Hyperbole in Advertising

One of the recent class topics we’ve discussed is the use of hyperbole in rhetoric. It has been stated on a website discussing different rhetorical techniques that, “The greatest danger that hyperbole poses is that, even when you recognize it as false, you prepare yourself to accept a weaker version of the same claim.” I find this to be very true. For example, if one were to say “Michael Jordan is the best basketball player ever,” it is obvious that the “best” player is a matter of opinion and cannot be proven. However, you would probably accept the fact that he is deserving of being in competition for the “best” based alone on this person’s opinion.

Hyperbole is often used in advertising, often refered to as “dramatizing the selling point.” 

  • “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup” - This is clearly an opinion, and the cup of Folgers coffee might not be the best part of waking up for everyone, every single morning. However, describing the generally negative “waking up” from a warm, comfortable bed to a warm cup of coffee as the “best part” of the action makes a very efficient slogan. Even if it’s not the best part of waking up, I’m sure many who favor this type of coffee or enjoy this ad admit that it is definitely an enjoyable way to wake up.
  • “It doesn’t get better than this” for Oscar Meyer- This phrase in advertisements adds a highly positive quality to the brand of Oscar Meyer and is efficient advertising, leading people to want to try the “best”
  • “Adds amazing luster for infinite, mirror-like shine” for Brilliant Brunette shampoo The hyperbole in this statement for shampoo is that it creates infinite mirror-like shine. It is not possible for a shampoo, no matter the brand, to create infinite shine or even shine that is comparable to a mirror. However, many people witnessing this advertisement might prescribe to the weaker claim that this type of shampoo provides a long-lasting and brilliant shine, worthy of being purchased and used.
  • - This toothpaste advertisement is very creative, yet also extremely hyperbolic. Obviously, even with a decent toothpaste that claims to “build strong teeth,” one’s teeth are never going to be strong enough to bite and tear something like that apart. But accepting a weaker form of this claim, one might determine that this particular toothpaste would make your teeth strong enough to easily bite through more reasonable objects, like a tough steak or an apple.
  • - The message behind this hyperbolic advertisement is that using Old Spice deodorant will make you this much of a winner and this much of a man. However, using Old Spice will not alone lead you to win a ridiculous amount of medals. It will also not make you appear manly enough to nonchalantly carry around a chainsaw while in a towel surrounded by a handful of lit candles.
  • - This is one of the most ridiculous advertisements for soda I think I have ever seen. Obviously trying to break the stereotype that “diet” food and drinks are mostly for women, this Diet Dr. Pepper commercial ends with the slogan, “It’s not for women.” But what makes this 10 calorie soda beverage manly enough to exclude women? I’m guessing nothing. Displaying this soda as a diet drink that’s so manly”it’s not for women” is a hyperbole that, in my opinion, is pretty ridiculous and is pretty ineffective as an advertisement.
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