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Qualitative Content Analysis


Rahel-Luisa Dobbener


In the realm of media, the concept of content marketing goes beyond entertainment in order to provide the audience with meaningful and compassionate content. According to Berger (2016), meaningful content not only builds emotional connections, but also serves as a driver of content engagement because it is perceived as valuable and aligned with audience interests. Moreover, content marketing is about providing value to audiences through informative, advisory and entertaining content in various formats, such as text, visuals and moving images (Pulizzi, 2013).

The following is a comprehensive analysis using the frameworks of cinematography, framing & ideology to discuss the underlying meanings for both sender and receiver in the two selected pieces of content marketing.


The first content piece from Nike "One Day We Won't Need This Day", released in March 2020, was created as part of the company's campaign to the International Women's Day campaign and runs for 48 seconds. The visuals illustrate scenes of female athletes, such as Serena Williams and Megan Rapinoe, breaking barriers and achieving success. These scenes are accompanied by a narrator, who expresses hope for a future, where International Women's Day won't be necessary anymore. Overall this ad aims to draw viewers through imagery and narration into envisioning a future, where gender equality is achieved in sports and society. It was originally released online and on social media platforms (Penske Media Corporation, 2024; Nike, 2020).

International Women's Day, a globally celebrated event, has evolved into a platform for recognizing women's achievements and supporting gender equality in various dimensions. Since its origins, it has gained popularity as a symbol of women's rights and participation in the political and economic spheres, and was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1977. Brands like Nike are using this movement to reaffirm their commitment to equality strengthen their brand identity (United Nations, 2024).

Nike's dedication to gender equality is evident within its business, as demonstrated by its commitment to providing women and girls with equitable access to sports and opportunities for growth. Through campaigns such as "One Day We Won't Need This Day," Nike continues to position itself as a supporter of equality, and use its influence to drive positive social change (NIKE, 2024).

(Nike, 2020)


Nikes content piece will be further analyzed within various aspects of cinematography. As integral subcomponents of cinematography, the analysis focuses on specific techniques to demonstrate how they create nuanced meanings and contribute to the overall narrative and visual impact.


Cinematography is understood as more than just capturing moving images, it serves as the expressive language through which motion pictures convey their messages. The storytelling through moving images can engage audiences and generate powerful emotions with every frame (Lancaster, 2019). Cinematography shapes the viewer's perspective by not only determining what is visible on the screen but also by strategically withholding certain visuals. Through the placement of various visual elements, it serves to enhance the story, capturing and conveying emotion and atmosphere in a way that goes beyond the realm of words. It takes into account the following elements, including lighting, framing, camera movement, camera angle, and color. The interaction of these components defines a movie's visual language and immerses the audience in real and imaginary worlds (Lancaster, 2019; Gibbs & Pye, 2005; Filmmaker Tools 2023).

SUBCOMPONENTS: color, camera angle and camera shot

In analyzing the subcomponents of cinematography, color emerges as central element that shapes the visual message and emotional impact. Color theory and psychology works as strategic tools, utilizing the psychological and emotional responses provoked by different colors to enhance the message and engage the audience (NONETWORK, 2024). According to Goethe (1810), color theory states that colors hold the natural ability to evoke specific emotional responses, effectively serving as a visual language in cinematography. Outlined by Plantinga (2012) and Gunning (2015), factors such as hue, saturation, and value play significant roles in shaping the mood and atmosphere, guiding viewers' perceptions and emotional experiences. Hue refers to the pure form of a color, categorized by its position on the color wheel and denoting color families such as red, blue, and green. Value describes the purity of a color, whether or not it has been altered by shades, tints, or tones. Saturation refers to the intensity of a color, ranging from pale to highly saturated. The psychological effects of color are equally important in conveying messages and influencing audiences because they evoke emotional responses. For example, warm colors such as reds, yellows, and oranges tend to evoke feelings of warmth and energy, while cool colors such as blues, greens, and purples evoke calm and serenity (Duco Media, 2024; Elliot, 2015; Pridmore, 2011).

