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Pathos: The Appeal to Emotion

Pathos: The Appeal to Emotion

Pathos: The Appeal to Emotion

The last branch of persuasive marketing is pathos, the appeal to emotion. This branch tries to invoke emotional responses, from pity to excitement to tears. The goal of pathos is to have the audience associate specific feelings with a product or service.

Here are some examples:

IAMS, A Boy and His Dog, Duck

Who doesn’t love seeing the relationship between a boy and his dog? IAMS does a fantastic job of understanding their target audience and what visuals would incite emotions in them. In this commercial, IAMS follows a young boy and his dog, Duck, as they go through life together. The story instills a heartwarming feeling of watching these two best friends go through the different parts of life together. It ends with their slogan, "IAMS: Good for life." This is an excellent example of utilizing their tag line in a visual way that associates good feelings with their brand.

Apple, Family Christmas

Apple does a fantastic job of using emotion in their ads. This particular commercial is just one example. The ad showcases a video of the family's Christmas activities, recorded on a new iPhone. This features not only the capabilities of the phone but also the great memories consumers will be able to make with it.

Chevy, Maddie

Chevy adds a different spin to the relationship between a girl and her dog. The commercial showcases their lives, and important milestones, like moving out, college graduation, first break-up, and learning to drive in the family Chevy. It flashes back to the moment she got her dog, Maddie, and ends with the tag, "A best friend for life’s journey," featuring the Chevy that the family has owned. This is a great way to show how reliable their cars are, that they’ll be there with you through all of the moments of life.

Pathos is probably the most popular of the three branches of persuasive marketing. When done correctly, it can invoke a lasting emotion in any audience and change the way they see your brand. Try using pathos in your marketing strategy!

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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