College - Author 1

College of Liberal Arts

Department - Author 1

Communication Studies Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BA in Communication Studies



Primary Advisor

Lauren Kolodziejski, College of Liberal Arts, Communication Studies Department


Let’s face it; crying during movies will always be a bit embarrassing even if the movie is worthy of shedding tears. But crying during a commercial is almost humiliating. Surprisingly, it happens. Commercials from the last few years have caused that very reaction among some audience members. These commercials, built on emotional appeals, contain narratives that cause the audience—in one to three minutes—to feel like part of the world created by the advertiser or rhetor. In a day and age where it is easy to skip an ad, advertisers are turning to the use of narratives as a way to reach and persuade their audiences by appealing to the notion that humans like to tell and hear stories. The narratives found in these commercials do not go unnoticed; they cause people to talk and spread the content to reach a farther scope. This paper will seek to understand why this phenomenon occurs by looking at the different rhetorical strategies at play within three different commercials (also referred to as artifacts). The commercials of focus are “A Boy and His Dog Duck” by IAMS, “Moments” by Volvo, and “The Story of Juan and Sarah” by Extra Gum. The commercials featured in this paper all successfully broke through the barrier of audience indifference by providing narratives that resonate with audiences through a reliance on emotional instead of logical appeals.