Advertising 101: What are Ethos, Pathos & Logos? (2021) | Boords

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Before there was Ogilvy, there was Aristotle. The Greek philosopher cooked up a concept called the three 'modes of persuasion', a framework for understanding the three ways we persuade people to do something.
The Greeks are good at a lot of stuff. Weddings. Smashing plates. Growing (and marinating) olives. But, unbeknownst to many, they also have a rich history in advertising.

Before there was Ogilvy, there was Aristotle. The Greek philosopher cooked up a concept called the three 'modes of persuasion' that would have gone down an absolute storm on LinkedIn.

In short, it's a framework for understanding the three main ways we persuade people to do something. Here's the line-up:

Mode of persuasion How it works Ethos (a.k.a. Ethical appeal) Persuading your audience by convincing them that your protagonist is credible Pathos (a.k.a. Emotional appeal) Persuading your audience by appealing to their emotions Logos (a.k.a. Logical appeal) Persuading your audience by using facts, logic, or reason

Ethos

Pencil the Dog demonstrating 'ethos'

Ethos is the Greek word for 'character'. It's where we get the word 'ethic' from. Brands use ethos by working with a celebrity or expert – someone who the audience will see as being credible or trustworthy. They hope that by working with a household name, some of the celeb's magic dust will fall on the product they're advertising.

Colin Kaepernick is an American football player who oozes good ethics. He bravely protested against racial injustice and systematic oppression in the USA by kneeling during the US national anthem, rather than standing. It resulted in him not having a team to play for (and a barrage of angry Trump tweets).

Kaepernick sacrificed everything. So when he says the line, "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything," it's a powerful use of ethos. It leaves the…
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