The Impact of Advertising on Drunk Driving

Table of Content

While an ad may only last a minute or two, or even be one page among many others in a magazine, it could have taken several days, maybe weeks for its development. There are many factors taken into careful consideration when planning for an advertisement of a product. The creators have to be strategic in how they propose their products to reach the maximum amount of their target audience and entice them to want it. In 2013, Neutrogena, a huge American cosmetic, skin and hair care company, advertised their makeup remover cleansing towelettes. BMW, famous for their luxurious automobiles, advertised an atypical ad for their company, that discouraged drinking under the influence. While Neutrogena and BMW effectively promoted their intended product and campaign, Neutrogena took a more lighthearted and witty approach while BMW engaged in a serious and chilling tone to represent their product and campaign best.

Ethos in advertising is used to persuade the audience to buy and try a product, typically with the use of a respected authority. As the number one recommended skincare by dermatologists, Neutrogena uses that to their advantage in selling their product. In their advertising of the makeup remover cleansing towelettes, the tagline, ‘#1 Dermatologist Recommended SkinCare,’ appears on the bottom right corner of the article. Neutrogena uses the support of the medical experts to entice their audience to trust their brand. This recommendation by medical experts can significantly influence customers to choose their brand over another skincare company’s makeup remover who lacks any credibility or support. Unlike Neutrogena, BMW uses itself to promote its credibility since it had a pre-established high reputation. Likewise, unlike Neutrogena, BMW is more subtle about promoting their product. The company states, ‘spare parts are…original’ to insinuate that every part of a car they make is made individually and is original-unlike prosthetic legs, which typically are made in bulk with little originality. However, in this particular BMW ad, the promotion of their brand is far less critical to the company, than promoting the campaign for safe driving.

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To further promote their credibility and trustworthiness, Neutrogena used specific statistics to back up their claims. Neutrogena stated that the towelettes could ‘remove 99.3% of even the most stubborn makeup.’ This statistical fact can create a sense of trustworthiness towards the brand and influence customers to buy the product because it shows them that the brand is effective in its function. While Neutrogena used all three rhetorical appeals in their promotion of makeup wipes, BMW seemed to lack logos. BMW lacked logos, in a sense, they don’t mention any information about statistics. BMW decided to keep their message simple and to the point, leaving out statistical data that would entice viewers to agree with. However, some may argue that the comparison of human limbs to car parts is an example of logos because it is appealing to logic and reasoning as it states that unlike car parts, human legs are irreplaceable.

Though it could be argued, the primary strategy used by both Neutrogena and BMW to effectively promote the intended product and campaign, was through the use of pathos. Neutrogena used lighthearted and witty linguistics to advertise their product to evoke the emotions of customers. Neutrogena stated, ‘removes 99.3% of even your most stubborn makeup,’ understanding that their target audience would relate to the struggle of getting their makeup off. They emphasized waterproof mascara, by stating it as one of the many other types of makeup the wipes could remove, knowing most of their audience would be thrilled that removing waterproof makeup will be made easy. Neutrogena believed by using those taglines, customers would be excited that they wouldn’t have to waste so many towelettes to remove a day’s worth of makeup, because one remover will do the job. Likewise, BMW heavily used pathos to insinuate the effects of drinking and driving.

However, it took a more serious and uncomfortable tone. They used a visual element of an amputee who was not at fault in a car accident. The picture shows a comparison of the two legs side by side, allowing the audience to think about the heartbreak of that individual not being able to do things that would require two healthy legs. This appeals to the audience’s emotions as they would likely sympathize with the individual who lost their leg because of somebody else’s reckless behavior. The linguistic used also states that unlike cars, people can’t be fixed, which will encourage the viewers to think about the impacts of their choices.

Neutrogena had a clear target audience for their makeup removers, aiming their product to female teenagers in high school and young adults in college. However, Neutrogena wasn’t concerned about every adolescent; they were mostly aiming their product to those individuals in that particular age group who experiment with makeup. Likewise, BMW had a clear target audience. The audience for BMW’s ‘Don’t Drink and Driver’ campaign was to every individual with a license. However, the company might have been targeting a more specific audience, such as teenagers and young adults who typically make risky decisions, especially under the influence.

The diction used in the Neutrogena ad was very witty and casual. The choice of words used were phrases and language that their target audience would use and speak. The ad states, ‘Kiss your stubborn makeup goodbye,’ choosing crafty wording that would speak to their audience. It’s also soothing, yet a little pushy, stating, ‘No other wipe can do that’ and ‘Nothing works better,’ to encourage the audience to buy their makeup removers. In contrast to Neutrogena, the choice of words used in BMW’s advertisement is chilling and very direct. The first words are ‘spare parts,’ which instantly make the audience think of mechanics; however, it is followed by ‘for humans,’ which immediately changes it to a negative and uncomfortable mood. The company emphasizes their intention of this ad by setting a serious tone, stating, ‘Don’t drink and drive,’ giving a direct order and a final warning.

Pictures and colors can have a significant emphasis on the product and draw people’s attention. Neutrogena has a playful coloring scheme in their ad. The background is tinted a light tan color, either to reference somebody’s skin since they are a skincare company, or it was used to bring out the bright pink lipstick. The lipstick sits at the right corner, with the words, ‘Kiss your makeup goodbye’ appearing on the other side of the crease. Unlike BMW, Neutrogena was very simplistic with their choice of picture and colors. On BMW’s ad, there’s a broad picture of a pair of legs. The left leg is a healthy-looking human leg, while the other is a mechanical, dull, and lifeless leg connected to a plastic foot.

The picture alone dramatically evokes emotion and sympathy from the viewers. The background is a faded white color, possibly implying the accident recently just happened, and the individual is in the hospital. It could also be that the individual just stepped out of the hospital and is outside facing their new reality. BMW also paints the words to the right of the picture in black, a color that typically represents death, or grief, further appealing to pathos. Lastly, the logo of BMW is on the bottom center of the ad, just below the words, ‘Issued in Public Interest by.’ It implies their motive for the ad as a campaign against drinking and driving rather than selling their brand. By advertising this ad, it sends out the message that the company not only cares about their profits, but they also care about their customers well being and their safety, which creates an excellent reputation for the company.

Amid their differences and similarities, both companies’ advertisements were effective. Neutrogena’s ability to make remarks that their target audience would understand, the use of relatability, and their use of all three rhetorical appeals significantly helped to promote their makeup remover towelette wipes. Many would argue that the form of advertisement BMW used was not in their favor, because while they built a good reputation for caring about the general public, it doesn’t necessarily entice the audience to buy their brand. However, it was not their primary intention to sell their brand. Their primary intention was to warn individuals about the effects of drinking under the influence. Therefore, the message that drinking and driving can have significant, dangerous impacts is exceptionally effective through this advertisement’s use of heavy pathos and ethos. It sends a clear and thought-provoking message of the consequences of driving under the influence.

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The Impact of Advertising on Drunk Driving. (2022, Mar 13). Retrieved from

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