Have you ever found yourself convinced by a product claim simply because it was backed by numbers or expert opinions?

That's usually what gets me in any aisle.

And that strategy shows the power of logos in advertising. Logos is one of those amazing modes of persuasion that can help you get the general public on your side.

It bypasses pure emotion and appeals to our rational minds, promising that a product or service is the most sensible and beneficial choice available.

Today, we'll dig into that concept.

Let's dive in.

Logos Definition

Logos is the use of logical argument and empirical evidence to support your point of view. Here's where facts, research, and even a consumer's inherent logic come into play.

If you throw an apple up, it falls, that proves gravity. But if you tell them the story of Isaac Newton, and talk about his process to find gravity, including the apple falling from the tree, and write out the math of gravitational force, you're using logos.

Aristotle in Advertising 

Most of the storytelling we deal with harkens back to Aristotle's "Poetics." It was the building block for drama and became a must-read for anyone interested in crafting their own plays, movies, televisions shows, and now advertisements.

As advertising leans more and more on storytelling, "Poetics" has become even more important today.

In Poetics, Aristotle said:

"Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself."

But what were the three modes of persuasion Aristotle found?

The Three Modes of Persuasion

  • Ethos (ἦθος—disposition or character)
  • Pathos (πάθος—emotion or passion)
  • Logos (λόγος—argument or discourse)

These modes are referred to as ethical strategies or rhetorical appeals.

They're based on the idea that persuasion is achieved by the speaker's personal character. By the speaker, I mean the author of the advertisement. You want to seem credible as an author. Whether that's the writer, director, or anyone working in that space.

Your persuasive ideas must stir an emotional reaction in the reader.

This can't just be through your written or spoken words. You have to exhibit an inherent or apparent truth. That way, you appear to have all the answers to the question you asked the reader.

All this manifests itself in each of the aforementioned modes.

Logos Examples

Facts are mostly used to sell products and services in print ads. They are taglines on the bottle like "10% more than other brands" and "get 100% of your daily dose of XYZ."

But they definitely occur in digital ads as well.

Think about Billy Mays and Oxy Clean.

His popular infomercial was just a showcase of the cold, hard, facts about his product.

Sure, it had glitz and glamour, but at the end of the day he was leaning into practicality.

And what about other ads?

Like something for toilet paper.

Charmin wants you to know how soft they are. To do that, they measure the size of their sheets and so them side by side. We see that Charmin stacks up higher and must be softer.

Other Examples of Logos in Advertising

  • Statistics and Data: "9 out of 10 dentists recommend this toothpaste."
  • Comparisons: "Our laundry detergent gets clothes whiter than the leading brand."
  • Expert Endorsements: A commercial featuring a doctor recommending a specific pain medication.
  • Demonstrations: Showing how a cleaning product easily removes stains.
  • Technical Specifications: Listing all the advanced features of a new smartphone.
  • Why is Logos Important to Advertisers?

    An advertisement using logos will give you the evidence and statistics you need to understand what the product does and how it can make your life even better than it was before you used it.

    The facts used here should be the "straight facts." things like "You get 100% of your vitamin D from a glass of milk," or "an hour of play helps prevent childhood obesity."

    Why else is logos important to advertisers?

  • Builds Credibility and Trust: In a world full of competing products and services, logos helps a brand stand out by backing up claims with facts and evidence. This makes the brand seem authoritative and the information provided more reliable.
  • Counters Skepticism: Consumers today are savvy and often question advertising claims. Logos helps them move past initial skepticism with logical reasoning and tangible proof, making them more likely to consider the advertised product.
  • Justifies Price or Investment: When a product costs more, consumers want proof that it's worth it. Using logos, advertisers can demonstrate the superior value a product delivers, explaining its features, benefits, and why it might be better than cheaper alternatives.
  • Appeals to a Specific Audience: Consumers make decisions in different ways. Some are strongly influenced by logic and data. Logos targets those specific individuals by catering to their need for information and rationalization.
  • Differentiates from Competitors: Using logos lets an advertiser showcase the objective advantages of their product when directly comparing it with the competition. This highlights the strengths of the brand and why it might be the better choice.
  • Supports Long-Term Messaging: Logos helps create a sense of consistency in advertising. By constantly using facts, demonstrations, and logical arguments, brands reinforce their image as reliable and trustworthy, contributing to stronger brand recognition over time.
  • Let me know what you think in the comments.