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Ethos: The Appeal to Ethics

Ethos: Appeal to Ethics

Ethos: The Appeal to Ethics

Persuasive marketing has been around for a long time now, with three main branches: ethos, logos, and pathos. Each one is individually important but they all work well together. Let's break down the first branch: ethos.

Ethos is considered the appeal to ethics. It’s when you appeal to your audiences' sense of right and wrong and can be used as a way for brands to showcase the credibility of their products or services. This is typically done by using a famous or local celebrity.

Let’s look at a few examples:

Amazon, Alexa Loses Her Voice

This commercial is a prime example of how businesses use ethos to promote their credibility. In the ad, Alexa—the infamous Artificial Intelligence used in most of Amazon's tech products—loses her voice. The solution, provided by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is to have a bunch of celebrities fill in. While this alone might have given Amazon the results they wanted, they took it a step further. With each star, the question or action they were asked had something to do with what they were famous for. For example, esteemed chef Gordan Ramsey was asked how to make a grilled cheese and responded the way you would expect him to. This was a great way for Amazon to build credibility for their products in a fun and memorable way.

Hyundai, The Elevator

Hyundai took a different approach to showcase their car buying process. In this ad, Jason Bateman is an elevator operator taking people to their stereotypical bad errands, like root canals, jury duty, and car shopping. Bateman stops the couple at the stereotypical car lot, which would fit in with the "bad" vibe. The couple stops and states that they're buying a Hyundai, to which Bateman responds, "Hyundai. Going up!" This helped build credibility for their business, but it also firmly placed Hyundai into the "what's right" category. This is especially apparent when comparing them to the other car lot, which would be in the "what's wrong" category.

Pepsi, It's More Than Okay

Pepsi created a commercial based on the term, "Is Pepsi okay?" when someone asks for a Coke. They utilized well-known celebrities, like Steve Carell, Cardi B, and Lil Jon. Steve Carell starts by comparing Pepsi to other great things like puppies, a shooting star, and laughing children. This is another example of a brand making sure to put their products in the "good" or "right" category. They even end it by saying that "Pepsi is more than okay," building their credibility even more.

Ethos is a great way to build credibility for your brand, while also placing your products or services in the "what's right" category in the mind of your audience. Add persuasive marketing to your strategy and see how it works for your business!

Contributor Dani James

Dani James is a Marketing Specialist and writer for Atwill Media. She has a bachelor's degree in Strategic Communications from Arkansas State University with focuses in Public Relations, Advertising, and Social Media Management.

When not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading a good book, and watching The Office.

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