In cinematography, the choice of shot and camera angle significantly shapes the viewer's engagement with the presented image. Using different shots, ranging from wide establishing shots to intimate close-ups, influences the audience's emotions and perceptions (Lancaster, 2019). According to Kress & Leuween (2006) there are two different points of view how a shot is taken and defines the attitude of a sequence: horizontal or vertical. The horizontal axis is divided into detachment and attachment implementation. Speaking of detachment, the shot is filmed from an oblique angle. The viewer's attachment is created by using a frontal angle. On the other hand the vertical axis, is divided into low angle, eye-level, and high angle. Using a high angle gives the subject a sense of minimization, portraying them as small and insignificant in the frame. Conversely, a low angle gives the viewer a powerful presence, evoking feelings of respect and fear (Zettl, 2016; Kress & Leeuwen, 2006).

Shot size in cinematography refers to the scale of the frame relative to the subjects or objects within it, and serves different purposes in visual storytelling (Thompson & Bowen, 2006). They can be re-conducted to three basic shot types: Long shots, shot from a distance, establish setting and context and provide a broader perspective of the scene. They emphasize the relationship between characters and their environment, giving the viewer a sense of place and space. Medium shots strike a balance between the subject and the environment, capturing both the character's actions and their setting. They allow for visual storytelling that conveys interpersonal dynamics and situational context. Close-ups, on the other hand, frame the subject closely, emphasizing specific details or emotions, since they reveal character faces from a close distance, making human face and their expression in details visible (Adminblog, 2024). They create intimacy with the character, allowing the viewer to empathize with their experiences and emotions. Each shot size plays a critical role in directing the audience's attention and understanding of the narrative, contributing to the overall impact of the film or video (Zettl, 2016; Kress & Leeuwen, 2006).

The described techniques will be applied to the chosen content piece in the following paragraph in order to understand the intentions and underlying meanings of the ad.


Nike's "One Day We Won't Need This Day" conveys its message of fighting for gender equality by creating meaningful content using cinematography.

(Nike, 2020)

Camera Angle

In the chosen content piece, Nike uses some subcomponents of cinematography to convey a particular point of view on the state of women's empowerment. Nike chose several women and famous athletes to be the face of the advertising campaign of the Internationals Women Day. In the ad, the rhetoric approaches these themes in an indirect way, for instance, by mentioning “One Day, we won’t need this day” and those athletes that have faced the challenges such as tennis icon Serena Williams and soccer star Megan Rapinoe to highly underline the narrative by someone who symbolizes the fight against the uneven field in society (Penske Media Corporation, 2024). In order to deliver its message of empowerment Nike highlights the achievements of several women with the camera angle technique. The camera mainly adopts a frontal perspective when portraying women, creating a direct connection with the viewer and immersing the audience in intimate encounters with the characters, forming a deep emotional bond. This connection is essential to effectively communicating Nike's message of empowerment, as it allows viewers to see themselves reflected in the narratives and experiences of the women represented. In addition, only low angle and eye level shots are used, without a single high angle shot, to focus on empowering women and highlighting moments of success they have overcome in the past in relation to International Women's Day. Positioning the viewer to look up at the protagonist conveys a message of empowerment in this content, portraying the women as powerful figures characterized by dominance, authority, superiority, and strength (Kress & Leeuwen, 2006). Furthermore, placing the camera lens at eye level creates a sense of equality of power, as no one is looking up or down at anyone else. This also allows for intimacy in these sequences as a balance of power is presented. The goal of this usage is to make the women appear powerful and also serves as a focal point for gender equality between men and women in the future, symbolizing that the playing field will be even. To strengthen this message of the content, all of the women in the ad use serious facial gestures when addressing the camera. With these serious faces, the women underline the powerful effect created by the camera angle, signaling to viewers that women are significant participants in sports and urging them to listen to the narrator's speeches.

