Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Brand and Media Strategy

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Anthony Chase Mitchell

Committee Members

Robert Andrew Dunn, Susan Waters


Major companies in the insurance industry—notably Allstate, Progressive, and Farmers—often employ personification as a creative rhetorical tool in digital video advertisements. By leveraging brand characters in various ways, these companies seek to establish trust and engender emotional impact in customers. Allstate ascribes destructive characteristics that are associated with house cats to its Mayhem character; in doing so they evoke the desired emotional responses of humor and fear. Progressive creates and deploys the Motaur character, a visual personification and play on the Centaur; in this case, the company’s rhetorical strategy is to evoke humor and nostalgia that resonate with motorcycle owners. Farmers’ strategy is to win customers by demonstrating experience and empathy; they do so with the Professor Burke character, whose professorial ethos functions to evoke feelings of trust. I employ the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) in my analysis to explore the relationships between personification, emotional appeals, and persuasion.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.