Ethos, Pathos, Logos: Video Marketing Edition

Dig back into that deep, dark part of your brain where your high school memories hide. Remember English class where you learned how to write persuasively? If you’re like me, you were taught 3 persuasive appeals: ethos, pathos, and logos. Since video marketing is all about persuasion – persuading someone to buy your product, think differently, or take action – these persuasive appeals are also very applicable to videos.




Ethos is all about establishing character. Who are you? Why are you credible? This is where your brand comes in. Your brand undoubtedly has a reputation and image surrounding it. When developing content, it’s important to leverage your brand. Convince your audience that they can trust you with their business.


For example, in this 50th anniversary Mercedes-AMG spot entitled “What Drives Performance,” they discuss their roots as well as how far they’ve come. Giving background on the company and how much success they’ve seen over the last 50 years (paired with stunning visuals) is a great way to demonstrate ethos.




Pathos is about emotion. This is where humor, empathy and every other emotional appeal enters the picture. Create a connection between your viewer and the product. A great example of this is the “GoPro: Fireman Saves Kitten” video which reached over 40 million views on Youtube.


GoPro often cleverly uses user-generated content to promote their products. In this specific video, a fireman records himself rescuing an unconscious kitten from a burning, smoky house. Besides being very emotional and memorable, this makes viewers want to have a high quality, easily accessible camera too, so that they can record their own incredible, unpredictable moments.






Finally, logos is about logic. You’ve convinced the viewer why you are credible and poked at their emotions, but consumers are logical decision makers. Tell them why they should go out and use their hard-earned money to purchase your product. This is where the facts and figures enter, or at least your persuasive argument. Prove that you are better than your competitor, which may or may not require hard stats and data.


In this Bounty commercial, they appeal to the logical side of parents who have messy children. Bounty juxtaposes their super absorbent paper towels to a generic brand to show how much better their product is. The idea is that parents can get more out of each roll with Bounty and it “is two times more absorbent than the leading ordinary brand.” This paints Bounty as an easy, logical choice for parents.



Integrating these three appeals into your video marketing strategy won’t guarantee wild success, but it will help you create effective content. And in the storytelling business, content is key.

Updated on February 7, 2020

Alanna Goodman, Marketing and Communications at Green Buzz Agency. Andrew David and Emily Herman contributed to this post.