Another key element is the utilization of color in Nike's campaign advertisement. Across the visual mode, the presence of the dominant color blue is linked to the narrative of the content piece around International Women's Day. Throughout the video, the hue is present in various elements, from the background of the sky, walls, and lightning to the clothing worn by individuals. The color is traditionally associated with feelings of melancholy, reflection, and calm. Conversely, it can also evoke colder associations such as sadness or depression, depending on the saturation of the blue. This deliberate use of the color blue in Nike's content primarily refers to positive associations, symbolizing loyalty, calmness, unity and safety (NONETWORK, 2024; Morton, 2024). This strategic incorporation of blue into the narrative emphasizes the introspective journey of empowerment and solidarity, which is a core aspect according to International Women’s Day (2024) of this day.

Besides the presented color sequences, Nike displays a few scenes throughout the ad in black and white, demonstrating low modality by that. The inclusion of black and white sequences alongside the color sequences adds depth and symbolism to the narrative. It serves as a rewind to past moments, conveying the struggles and successes of women over time. This contrast underscores the objectivity of black and white and highlights the subjectivity that those colors imply (Martignago, 2023; Infoplease, 2020). This contrast emphasizes the differences in gender equality between the past and present and encourages the viewer to reflect on the theme of women's empowerment. The choice of black and white makes a clear statement and advances a narrative that recalls the past to emphasize certain emotions and feelings. This creates a visual experience that underscores the lasting importance of the message being conveyed.

(Nike, 2020)

(Nike, 2020)

Camera shot

Camera shots are part of shaping the message further in this video. In the present content piece, the scenes of representing women are mainly dealing with medium shot (MS) and medium close up shot (MCU). By focusing primarily on the facial features of the subjects, Nike aims to convey a sense of personal connection and humanity. The medium of close-up, with its potential to reveal slight facial expressions and emotions, allows viewers to become more invested in the story (StudioBinder Inc., 2024). This attention to personal detail builds a sense of empathy and connection, reinforcing the campaign's overarching message of empowerment. Similarly, the medium close-up provides an even more intense perspective, focusing on the details of the subject's face so that actions or objects in the environment have little to no meaning, allowing the audience to connect with the women on a deeper emotional level. In this way, Nike invites the audience to identify with the individuals shown, reinforcing the campaign's message of unity and solidarity and effectively communicating the journeys and struggles of women past and present. By avoiding wider shots that emphasize the environment, Nike prioritizes the human element, creating a powerful and emotional narrative that resonates with audiences on a meaningful scale.

(Nike, 2020)


Nike's content piece effectively uses cinematic elements to convey a powerful message of empowerment and solidarity. By carefully selecting athletes and women who symbolize the fight against societal inequality, Nike constructs a narrative that resonates deeply with viewers. The use of frontal perspective, low camera angles, medium shots and medium close-ups promotes a sense of intimacy and connection, allowing viewers to empathize with the subjects and see themselves reflected in their narratives. In addition, the use of the dominant hue of blue adds depth and symbolism to the narrative, reinforcing themes of unity. The inclusion of black and white sequences alongside color sequences serves to underline the contrast between past struggles and present achievements in the journey towards gender equality. Through its construction, the content piece effectively communicates a commitment to women's rights and equality on a global level.


The content piece "Be one of many" was created by Mercedes-Benz as a series of a campaign, which were uploaded to the company's Social Media and YouTube account in March 2023 in order to celebrate International Women's Day. The video emphasizes the importance of celebrating the accomplishments of women without highlighting their gender. It further promotes women by showcasing their achievements in a variety of fields traditionally dominated by men, such as engineering, chess, and sports. These women show how they are breaking stereotypes and paving the way for future generations. This ad serves as a general introduction to the "Be one of many" campaign, underlining the importance of creating an environment where successful women can be one of many, not just the first or only woman to succeed. The video runs for 1 minute and 7 seconds (Jordan, 2023; Mercedes-Benz USA, 2023).

The campaign film for International Women's Day 2023 features three female protagonists, such as Reema Juffali, Saudi Arabia's first female racing driver, who are closely associated with the company, and aims to raise awareness that being a woman in certain fields is no longer the exception. The film highlights the brand's support for women to achieve their goals and dreams, in line with the company's goal of having 30% women in senior management by 2030 (Jordan, 2023).

