Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Aristotle on Digital Advertising

I’ve been thinking about the major players in the digital advertising space and it occurred to me that we’re going back to basics with the ancient greek science of persuasion. To convince an audience Aristotle believed there were three important types of rhetorical proof:

  • a reasoned argument (Logos), e.g. Huggies absorb up to 50% more liquid than other brands;
  • a recommendation based on personal or corporate stature (Ethos), e.g. the Stanford School of Medicine uses Huggies;
  • a metaphor, an appeal to the heart (Pathos), e.g. happy babies wear Huggies.

Most traditional advertising uses a combination of these methods – but you’ll quickly note that the third kind, the appeal to the heart, is the most common. Interestingly though, as you look into the digital space we’ve specialized..

Logos.. if I see it just when I need it, I’ll take a look.. it’s search, it’s logic, it’s Google.
Ethos.. if people I care about are interested, I’m interested too.. it’s friends, it’s trust, it’s Facebook.
Pathos.. if I want to be the kind of person that does that, I’ll do it too.. it’s feelings, I connect, it’s Yahoo.

Now these are not exclusive, you could argue that these companies overlap, and are of course complementary..

I’m reading Yahoo News and see a beautiful shot of a Hawaiian beach. There’s white sand, topaz water and a young carefree couple with a cocktail in a pineapple. I dwell on the ad, and see more of them over the next hour or two.

Later that afternoon I update my status from my phone. I need a holiday. When I login from my PC in the evening I see that Mike, Sue and Dave all “Like” the Tropical Sands Resort – it appeared on the right hand side of the page next to my news feed. I click and see that  Sue went last month, she loved it and posted pictures.

The next day, after talking it over with my wife, I search for Tropical Sands and click the link at the top to book. Superior Ocean View, 5 nights & flights. Perfect.

Sure, any variation of the above flow is possible but even using technology to optimize each stage of the proof we have barely scratched the surface. Digital advertising has a lot of growing to do and it’s great to be a part of it.