Ethos, pathos, logos and degeneration in advertising


aristotle aristotelis

 Merely the fact that I am bringing him up makes me feel shame and tiny.

My favorite though will always be Socrates.


And Xanthippe

Nevertheless I would like to talk about the three principles of persuasion and their application in advertising in that article.

When you sell you obviously need to persuade people that your product is the best.

Nothing is bad or wrong.

It's all about how you sell. Aristotle defines persuasion in 3 ways.

Ethos, pathos and logos. 

All these are an invocation to the inactive logic.

I have spoken about truth in advertising before.

I consider it of utmost importance. Sadly most ads in the world use pathos and ethos (completely distorted) and not so much logos.

Lets see what Ethos does.

Someone famous wears something branded. The brand must be good then.

usain bolt puma

Simple right?

Distorted? Completely.  

Because what does it have to do if an athlete is being payed a lot of money to use a product with the fact that the product IS actually good?

Let's have a look at the Maslow Pyramid.

maslow pyramid

Pretty basic and easy to argue with stuff.

The deal though. Consumers who possess disposable income feel bad about themselves and need to find a common ground inside a team that will make him feel good. In one word?

cartman insecurity

Such as I was in high school with my nerd pals and they were making fun of us. But I felt good. Because I belonged somewhere.

You see a celebrity wearing Nike. He is cool. And you are not.

You try to be cool. Theoretically the product tries to persuade you with a lifestyle icon, thus gaining image.

An easy way to sell.

Let us move on to Pathos.

Appeal to the emotion.

How did that even happened? Children from Africa dying in front of your screen in order for you to feel guilt.

By the way. You laugh at ads? It's still the same. But instead of guilt they make you feel good to sell you their product.

I prefer that to be honest. 

Now let us go to Logos which is the hardest part.

Because it needs to contain a basic truth in it.

old lucky strike ad

Unfortunately in advertising Logos is almost non existent.

They don't give you a reason to buy.

They just give you a story.

How far can content go (which I am a big fan of by the way).    

OK maybe far but we need to keep it in context.

That's it.

Not much and mostly known.

But we go by them many times unfortunately. 

Advertising is not doomed.

It's in all of us to make it be good.

I love advertising and I always love a good ad.

Tactics is neither a crime nor evil.

Evil people are in Jail after all. 

lucky luke and daltons

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