Visual rhetoric is the tool of communicating effectively through visual features like images, design, and texts. It comprises the art of graphical nous and the capability to analyze images for their usage and meaning. Knowledge of visual rhetoric helps produce documents that speak more to the intended audience than plain text (Bell et al. 167). Most people in the current age and recent past have focused and paid attention to the battleground of their companies. For example, visual rhetoric strategies have been essential and intensely beneficial in advertising various products, services, and ideas by the respective companies (Bell et al. 168). Customers are easily convinced about a product’s efficiency by seeing it rather than a mere text. This paper is set forth to analyze the phenomenon of visual rhetoric through the advertisement of Coca-Cola.
The central aspect of visual rhetoric is its power to persuasion that enhances the visual field function. It analyzes rhetoric texts for advertisement texts, their contextual relationship, rhetorical appeal, and oral strategy. Effects of visual rhetoric included in the said texts are also explained and analyzed. Much concern is paid to how colors are used, texture, and kind of space usage (Bell et al. 170). Visual rhetoric is widely used in advertisements because it effectively communicates a company’s message to the target audience.
To see how visual rhetoric is applied in an advertisement, one could look at one of Coca-Cola’s ads. In general, Coca-Cola’s ads could be characterized as simple, positive, and evoking positive emotions. The chosen advertisement contains Coca-Cola’s slogan “Taste the feelings” and depicts a couple hanging one another and holding the branded bottle in their hands (Appendix 1). The color scheme of this advertisement is warm that makes it immensely cozy. When one looks at the presented ad, he or she feels the happiness of people depicted there and might even want to take their place. Overall, the critical feature of Coca-Cola’s “Taste the feelings” advertisement is the appeal to emotions.
One of the essential insights of visual rhetoric is that any image is perceived by the audience at the level of associations. In more scientific terms, the connotation of a picture is “anchored in rhetorical structure, that is, in cognitive-associative processes such as metaphor and allusion” (Danesi 1). From this, it could be inferred that any advertisement should be taken literally because there contains a deeper meaning. Metaphors are widely used in advertising because they evoke mental images and memories (Sobrino 229). This, in turn, assists in creating a positive attitude to a brand and makes a potential consumer willing to purchase an advertised good or service.
In the case of Coca-Cola’s ad, the audience sees a laughing couple in a homey place full of lights. This photo is associated with love, happiness, and pleasure. This way, after seeing this ad, a person starts to associate the bottle of coke per se with the beautiful feelings. Furthermore, the photo does not look staged because the smiles of the models are natural. This, in turn, makes the audience believe that these emotions are achievable, and the bottle of coke is one of the ways to experience the same feelings as depicted on the poster.
Without a doubt, one look at the picture would make potential consumers believe that Coca-Cola is all they need for happiness. Nonetheless, in the long-term perspective, this ad raises the chances that a person will purchase a drink of this brand because of the memories and emotions that he or she experiences while looking at this ad.
The fact that the given advertisement promotes Coca-Cola’s goods through emotions enables us to conclude that it targets the precise audience – millennials. i.e., people who were born during the last twenty years of the 20th century. This inference is based on the finding that “millennials value emotion” (Moore para. 40). It is interesting to notice that the use of a celebrity in advertising is one of the most common reasons that provoke brand avoidance among the representatives of the generation Y (Knittel et al. 27). It could be noted that Coca-Cola considered this point while developing the advertisement and, hence, minimize the chances that it will damage the brand loyalty of the target audience.
As it has already been mentioned above, the given advertisement is associated with happiness because of the smiling people, the homey environment, and the warm color scheme. The study of Kosiciarova reveals that when marketers want to attract the attention of Millennials, they include the concept of happiness in the message of the advertising campaign (160). In addition to that, nostalgia is a powerful source of feelings for Generation Y and an effective method that helps promote goods among these people (Newman 13; Lubinski 83; Friedman 8).
These two elements (happiness and nostalgia) could be found in Coca-Cola’s campaign. While it is clear why this picture is about happiness, one might have doubts whether this advertisement is related to the feeling of nostalgia. Undoubtedly, this image does not provoke memories from the childhood times of Millennials. Nonetheless, the picture of two loving people standing together brings the viewers back to the times when they had the same emotions.
The case of Coca-Cola illustrates that its advertisements are aimed not only at promoting certain products but also at creating the brand culture. According to the study conducted by Chu, spiritual culture is a crucial component of Coca-Cola’s brand culture (98). This spiritual component is illustrated by the company’s slogans, such as “There’s Nothing Like Going Home” (Chu 98). Since the slogan of the ad analyzed in the present essay is “Taste the Feeling,” it becomes clear that the company tries to make the audience associate strong positive emotions with its fizzy drink through the corresponding pictures. One might also associate the given poster with such holidays as New Year or Christmas because of the abundance of sparkling lights.
To conclude, even though the chosen advertisement is rather simple, it is immensely powerful in terms of creating a positive attitude towards the brand. Visual rhetoric is commonly used in marketing as a tool for the visualization of emotions. The chosen advertising of Coca-Cola aims to revoke fond memories of the audience and establish a link between the concepts of happiness and joy and the brand. The ad’s required effect was achieved by the utilization of such elements as a lovely couple with smiles on their faces, a warm color scheme and light, and the bottle with the logo in the hands of the girl. This advertising poster talks without words and unobtrusively makes the audience think that happiness is where Coca-Cola is.
Bell, Emma, and Jane Davison. “Visual Management Studies: Empirical and Theoretical Approaches”. International Journal of Management Reviews, vol. 15, no. 2, 2013, pp. 167-184. Web.
Chu, Bodi. “Analysis on the Success of Coca-Cola Marketing Strategy.” 2020 2nd International Conference on Economic Management and Cultural Industry, 2020.
Danesi, Marcel. “Visual Rhetoric and Semiotic”. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. 2017, pp. 1-19. Web.
Friedman, Lauren. “Why Nostalgia Marketing Works So Well With Millennials, And How Your Brand Can Benefit”. Forbes, 2016, Web.
Knittel, Zana, Karolin Beurer, and Adele Berndt. “Brand avoidance among Generation Y consumers”. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 19, no. 1, 2016, pp. 27-43. Web.
Kosiciarova, Ingrida. “Retro Marketing–A Power of Nostalgia Which Works Among The Audience.” Journal of Food Sciences, vol. 13, no. 1, 2019, pp. 148-165.
Lubinski, Kamil. “The Study of Nostalgia-Oriented Strategy Aimed at Millennials on The Example of The Lego Group“. Journal of Intercultural Management, vol. 12, no. 2, 2020, pp. 82-105. Web.
Moore, Karl. “For Millennials, Thinking and Emotions Are Equals — More Or Less”. Forbes, 2017. Web.
Newman, Daniel, Kramer, Shell, and Blanchard, Olivier. “Marketing To Millennials“. Futurum. Technology Insights for Business Leaders, 2016. Web.
Sobrino, Paula Perez. Multimodal Metaphor and Metonymy in Advertising. Vol. 2. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2017.