(Mercedes-Benz USA, 2023)


The content piece of Mercedes Benz will be further analyzed within the aspects of framing & ideology specifically how it directs attention, constructs arguments, and influences how social issues such as gender stereotypes are constructed and addressed in this advertisement. It focuses on the specific sub-theories framing theory and feminist theory, which serve as a fundamental term for demonstrating how the brand build and conveys the message breaking down stereotypes and taking women's success for granted.


Framing, first introduced by Gregory Bateson in 1972 and further refined by Erving Goffman (1974), involves the process of shaping perceptions and interpretations of information within familiar contexts. The theory holds that the presentation of information – the "frame" – has a significant impact on how individuals perceive and understand that information (Bateson, 1972 & Goffman 1974). Key components of framing, as described by Entman (1993), include the selection and salience of events by the media, as well as the inclusion of predefined contextualization. Besides these components, Entmans (1993) defines four main acts of framing: problem definition, cause description, which presents the identified problem, moral evaluations, which reveal whether the stated problem is positive or negative, and finally, proposed solutions. These frames shape how issues are understood and addressed, influencing perception and social discourse (Entman, 1993).


Nowadays, ideology essentially refers to a set of beliefs that people hold onto and shape how individuals see the world around them (Allport, 1985). Louis Althusser (2008) defines ideology as the portrayal of individuals' imagined connection to their actual existence. This means that ideology serves as a filter through which individuals perceive and interpret their social reality. In ideology, thoughts and behaviors are not merely reflections of individuals, but are produced by social norms and political narratives based on specific social and historical frameworks, as demonstrated by Marxists social theory (Marx and Engels 1970; Eccleshall et al., 2003). Thus, ideology is often conceptualized along liberal to conservative lines and serves, for example, as the basis for gender ideology, which maps attitudes and beliefs about acceptable roles for women and men and ranges from equality-oriented to traditional perspectives (Korabik et al., 2008).

Within gender ideology feminist theory emerges as an essential aspect within the context of ideology (Goertz & Mazur, 2008). Gender, formed over time by societal beliefs and cultural values, describes the roles of men and women within society, with common perceptions of gender often determined by the ideologies and cultures of a particular society (Goertz & Mazur, 2008). However, the social construction of the distinction between men and women becomes problematic when it leads to gender inequalities that manifest in various forms such as stereotyping (Fakih, 2008). Feminism includes a range of social, political, and economic issues and movements that strive to understand and address gender inequalities and oppression (Eccleshall et al., 2003). Based on June Hannam's criteria, feminism highlights the power imbalance between men and women, the belief that women's role are socially constructed and changeable, and the emphasis on women's autonomy (Sobari & Faridah, 2016).


Mercedes-Benz highlights the support for women to achieve their goals and dreams by using framing and ideology to create a deeper connection to its audience.

(Mercedes-Benz USA, 2023)


The second act, cause description, effectively uses historical womens like Berta Benz and contemporary women who have achieved remarkable accomplishments to highlight the systemic factors contributing to the lack of female representation. By showcasing these examples, it underscores the historical and ongoing barriers faced by women in various fields. The inclusion of scenes featuring girls and women as the only ones, the first, or the best in their respective fields further reinforces the message of gender inequality and the need for change. Besides the imagery’s, the narrator suggests that women and men should be able to compete as equals. Both implies the cause of the problem lying in societal expectations and norms that prevent women from being treated equally to men. These choices in content selection and messaging serve to challenge common beliefs and support for gender equality. This message holds significance for sender and audience, as it addresses systemic issues that affect society as a whole.


The third act, moral evaluation, claims in the video a change in societal attitudes toward gender roles and expectations, and advocates for recognizing women's achievements without emphasizing their gender, promoting the idea that women and men should compete on an equal footing. This is demonstrated visually in the video through scenes where the camera zooms out of the scenes, where previous the viewer first only saw one women, to showcase the whole surrounding, revealing more in the room and an equal number of women and men facing each other. This deliberate choice in content selection underscores the message of gender equality. Additionally, the narrator expresses a desire to move away from the need for women to be exceptional or the first in their field. The message conveyed is that women do not have to be exceptional or the first in their field to be recognized, more that they should be able to pursue their careers without gender being a determining factor.



