How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay on a Commercial

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay on a Commercial

It is important for any student to know how to write a rhetorical analysis essay on a commercial because rhetoric study is becoming very common in universities and colleges. In most cases, instructors require students to analyze rhetoric of TV commercials, books and films. A rhetoric analysis essay refers to an essay in which non-fiction work is broken down into parts after which the writer explains how those parts are used to create the desired effect which can be to entertain, to inform or to persuade- What is a rhetorical analysis.

A commercial on the other had is a television advertisement. It is a form of television programming that is produced to convey a message that is typically aimed at marketing a service or product. Organizations pay for commercials- Therefore, a rhetorical analysis essay on a commercial is an essay that breaks down a television advert into parts after which the writer explains how the parts work together in creating the desired effect which is typically to persuade or to inform about a service or product.

A guide on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay on a commercial

  1. Study and analyze the commercial

When writing a rhetorical analysis on a commercial, you should evaluate how the commercial uses visual and audio elements in persuading or informing the audience. You should also explore the goals of the rhetorician, the used techniques and list examples of such techniques. The analysis should also show how effective the used techniques are. In writing the rhetorical analysis essay, you do not say whether the commercial is good or bad. You simply discuss the approach of the commercial and whether it is successful in achieving the goal of a commercial.

Inartistic and artistic proofs

Anybody who knows how to write a rhetorical analysis essay on a commercial always considers inartistic and artistic proofs of the commercial before they start writing. Artistic proofs are the proofs that rhetoricians create and they include appeals, canons as well as other techniques. Inartistic proofs are proofs that exist outside a rhetorician. These include polls, surveys, statistics, testimonies, data and facts. Both proofs are used in making a case about a commercial.


You should consider and explain how the commercial has used rhetorical appeals. The major rhetorical appeals that are used by commercials are the pathos, logos and ethos. In most commercials, ethos is employed in establishing credibility. Logos is employed in establishing logic while pathos is employed in creating emotions.


  • Ethos: A television commercial that uses doctors’ testimonials in discussing the benefits of an over-the-counter product uses ethos effectively. This is because doctors have a trusted authority and their testimonials are seen as credible endorsements for the products.
  • Pathos: A commercial that tells stories of individuals who have used a product to deal with an issue or a problem employs pathos effectively. In writing a rhetorical analysis essay on a commercial, analyze the way a commercial uses emotional language or emotional stories in the attempts to convince viewers to purchase a product or service.
  • Logos: A commercial that gives the causes of poverty in the third-world nations while providing statistics regarding the number of homeless people or individuals who lack basic needs employs pathos effectively. This is because such information can motivate the viewers to participate in providing help to such people.
  1. Pre-write

People who know how to write a rhetorical analysis essay on a commercial always start with pre-writing after analyzing the commercial. In the pre-writing stage, you build your analysis of the commercial. This entails identifying the purpose or goal of the commercial, the used techniques, their effectiveness and why they were used. For instance, you can identify the purpose of a whiskey commercial as, “to get young people into drinking whiskey.” Examples of rhetorical techniques used in such an advert may include a didactic tone that gives the creator of the commercial credibility. The commercial can also take a common ground so that viewers can consider the idea of drinking whiskey as a more civilized and a superior idea.

  1. Write the actual rhetorical analysis essay

After studying, analyzing and pre-writing the essay, you are now ready for actual writing. Start with writing a thesis for your essay.

  • Create a thesis statement

A thesis statement for a rhetorical analysis essay for a commercial should be included at the end of the introductory paragraph. Usually, a thesis has two or one sentences that give readers a summary of the goal of a rhetorical analysis essay. It should be specific and clearly informing readers about the content of the essay. To come up with a good thesis statement, consider what the assignment requires you to do. For instance, if a rhetorical analysis essay assignment requires you to analyze how color is used in a magazine commercial for a fashion company, a thesis statement can be, “This rhetorical analysis essay will analyze how color is used in this commercial in persuading readers that the clothing that is being advertised is desirable.”

  • Write the introduction

The introduction should lead to the argument of the essay- It should lead readers to the topic that is being discussed directly. You do not have to define rhetorical analysis or rhetoric for your readers but you can include information about the context of the commercial that you are analyzing. For instance, include information about when, why and where the commercial was produced. Remember that since the thesis statement is included in the introduction, the body paragraphs should support it. Therefore, you should revise the body after writing the essay to ensure that it introduces what is in the body of the essay.

  • Write the body paragraphs

Each body paragraph should discuss an idea of its own. It should include sentences that support the stated thesis further while proving the point of the essay as well as discussing the instances of the rhetorical strategies that have been employed by the creator of the commercial in contributing towards the purpose of the commercial. Basically, each paragraph should have a topic sentence and a quote from the commercial or analysis of a specific aspect that furthers the purpose of your analysis. The quotes and analysis should be short. For instance, you can discuss where and how the commercial has used ethos, pathos and logos and then discuss their overall effectiveness. You can also chronologically discuss the occurrence of each technique in a sequential manner. Every paragraph should have one or more examples that illustrate how the commercial uses the discussed techniques. At the end, the discussed idea should be connected to the topic sentence.

  • Write the conclusion

By reading the conclusion, one can easily tell whether you know how to write a rhetorical analysis essay on a commercial or not. The conclusion of a good rhetorical analysis essay restates the main argument in a brief manner. It also shows why the argument in the essay is important and what it means in the real world. Simply put, write a conclusion that does more than summarizing the rhetorical appeals that have been used by the commercial. Discuss the weaknesses and strengths of the commercial before you provide the overall assessment. You may also discuss what the commercial reveals in terms of the morals, values and beliefs that are held by the society. For instance, a luxury cars’ commercial can depict the desire for comfort, convenience and higher living standards by having such possessions.

Bonus tips on how to write a rhetorical analysis essay on a commercial

  • Ensure that the commercial that you are analyzing is stated clearly in the introduction and inform the readers about the rhetorical situation. Also state the producer of the commercial, the intended audience as well as the context of its production.
  • Create a specific and clear thesis statement that tells readers about what they should expect from the entire essay. Make sure that the thesis statement outlines the tools that will be analyzed and how they contribute to the success of the commercial.
  • Ensure that the body paragraphs analyze solid examples from the commercial that you are analyzing. Include an example in each body paragraph.
  • Ensure that you have analyzed how the commercial has employed pathos, logos and ethos.
  • Zoom out in the conclusion to address your argument so that you can leave reader with a different perspective of the commercial after reading the essay.

 Samples of rhetorical analysis essays on commercials

Here are samples of rhetorical analysis essays on commercials that can guide you in writing your own rhetorical analysis essays:

  • Sample rhetorical analysis essay on Lance Armstrong and Nike commercial-
  • Sample rhetorical analysis essay on Mercedes-Benz commercial-
  • Sample rhetorical analysis essay on Coca-Cola creation commercial-
Get help with rhetorical analysis essay on a commercial

If you are having difficulties while writing a rhetorical analysis essay on a commercial or if you would like to know how to write a rhetorical analysis essay on a commercial of your choice, contact us today for assistance. You can also visit our home page to know more about our writing services. Alternatively, continue reading sample essays and guidelines for writing rhetorical analysis essays on our blog.

Online Sources