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Mtn Dew Rhetorical Analysis
Transcript of Mtn Dew Rhetorical Analysis
The Evolution of
A Rhetorical Analysis of Brand Identity
The ads orginally featured cartoon hillbillies engaged in zany antics.
"The bottle was green glass with white paint showing a hillbilly shooting at
a revenuer running from an outhouse."
"Mountain Dew" is a slang term for "moonshine"
The name and iconograpy pay tribute to the company's origin in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains.
The name subtly suggests the beverage's original purpose as a "mixer" for strong liquor.
In southern culture, the moonshiner is a folk hero - someone who stands up to the "establishment" by defending his right to sell untaxed, homemade whiskey.
Mountain Dew used such cultural imagery to appeal to young people in the 1960s, many of whom would identify with the moonshiner's ethos of wildness and rebellion against authority.
The Mountain Dew company attempts to revamp its image for a new generation of young people.
The new advertisements still associate consumption of the soda with zany antics, but its original hillbilly characters have now been replaced by cowboys.
This second generation of rustic spokespeople are also more inclined to participate in recreational activities popular among suburban teens.
The message is that Mountain Dew is the official drink of "suburban cowboys."
1990s - Present
Although energetic outdoor activities still dominate the advertisements, the product continues to distance itself from iconic representatives of rural American life.
It is now more likely to feature images of "extreme" sports enthusiasts.
Over the years,
advertisements have changed the images they've used to sell their product, but some features remain consistent:
While there have been efforts in recent years to design ads that appeal to a more diverse audience, the ads in this analysis demonstrate that the target audience has primarily consisted of white, suburban, adolescent males.
In order to appeal to this demographic, print and TV ads always attempt to create a causal connection between drinking their product and the spontaneous outbreak of highly energetic and often dangerous recreational activities.
"It'll tickle yore innards"
"Yahoo! Mountain Dew"
"Mountain Dew'll do it fer yew."
Advertising copy originally used hillbilly idioms to endorse the drink:
indicate that this is not a beverage
for people who care about appearing sophisticated.
The fact that it has about 20% more sugar and 80% more caffeine than most other sodas perhaps lends this claim some validity.
The mindless enthusiasm for such behavior exhibited by the people in these advertisements fosters perceptions of the beverage as a mild stimulant or even a euphoria-inducing intoxicant.
When it first came on the market, there were also rumors that the beverage had intoxicating qualities.
Willy the Hillbilly
The "revenuer" is the federal tax agent who works to shut down unlicensed liquor operation.
He is a stock "bad guy" in white southern cultural mythology who would be associated with invasive and unjust federal authority.
These dew drinkers presume to enjoy the carefree and adventurous life conventionally associated with cowboys, despite the fact that they have been born into a largely suburban, late-twentieth century world.
From hillbillies to cowboys to snowboarders, the principle figures in the advertisements have always been associated with risky behavior in the great outdoors
Mtn. Dew's exaggerated informality sets the drink apart from
ads of the era, which typically try to associate their beverage with classy behavior.
They are also capable of enjoying the finer things in life because they have
Coca-Cola drinkers are encouraged to imagine themselves drinking in ritzy locations like