In one of Ford’ s earliest commercials for their Escape Hybrid, a conceptual metaphor is invoked as Kermit the Frog works to capitalize on the attitudes and beliefs of parents concerned about the quality of life in their children’ s future as well as those who feel responsible for the environment. The advertisement opens with an image of Kermit the Frog singing “ It’ s Not Easy Being Green” as he rides his bicycle over a rocky trail through brush-covered hills, paddles his way through rushing rapids through a rocky gorge, climbs a steep cliff looking over a pine-covered mountainside and finally parts the leaves of thick, bushy undergrowth to reveal the SUV.
He peeks inside, giving the advertiser the opportunity to show off the interior and then walks around to the back where he sees the word “ Hybrid” stamped to the side. The song stops as Kermit makes the observation that perhaps “ I guess it is easy being green. ” Then he stands there and nods his head vigorously, laughing in joy, as he stands back to look at the car while an announcer’ s voice comes in to tell us this is “ The 36-mile-per-gallon Ford Escape Hybrid. ” The commercial ends with a white screen and the car’ s name and logo prominently displayed, along with a website address where people can learn more.
The website further emphasizes the metaphor presented in the commercial as Kermit, in his guise as a news station reporter, stands by ready to walk the consumer through the various environmentally-friendly and human comfort attributes of the company’ s new 4-wheel drive. There are several ways in which this commercial relies on literary creativity to convey its meaning.
To start, much of the text of the commercial is focused on the song Kermit sings. In his words, there are a number of literary conventions common to poetry. Rhymes, rhythm, and repetition all play their roles to convey the concept that having a green color has significant drawbacks as compared to all the other colors. In these words, as they are sung by a green frog, it seems clear that the song is referring to the physical color of the frog. The ending verses of the song illustrate the strength and importance of the color green as the color becomes connected to ideas of mountains, oceans, and trees.
With this kind of imagery introduced in the words and the scenery of the commercial, the text begins to draw more and more upon the concepts of the metaphor. Combining these metaphors together within the text of the song combined with the context in which it is being performed enables the viewer to make the connective link to the conceptual metaphor of the environmentally ‘ green’ conscious consumer.
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