The last act, proposed solution, refers in this video to the narration by challenging the belief that women must be exceptional to succeed. It questions the need for women to be the "first, the best, or the only woman" in their respective fields. Instead, together with the narrative, the video reinforces the message that women should not strive to make history or be singled out, but rather to “be one of many”, emphasizing the desire for equal representation and recognition.


The video is in line with feminist principles, according to June Hannam's criteria (Sobari & Faridah, 2016). First, it addresses the power imbalance between men and women by showing women's achievements in traditionally male-dominated fields, such as Berta Benz’, in the first sequences, in order to challenge societal norms and stereotypes. This choice of content serves to promote the success of women and to encourage greater gender equality. The video acknowledges the social construction of women's conditions by highlighting the historical lack of representation and the need for societal change. By portraying women as "one of many" rather than exceptional or the first in their fields, the video makes the point that societal attitudes and expectations need to change. This message is meaningful because it empowers women to follow their path while challenging traditional gender norms. The message is compelling for both Mercedes-Benz and the audience as it encourages reflection on societal norms and inspires action for positive change.

(Mercedes-Benz USA, 2023)

(Mercedes-Benz USA, 2023)


In this content piece, Mercedes Benz uses framing & ideology to convey a particular point of view on challenging traditional gender stereotypes and promoting equality. For this purpose, girls and women are being placed in the focus of the advertisement to showcase the uneven field in society within different fields. In order to deliver a meaningful message of inequality through the narrative and imagery, different applications within framing and ideology are applied to construct the message. In terms of framing, the overall narrative of the content piece on gender stereotypes and celebration of women's achievements addresses Entman (1993) four main acts of framing in order to convey their main message of an equal society.


This aligns with Entman's (1993) framing theory, particularly the first act, by delineating the problem definition and prompting a reconsideration of societal norms. Through the choice in content selection and messaging, the selection effectively communicates a powerful and meaningful message about the importance of gender equality and the recognition of women's achievements, as it challenges common beliefs and encourages a reevaluation of societal attitudes towards gender roles and expectations.


The beginning of the video starts in a school environment where a young girl stands out by taking her school picture, serves as a deliberate selection to emphasize the beginning of the narrative. Following the camera flash, an array of images and videos featuring remarkable women from various fields, typically dominated by men, is presented. This selection effectively sets the stage for the audience, highlighting the existence of gender stereotypes and the historical underrepresentation of women in fields like engineering, science, and sports. The narration then provides context on the problem by illustrating what it means to be exceptional, stand out, and make history, reflecting the conventional view of success where women are expected to be exceptional to be recognized. Then the question arises, asking what if women don’t have to be exceptional or first or best, or only woman in their field. This reframing of the problem signifies a shift towards valuing women's success without it being extraordinary. 

(Mercedes-Benz USA, 2023)


The content piece employs effective framing and ideology to challenge traditional gender stereotypes and encourage equality. Through careful selection of imagery and messaging, the video effectively communicates the message of gender equality by highlighting the historical and systemic barriers women face in various fields. The specific framing choices, such as showcasing remarkable women and reframing the narrative around success, serve to challenge societal norms and promote a rethinking of gender roles. By addressing the power imbalance between men and women and advocating for equal recognition of women's achievements, the video aligns with feminist principles and inspires reflection on societal attitudes. Overall, Mercedes-Benz's content piece adds significant value to the International Women's Day campaign by inspiring action for positive change and promoting greater gender equality.


TIn conclusion, both Nike and Mercedes-Benz have demonstrated their commitment to promoting gender equality and reshaping societal norms through their content pieces. Nike's ad uses cinematic elements to convey a message of empowerment and unity, highlighting the accomplishments of female athletes such as Serena Williams and Megan Rapinoe. On the other hand, the Mercedes-Benz video uses framing and ideology to challenge traditional gender stereotypes and endorse equality by showcasing the accomplishments of women in various fields, including historical personalities like Berta Benz. While Nike emphasizes emotional connection and empowerment through cinematography, Mercedes-Benz focuses on reframing societal narratives and promoting systemic change. Despite their different approaches, both content pieces align with the broader campaign themes of International Women's Day, inspiring reflection on gender equality and encouraging positive action.


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