ENG 1040: Rhetorical Analysis Essay ( “Dream Crazy” Nike Commercial)


ENG 1040: Rhetorical Analysis Essay Assignment Overview: We’ve been managing two conversations over the last several weeks of class. One conversation about rhetoric: How are arguments made? What do they need to do in order to be effective—to persuade or convince an audience, to be believable, or otherwise achieve the desired goal? How do writers, […]

Rhetorical Analysis of the ‘Dream Crazy’ Nike Commercial

A successful commercial has to employ persuasion techniques to convince the buyer of the product. These persuasive advertising techniques fall into three categories: ethos, pathos and logos. Ethos advertisement techniques aim to convince the audience of the advertiser’s trustworthiness. On the other hand, pathos is a technique that tries to persuade an audience through emotions, while logos puts logic into action by using evidence and facts. Nike’s advertisement, Dream Crazy, employs ethos, logos, and pathos as it aims to connect with its audience while reflecting a winning mentality that defies religious, cultural and physical setbacks.

Large companies worldwide utilize ethos concepts in their advertisements to draw customers to their products. In the sportswear commercial, Nike features famous sports personalities such as Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James, Eliud Kipchoge, and Serena Williams in its marketing. These are outstanding athletes who enjoy a high status in contemporary society. Although the company lacks on-filed expertise, it still manages to sell and distribute sportswear products to its clientele worldwide. Thus, Nike capitalizes on the audience’s respect for tennis legend Serena Williams, as she appears trustworthy enough to the customers. It is easier for the audience to decide when someone they respect endorses the product. Therefore, this commercial invoked ethos rhetoric to persuade the audience that Nike can be trusted.

The Nike commercial also features stories of athletes who overcame high odds to achieve their dreams in real life. One such person is Charlie Rocket Jabaley, a common person who weighed 300 pounds and had a crazy dream of being an athlete. Charlie lost 120 pounds and went ahead to become an athlete after beating a brain tumour (Heller, 2018). Thus, Charlie’s story appeals to the audience’s emotions. It motivates people to chase their dreams even when the odds are against them.

Furthermore, it invites positivity and encourages its audience to associate Nike accordingly in their lives. The commercial advert also creates the impression that using Nike products will put the customer on the winning team. Consequently, the commercial adheres to the pathos definition since it appeals to the audience’s emotions.

Brands worldwide also adhere to logos ideologies to connect to their audiences and improve the marketability of their products amidst international competition. The Nike commercial shows skaters, boxers, football players, soccer players, sprinters, and basketball and tennis players in their element. For instance, Eliud Kipchoge gets featured in Nike running gear after breaking the world record in a marathon (Heller, 2018). All these athletes, including the fastest man in the world, are dressed in Nike sports gear. Thus, the advert proves that with Nike products, you can be sure to excel in any sport in the world, even to record-breaking heights. Therefore, the logos rhetoric became utilized to build the Nike brand as the most logical, functional, and helpful option for sportsmen and sportswomen worldwide.

Zeina Nassar, a German boxing champion, appears wearing a Nike Pro Hijab, a religious covering in the commercial. Nassar, who has faced discrimination for being a Muslim woman in boxing, is responsible for changing the rules concerning the hijab while participating in sports (Dawling, 2018). Therefore, Nassar’s story inspires many young girls in Muslim nations and the world who have faced similar struggles in their everyday lives. Nike’s advertisement challenges the cultural narrative that the hijab cannot get worn while participating in sports. Additionally, it creates a story where Muslim ladies can find the freedom to participate and excel in sports in their unique way. Consequently, the Nike commercial connects suppressed people worldwide with the notion that they can engage in the games they desire and find success.

Similarly, Isaiah Bird, a ten-year-old wrestler, also makes an appearance in the Nike commercial. The young boy, born without legs, is also a swimmer and track runner and plays other sports like soccer and football (Sport, 2020). Bird has been competing in wrestling since kindergarten, and he keeps getting better with practice and determination. Furthermore, Bird defied all odds to pursue what he loves, despite the significant obstacles that life put in his way growing up. Bird’s story became an inspiration to all people who are physically disabled, proving that nothing can stop them from achieving their dreams in life. Through these stories, the advertisement fulfilled its purpose of inspiring people to chase their dreams, regardless of origin and condition. In this way, Nike manages to connect with the audience in a unique way to build a notion of happiness through hard work and determination, which they illustrate to be associated with their brand.

In its advertisement, Nike employs ethos, pathos, and logos ideologies to illustrate a winning mentality that challenges physical, cultural, and religious setbacks in its commercial ad. By featuring world-renowned athletes in its commercial, Nike convinces the audience that its products are associated with greatness in the sports field through ethos ideologies. Furthermore, the players that overcame challenges identify with the audience through pathos ideologies, while record-breaking performance in Nike sportswear creates a sense of trust through logos concepts. Additionally, Muslim and disabled sportspeople featured in the commercial advertisement challenge society’s cultural and religious standards regarding sports.



Dawling, E. (2018, January 10). The sports hijab is dividing opinions. BBC, Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20180110-the-sports-hijab-dividing-opinions

Heller, S. (2018). Here’s the back story of everyone who appeared in the new Nike’ Dream Crazy’ ad featuring Colin Kaepernick. Retrieved from https://www.insider.com/all-the-athletes-in-the-nike-dream-crazy-ad-with-colin-kaepernick-2018-9

Nike. (2018, October 17). Colin Kaepernick DO IT Nike commercial 2018 Feat LeBron James & other athletes [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyHI3IrJOR8

Guardian, Sports. (2019, September 16). Nike’s ‘Dream Crazy’ advert starring Colin Kaepernick wins Emmy. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/sep/16/nikes-dream-crazy-advert-starring-colin-kaepernick-wins-emmy

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Published On: 05-02-2017

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