12 Examples of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Advertisements

If you’re passionate about storytelling, you may have heard of ethos, pathos, and logos. These persuasion techniques form the triangle of rhetoric.

Marketers and advertisers use these modes of persuasion in their campaigns to inspire viewers to take action.

This post will dig into how advertisements have been using these forms of persuasion cleverly. But before we begin, let’s take a quick glance at what the terms mean.


Defining ethos, pathos, and logos



Ethos refers to authority and credibility.

It highlights the credibility and trustworthiness of your argument that can help you persuade your audience to buy your product or service.

Example: As a three-time Olympic gold medalist, I can assure you that this energy drink will improve your fitness and stamina.

Emphasis on being an Olympic gold medalist showcases the speaker’s credibility.

It’s why many brands partner up with doctors, athletes, and actors to feature in advertisements to endorse their products.



Pathos refers to emotions and feelings.

It allows marketers or advertisers to appeal to people’s emotions and beliefs.

Example: A bag of chips can bring the whole family together. Tugs on the heartstrings, doesn’t it? There you have it, pathos.



Logos is an appeal to logic.

Your audience can be persuaded if you can present a factual argument that’s based in reason.

Example: This durable, pocket-sized, camera is perfect for adventurers on the go.

You can use statistics,  performance metrics, past evidence, and product utility to make a compelling case in your advertisement.

Read more: Rhetoric in Presidential Slogans: Lessons for Video Marketers

Now let’s take a look at rhetoric in action in some popular ads so you can get some inspiration for yourself.


Examples of ethos, pathos, and logos in advertisements


Thank You, Mom – P&G

Rhetoric: Pathos

P&G partnered with Wieden+Kennedy to produce the Olympics’ ad series, Thank You, Mom. And the campaign pays tribute to mothers all around the globe.

It relies on the emotions of love and happiness to showcase the dynamics of a parent-child relationship.



Flex Tape – Flex Seal

Rhetoric: Logos

Phil Swift (presenter) the CEO of Flex Seal lays out all of the necessary information about the product that will influence viewers.

The standout aspect of the ad is its over-the-top visual demonstration of how useful flex tape is in certain situations, such as being able to patch anything–even underwater!



Believe in a Better Way – Laughing Man Coffee

Rhetoric: Ethos

Laughing Man Coffee was co-founded by Hugh Jackman. His main idea was to give back to the coffee farming community by improving their lives.

The ad shows the brand’s credibility and highlights the farms of Colombia where most of Laughing Man Coffee is produced. The profits are invested back to provide aid to the farmers.



Wiener Stampede – Heinz

Rhetoric: Pathos

David ad agency created Wiener Stampede for Heinz and it debuted at Super Bowl 50.

Seeing dachshunds dressed as hot dogs fast approaching their owners who in turn are dressed as Heinz ketchup bottles is just… wild yet heart-warming.

Featuring happy pets in your ads will always evoke fuzzy feelings of happiness and joy.

This is why Wiener Stampede ranked first among consumers for purchasing intentions.



Read more: Understanding the Role of Pathos in Advertising 


Versatile Stain Remover – OxiClean

Rhetoric: Logos

Billy Mays pitches OxiClean’s multipurpose stain remover by cleaning different products to exhibit its quality and practicality.

He became a household name during the 90s for infomercials, and it was reported that he and his business partner generated over $1 billion in sales.



A Mission for Our Oceans – Adidas x Parley

Rhetoric: Ethos

Adidas collaborated with Parley and ultramarathon runner Timothy Olson to bring awareness to how plastic waste is impacting oceans, ecosystems, and coastal communities.

This ad is a promo for the series that shows how Adidas is reusing plastic waste to create new shoes for athletes to bring credibility to their new cause.

To date, the German sportswear giant has recruited over eight million runners and has raised over $2.5 million in funds for Parley’s initiatives



Friends Furever – Android

Rhetoric: Pathos

Friends Furever was created by Droga5 for Android.

When strangers become friends, especially the furry ones, it may catch you by surprise. It can also melt your heart with delight.

Showing unlikely friendships among animals worked really well for Android. It became the most-watched ad when it aired.



BluBlocker Sunglasses – Joe Sugarman

Rhetoric: Logos

Joe Sugarman founded BluBlocker Sunglasses in 1986. He’s also a celebrated copywriter in adland. His direct marketing techniques earned him the prestigious Maxwell Sackheim award.

This infomercial features his interview and testimonials from different clients highlighting the utilities of wearing BluBlocker sunglasses.



d-CON Spray – d-CON Spray

Rhetoric: Ethos

Everyone gets creeped out by cockroaches, and that also includes the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali sheds a light on how d-CON spray can clear out a room full of cockroaches.



Combination of modes of persuasion in advertisements

Depending on your end goal, you can use more than one rhetoric in your ads. There are quite a few examples of brands that have done this well. Let’s take a look.


I Can Do Better – Gatorade

Rhetoric: Pathos and Ethos

This ad is a modern take on the Anything You Can Do commercial that featured Michael Jordan and Mia Hamm.

Usain Bolt and Abby Wambach constantly try to one-up each other in different drills through humorous content.

Featuring the fastest man on earth along with a two-time Olympic gold medalist chugging Gatorade Zero builds the credibility of the energy drink.



The Man Your Man Could Smell Like – Old Spice

Rhetoric: Pathos and Logos

Old Spice teamed up with Wieden+Kennedy to produce this commercial.

Sometimes, showing off the attributes of your products using humor and drama is memorable for the audience.

Theatrics, acting, and script, if done well, can work wonders for your advertisement.

This ad nailed it and bagged a Primetime Emmy Award. It’s also been parodied in many films and series.



George Foreman Grill – George Foreman Grill

Rhetoric: Pathos, Logos, and Ethos

You rarely see commercials that are a triple threat. We can expect no less from a charming man like George Foreman who uses humor to demonstrate the credibility and key aspects of his grill.



Modes of persuasion


Final thoughts

Now that you know about the three modes of persuasion and how they’re used in ads, it is time to understand what will work best for your business.

To figure out which direction you can go in, you’ll need to define your campaign objective and understand your audience. If you’d like to work with a professional video agency to brainstorm ideas for your next compelling video, get in touch. We’d love to help.


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Posted by Adil Ashraf

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