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Cora Wiegel

Ms. Diaz
English 120 .006
7 February 2015
First Class Ad: A Rhetorical Analysis of Above All U.S. Air Force Ad
Career advertisements, and especially military advertisements, grab a viewers
attention by making the audience feel a compulsion to be the person(s) portrayed in the
ad. Naturally, humans feel a tendency to want to be the archetypical hero, as we all play
the lead roles in our own lives. Be it a health care professional or a scientist, it is
inevitably alluring to become the person that makes an impact or an immense difference
in the world. Marketers take advantage of this natural urge in human ego to lure them
towards a position that they want to promote. The Above All U.S. Air Force ad
motivates an audience of young men and women to join the military because it highlights
the values necessary to succeed in this field of work.
Entering the military is appealing to many students as it offers a secure future that
ensures a career after graduating college. The U.S. Air Force ad promotes enlistment and
commission in the U.S. Air Force using a variety of techniques that can be analyzed and
discussed. The component that I find the most appealing about the Above All U.S. Air
Force advertisement was the emphasis on the passion that goes into this career. The ad
was posted in 2011 and the person responsible for posting it describes Above All as a
standard that we hold ourselves to everyday. I find the strongest quality of the ad to
serve its purpose to do what any advertisement is meant to do by presenting only the

positive, alluring features. To say the least, military ads are not required to disclose a list
of side effects at the end of their promotion.
This is a field that I spend much of my time focusing on, and while I do see the
side effects that come with being a member of the Air Force, the ad embodies many of
the reasons why I chose this career. For the purpose of the advertisement, the more
negative aspects of joining the armed forces are not mentioned or even remotely implied.
The irony in this is that the drawbacks and sacrifices made are almost equal to the
benefits and glory. The military focuses on appealing to a young audience, primarily
those finishing high school and now in college. The Above All ad serves as the
epitome of the I can be anything I set my mind to ideal. While the ad is inspiring, it
never truly makes an obvious effort to recruit in the ways that many other advertisements
In summary, the Above All U.S. Air Force ad is a recruiting commercial that
presents the mission, function, and reputation of the U.S. Air Force. The three main
divisions of the Air Force: air, space, and cyberspace are all incorporated into the
advertisement. The ad shows examples of the outcomes of those who have made it
through all training and commissioning. Many of the positive aspects of being a member
of the Air Force are presented in the ad while a sense of assurance is developed that the
Air Force is a guaranteed undefeatable power.
The advertisement can be extremely appealing or repulsive given the context of
todays society, depending on the perspective of the viewer. Any source of newscast is
inevitably bound to reveal a threat, to some extent, on Americas military. The most
recent rise in global terrorism has become a concern for the Department of Defense and

this can play a major role on how people perceive this ad. While some may feel inspired
and motivated to take part in the defense of our country, others might have no interest,
fear, or find it morally wrong to get involved with war in any way. The video clearly
emphasizes the point that Air Force is relied on extremely heavily in our country as we
now hold innovative technology in aerospace that gives us an extreme advantage.
Pathos is a writers technique to appeal to the emotion of an audience. This is
prominently used in persuasion to make the argument more relatable and connects the
audience to the argument. Pathos is exemplified through the repetitive play on words
above all and through the powerful words and phrases used to describe the Air Force
such as defend, freedom, warriors, dominate, respected, victory, etc. When
first watching the ad, the viewer is captivated by both the image and sound, which is a
strategic use to make the ad more motivating and inviting. While appealing to the senses,
there is intense music that is played throughout the duration while the imaging on the
video shows a captivating aerial view behind the featured aircrafts. Over all, pathos is
the ultimate goal of the advertisement, as it intends to emotionally compel its viewers.
Logos is the logical and clearly presented argument that channels the viewers
rationality. This is a common technique used to present the cause and effect of a
situation. It is used in this advertisement through the video footage that is evidence of
every statement being made. The U.S. Air Force relies heavily on its historical legacy as
a source of credibility. Primarily only older generations truly understand and have
witnessed first-hand the progression of the Air Force and know the U.S. has air
superiority over all other countries. The ad implies to the viewers that joining the U.S.

Air Force means you will have a secure job in the future that not only give you financial
stability, but an honorable position in society.
Finally, ethos is the credibility of the argument or the presentation of the
argument. Establishing credibility allows an audience to trust the source of the argument
and in the long run, become more susceptible to persuasion. In this ad, ethos is expressed
primarily through the past credibility of the U.S. Air Force. It becomes obvious to the
viewer that the program has the kind of funding to use sophisticated equipment to film
and produce the ad. The narrator also works to create credibility through confident
statements such as: we ensure victory before the battle even begins. A major example
of the ethos depicted in this ad is the voice that is used to narrate it. The narrators voice
is smooth and professional. In choosing to use a mans voice, more strength is depicted
in the ad. However, this is ad is focused toward a younger generation and I believe the ad
to have left out much historical credibility in an effort to create more motivation as
opposed to giving a history lesson. The ad exemplifies ethos through the quality and
professionalism that contribute to its perception as a reliable source.
The ad displays the various components that make up the Air Force as it offers a
glimpse into just a few of the numerous different career options that are available to those
who join. The versatility in the huge range between the technicality and physicality that
apply to each field is another very captivating feature of joining this branch of the
military. The ad defines jobs that have a very technically oriented description, jobs that
incorporate both physical labor and technical labor, and jobs that are primarily oriented
with physical labor. All branches have a specific area of expertise and I feel the ad
accurately displays the mission of the Air Force and what it means to become a member.