' most recent Super Bowl commercial, many different rhetorical techniques combined to form a commercial that was very effective. The commercial was wrapped up in an apocalyptic setting that made use of kairos while increasing its ethos and making an obvious claim that Chevy is the best car a consumer can find. Chevy also used other rhetorical techniques such as pathos and logos that made its commercial all the more effectual. This commercial is a great example of the rhetorical world at work and how as consumers, in a single commercial we are exposed to so many rhetorical techniques that vie for our attention and ultimately we can't help but give it.

 

Bibliography

Chevrolet. 2012. Youtube.com. 13 February 2012 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxFYYP8040A>

Williamson, Hugh. "Ford vs. Chevy: Pre-World War Two History." 2012. HubPages. 13 February 2012.  http://hughwilliamson.hubpages.com/hub/Ford-vs-Chevrolet-A-Century-of-Rivalry

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