Unleash Your Inner Mustang

Although the 2013 Ford Mustang commercial only lasts a minute and four seconds, several enticing elements allow its persuasive nature to appeal to the audience. Throughout this commercial, the Mustang is portrayed with mostly a musical accompaniment, and words describing the care are seldom spoken. In fact, besides the background music, there are only eleven spoken words during the entire commercial. This ad appeals to an audience of mostly those who can drive, but those who admire the Mustang in the commercial were not all adults. In fact, there were three adults and one child, implying that the Mustang is for all ages and something young people can aspire to acquire. While being simplistic yet innovative, this commercial reached a wide audience with several persuasive techniques. The appeal of this commercial is that Ford is advertising a product to a limited audience (those who can drive), yet it reaches everyone on a personal level. As the car drives by each observer in the ad, it transforms in front of their eyes to match their personality and style. Most advertisements blatantly wish for the audience to conform to the style of the product on the screen and to everyone else who uses that product. This commercial focuses more on the imagination and innovation of the audience members. The slogan itself excites opportunity, creativity, and bravery in the audience members. The slogan is simple and enticing: “Everyone has an inner Mustang. Unleash yours.”
In order for the slogan and the ad itself to work, some persuasive techniques must be applied to ensure that the product can be sold to the viewers. In Scudder’s article, he mentions the aspects of persuasion that Aristotle believes audiences would find most appealing. Independence, prosperity and pleasure were a few of those traits that existed in the 2013 Mustang commercial. Every person felt happiness when the saw the Mustang, and when they envisioned their own, it only heightened those feelings of pleasure and prosperity that they could have with the Mustang. The most important of those in this commercial, however, was independence. By showing the audience how they can become free and empowered, the audience can persuade themselves to buy the new mustang. This action will ultimately make them feel more liberated according to the slogan. This commercial’s emotional appeal, or pathos as Aristotle categorized it, was very prominent as well. Playing into the audiences’ ego caused feelings of desire and happiness that would eventually lead to fulfillment. The final application of theory to this commercial would be complimentary parts of Burke’s pentad. Both the scene (where the act takes place) and the agency (the technique, appeal, and instruments used) in this commercial were the two most important aspects to achieve the most persuasive method and the most prosperous results. The scene was very simple, yet the subtle looks of those in the commercial were very powerful. The Mustang drove down a few city streets and encountered four people who could also be considered part of the scene. The people did not speak about the Mustang, and they did not speak to it. We do not even see a driver; the Mustang is an entity itself. Both of the men, the woman, and the young girl simply watched the Mustang and molded it into their own as it passed by them. This leads into the agency of the commercial. Transforming into everyone’s perfect conception of what a Mustang could be, the car appeals to everyone differently all the while remaining the same product. This technique was well utilized by Ford because audiences want to be recognized as valid and influential. Ford allowed the audience to take their product and reinvent it for themselves. The metamorphosis of the Mustang throughout its drive in the city validated the personalities and dreams for each of the four people who viewed it. It influenced them to “unleash” their “inner Mustang.”
This commercial heavily relied on emotional appeal and audience interpretation. A small use of ethos in this commercial might have made it even more persuasive. For example, the format of the commercial could have stayed the same, and the idea of the drive-by customized car would still apply even if the commercial would have started back in time. Mustangs have always been viewed as commodity muscle cars that people have taken pride in for years. Imagine if the commercial would have started back in time. It would begin in the sixties with four people similar those in the modern commercial watching a Mustang drive by and while transforming it into their dream car. Next, it would progress years later where we see the four individuals witnessing the same thing happen. It could be deduced that this car has been successfully fulfilling drivers’ desires to become free and unique for years, therefore establishing credibility for the company and the new 2013 model of the Ford Mustang.
Everyone’s “inner Mustang” is one of a kind, or at least that is what the makers of the Mustang are trying to tell us. By promoting happiness that we can provide ourselves by fulfilling our innermost desires, this commercial allows the audience to consider that part of them that needs “unleashed.” The Mustang is painted as a liberator and deliverer of ambitions we wish to achieve and who we want to become. In fact, the theme song of the commercial says it best: “When I discovered the wonder of, the path was easier to see. There ain’t no other but the one I love. Won’t you come deliver me?”

(Megan Denney)

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