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Ethos, Logos and Pathos... in Advertising?!

The Art of Selling

How to Use Logic, Emotion, and Ethics in Advertising

Fancy that, eh? Now who would’ve known that Aristotelian philosophy that is 2,000 years old would be a tool in advertising today?

Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in Advertising - The Miracle of Advertising - A young man in a hoodie looking at brightly lit, colorful billboards running commercials and advertisements in Times Square.
Ethos, Logos, and Pathos form a rhetorical triangle that plays a very significant role in modern marketing.

I first heard of the three terms back in my university days. Philosophy was my favorite escapade. New concepts and ideologies were welcomed with open arms. I was reading one of Aristotle’s works when I landed on these terms. I read the concepts but quickly moved on to other stuff in life.

It was my stint in an advertising agency where I saw these three philosophical concepts practically at work. I found it hilarious that ethos, logos and pathos were the fulcrum of their ad concepts and shoots, yet, they had no idea that they were using them.
Granted that it was a very mismanaged firm, but still, their using something like this without even knowing it was interesting.

So, what are these three concepts?
Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in Advertising - Building Trust - Business people holding each other's hands in a crisscross pattern as part of a trust building exercise.

Simply put, it signifies credibility. You see brand endorsements all the time in an attempt (often feeble) to establish trust, authority, and credibility.

Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in Advertising - Story Time - A group of people sitting around a large campfire sharing stories.

This is all about using a person’s emotions to your advantage. Advertisers manipulate consumers emotionally to buy whatever they’re selling. Pathos is also a very popular tool for politicians to win the hearts and minds of the people.

Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in Advertising - Statistics Galore - Part of a laptop screen showing graphs and statistics.

This one is a bit of a no-brainer. Logos means logic. In advertising parlance, you use sound facts and logical arguments to convince the customer to buy whatever you’re selling.

Strange, right? Well, cheers!
The next time you see an advertisement, you’ll be able to spot the strategy in play.
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