The Powerful Persuasion of Colgate. Essay on Advertisement
A famous singer, Swati Sharma, once stated “The best way to gain self confidence is to do what you are afraid to do” (124). One Colgate commercial, titled “Meeting the Family,” is a keen example of powerful persuasion. This Colgate ad begins with a man by his sink about to brush his teeth. The background behind the sink is white, drawing more attention to the product itself. Shortly after, the man and his girlfriend are about to meet her family for the first time and the man lets out a sigh of nervousness. When first approaching them, the man smiles, showing that he is confident in the toothpaste he uses. However, when the family greets him, they seem to tower over him. All of them eventually start laughing when the woman’s dad gives the man a hug. The ad ends with the man brushing his teeth, again with a white background, and finally, Colgate shows their logo. This commercial explicitly sells toothpaste, but it implicitly sells acceptance and confidence effectively to its young adult audience.
This Colgate ad inspires trust in the company by establishing the shared value of confidence within a common experience. It first starts by asking the rhetorical question “Are you totally ready?” making the viewer insert themselves into the ad. In this scene, the ad shows the desire to be confident in the nerve wracking situation of meeting one’s significant other’s family for the first time, something with which many people have experience. In addition, when the man first encounters the family, he tries to showcase his smile, in an attempt for them to like him more. This scene is further promoting the confidence one can gain when using the product, showing that even when one are nervous, Colgate won’t let that person down. This use of ethos makes the ad more credible and makes the viewer place their trust in the ad by appealing to a shared value.
In addition to effectively appealing to ethos, this ad also appeals to pathos by evoking the emotions of nervousness and humor within the audience. When the man steps onto the porch at his girlfriend’s house, he lets out a sigh of anxiety, making the viewer feel anxious for him. These emotions caused by this scene bring forth the general feeling of wanting to be accepted in the midst of nervousness. In contrast, when the dad begins to hug him after intimidating him, the emotion switches to more comical, evoking humor in the viewer. This use of emotion within the advertisement is effective, as it grabs the viewer’s attention and shows they can be confident with Colgate in the midst of a tense situation. In addition, the humor raised in this scene motivates one to act to buy the product because it associates the positive relation of being accepted in uneasy situations and makes a lasting impression on the viewer’s mind.
This ad also makes the logical argument that buying Colgate toothpaste will make the user more confident in their smile. Toward the end of the ad, when the man is brushing his teeth, it states "Colgate Total toothpaste reduces bacteria on teeth, checks, and gums for a healthier mouth." This fact helps the viewer understand four of the benefits of using Colgate toothpaste, which will in turn promote confidence in one who uses the product. Furthermore, when the man is hugged by his girlfriend’s dad, this shows acceptance that comes from using Colgate toothpaste. This scene promotes the logical argument that using Colgate positively reflects how others view a person, even in the most anxiety-filled situations. Throughout this advertisement, Colgate effectively uses facts and indirect arguments to show acceptance within the logic behind using their product.
In addition to appealing to logos, Colgate also provides reason behind both ethos and pathos, creating an effective argument to persuade the viewer to purchase the product. It brings about confidence through logic, trust through shared values and acceptance within the emotional elements. This combination of devices enables Colgate to implicitly sell confidence and acceptance and explicitly sell their product. From the beginning of this ad until the end, and within a number of small details, this ad effectively draws the viewer in and establishes their position in regard to the benefits it will bring the possible consumer. Ultimately, Colgate exemplifies that confidence can override nervous feelings, even in the most stress filled situations.