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The Role Of Ethos, Pathos, And Logos In Advertisements

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Advertisements are a form of argument that attempt to prove a point. This point is usually to persuade their audience that they need a certain product to act a certain way, to feel a certain way or to live a certain lifestyle. Honestly if we were to come across most of the products sold to us in advertisements without seeing any ads, we probably wouldn’t buy them. Why should I spend whatever little money I have on a grapefruit face wash? That’s the argument an advertisement would make. And since advertisements are trying to convince you of something, they use Ethos, Pathos and Logos as elements of their argument.

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The roles that Ethos, Pathos, and Logos play in advertisements are quite substantial. In fact, I would say that advertisements and commercials revolve around these three elements. Logos are used to communicate statements deemed to be “facts” or “an objective truth” about something. An example of this used in advertisement is stating statistics. An add promoting hair growth might state, “based on such and such survey, 40% of men face hair loss at the age of 60.” The effect of Logos is directly linked to Pathos, which is mainly used to manipulate an emotional response. Going back to the survey example, stating that statistic might make the audience feel that they are not alone in their problem, and thus encourage them to seek action to relive their problem, instead of being embarrassed about their problem or remaining in denial. Furthermore, Logos can be used to induce a sense of security. When audiences hear facts, they might feel like the advertisement makers know what they’re doing, and thus be more trusting towards them. As a result, Pathos can persuade you to be sad, happy, scared, or any other emotion; thus giving advertisement control over your reaction. Once they do this, they can use whatever products they’re selling to ease those emotions.

Ethos is the credibility and authority of the author used to comfort the audience. For example, medical advertisements might say something such as “as a dentist, I am qualified to tell you this teeth whitening product is the solution to your stained teeth.”

Personally, advertisements affect me by making me question fundamental aspects of my life and me as a person. Am I content with my appearance? Am I making healthy choices? Am I in control of my life? However, I’ve learned to be skeptical of certain advertisements. I’ll ask myself some questions such as: am I really buying this shirt because I need this shirt or because I want to be as confident as the model looks? Am I really buying another water bottle because I have a shortage of them or is it to convince myself that this is what I need to start living a healthy lifestyle? And finally, do I really need any more products or am I using retail therapy and instant gratification to compensate for some void in my life?

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