Persuasive Artifact Analysis By Philip Meador and cristian moore

Mercedes-Benz "Grow Up"

The usage of persuasive appeals in advertisements has evolved from a front and center display of a product to a more focused display of the customer and their lifestyle. For this assignment we have chosen an advertisement that we feel best displays how images function as a representation of reality through attracting attention and making an emotional appeal.

In this advertisement we saw a more realistic approach to a struggling on and off again couples everyday life with a child. We see the struggles they encounter with having to provide for their child and live with each other. The Mercedes commercial utilizes the sub message of growing up as several times the dialogue mentions the characters growing up or needing to grow up to take care of the responsibilities that are present in their lives. In this advertisement, there are two couples. One of the couples are shown to be young, wild, and free as they run through the desert sunset together. They are not restricted to having to grow up just yet. On the opposite side of the spectrum we have the main couple that are around the same age, but have had to grow up and are more restricted. The ad pushes back the fact that it is advertising for Mercedes-Benz cars by only giving quick snippets of the cars and very quickly uses the Mercedes-Benz logo at the very end of the ad. It mainly utilizes attracting attention and making emotional appeals throughout the ad.

  • Let's discuss these two factors in the advertisements:
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Attracting Attention

The commercial attracts attention to itself from the viewers by providing a metaphor for them. A metaphor is where an image or video are supposed to have a meaning behind it. However, we drawn into it because it is not a type of advertisement we are expect it to be. . In the beginning many would think that Mercedes would start the commercial by showing off the product they are trying to sell. Instead what we see is that the commercial begins to play music that is meant to draw in the customer. The appearance of the commercial itself is a visual parody because in the beginning some many believe that this could have been a movie or music video, because it makes the viewers feel the experience of watching a music video or a movie trailer.

Metaphor: When anyone first looks at the commercial they would not be expecting it to be a car advertisement for Mercedes. The reason for that is because this commercial has a lot of dramatic appeal to it and talks about the struggles of having to be parents at a young age. The commercial never really talks about the product they are trying to sell. Instead it tells a story of a real life example about growing up and becoming responsible, because no one can be a kid forever. The visuals are presented in the commercial would make one think that it is similar to a movie. The images that are presented and explained are the metaphors for the commercial that attracts attention. The last metaphor in this commercial would be

Visual parody: The commercial is not presenting itself as a car but instead as a way of modern life. We see that one of the couples in the video are wearing more modern clothing that would be classified as "Hipster" which a very modern type fashion. Another thing that is present is the arguing of the couples which is something very common in today's society, because couple argue over very simple disagreements. Another visual parody that is present in the video is product place of a new Mercedes brand.

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Making Emotional Appeals

In Borcher's persuasion book, he discusses that "Iconic images also elicit an emotional response from their viewers.". Emotional appeals are now a commonality in most advertisements and images as they are trying to appeal to you the consumer through a different medium than your need to buy a certain product. According to Messaris (1997), there are four ways visuals can create emotional responses. Those ways are through Camera Angle, Look of Superiority, Identification, and Sexual Appearances. In the Mercedes advertisment the audience is strongly shown two of the four ways to emit emotional responses in images.

Camera Angle: This is ad isn't your stereotypical advertisement. It's more of a short dramatic film. Throughout the course of the five minute advertisement, we are shown the two different couples on a camping trip out in some desert environment. As mentioned in the beginning of this analysis, the main couple is in a rut and are trying to piece back a relationship they once had. The different angles and shots used, give different powers and status' to those involved in the scenes. When the main couple is arguing, the camera vary from shooting up, down, and equal on the people involved. It gives power to whoevers argument is intended to be rooted for or against. Other angles suggest moods of reuniting or leaving as they show the characters from the back or together in the same shots. Overall the ways the camera was utilized in the ad elicited many different intended emotional responses from the viewers.

Identification: This value was the "making an emotional appeal" way that was most present in the entirety of the whole advertisement. This ad makes a statement by not promoting the car that they are selling, but instead shows a realistic situation that many individuals are faced with in their normal lives. It takes away the happy approach to why you need to buy this product and instead, puts itself on the same level as the viewers in a certain way. Mesarris discusses in chapter 6 how using identification in images is "the strongest association that we make with the iconic properties of images.". This is true with the Mercedes ad, as it gets to real problems in our lives. Individuals across the world are forced to deal with their choices during relationships. Unplanned kids, heartbreak, affairs, and more, are all real things that happen in relationships. The ad presents a real take on these problems that occur. Even though it's a glammed up advertisement to sell a car, the creators are using an incredibly strong persuading tactic to make the viewer feel that Mercedes understands what I'm going through and they might be inclined to purchase a vehicle at some point from Mercedes. We see arguments, abandonment, hurtful statements, reminiscing, and reuniting all in a 5 minute period that shows how one couple had to quickly grow up while the other is still enjoying the young-hearted side of life.

Look of Superiority and Sexual Appearance: These other two ways that make visuals seem to have emotional appeals. These two ways are in parts in the commercial, but are not a strong factor to eliciting emotions into the viewers. Look of Superiority is used through certain camera angles but, Messari describes that these looks are used to make s product look superior which was partially true in the Mercedes ad. The last one, Sexual Appearance, is not at the forefront of this advertisement as the commercial is not truly trying to make you buy into a product because of how the actors look. They do seem to have picked actors that would be considered attractive, but their looks are not the driving persuasive factor, instead it is the to ways mentioned above that make this ad persuasive in certain ways.


The Mercedes Benz ad campaign "Grow Up", shows us a common reality that many people face daily. The ad is able to grab attention from the audience without promoting the product solely. Instead they use a representation of reality through attracting attention and making an emotional appeal to gain audience attention. Through attracting attention the ad is able to provide metaphors and visual parodies. Metaphors are able attract attention by presenting an unexpected meaning and the ad show this throughout video many times. Visual Parodies is where a images or videos are taken into account and given a modern twist to it. In the video we see instance of this is clothing music and visuals. By using different camera angles, identification, and some looks of superiority/ sexual appearances, the advertisement is able to connect with the audience through emotional appeals. Overall these factors create a representation of reality that works effectively for this type of advertisement that focuses on telling a story than promoting a product.


Mercedes Benz "Grow Up" advertisement retrieved from

Borchers, T. (2013). Persuasion in the media age, 3rd ed. Long Grove, IL: Waveland.

Mercedes Benz logo retrieved from

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