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What Are the Different Types of Persuasive Advertising?

K.C. Bruning
K.C. Bruning

The primary types of persuasive advertising are known as pathos, logos, and ethos. These represent emotion, logic, and credibility, respectively. In addition to these core principals, these advertising methods will often use the construction of need, the desire for strong social status, and loaded words to attract customers.

An ad that appeals to pathos can be geared to affect emotions in both positive and negative ways. It can show individuals improving their lives because of the product or suffering because they did not purchase the item. This type of advertising frequently works by invoking fear, guilt, or longing.

Persuasive advertising appeals to a consumer's sense of logic.
Persuasive advertising appeals to a consumer's sense of logic.

The logos method of persuasive advertising uses data to draw interest to a product. For example, a seller may attempt to win over new customers by saying exactly how many times better a certain product is compared to the competition. This kind of advertising may also use statistics, health information, and other similar data to make a sale.

Ethos is a method of advertising by which the company attempts to build trust in themselves and the quality of the product. This is frequently accomplished by presenting expert or celebrity endorsements. The reputation of the spokesperson is meant to reflect upon the company, thus raising their profile as well.

A shampoo maker might use persuasive advertising that suggests the ingredients in its product are ideal for nourishing a particular type of hair.
A shampoo maker might use persuasive advertising that suggests the ingredients in its product are ideal for nourishing a particular type of hair.

Persuasive advertising techniques are also often used to make consumers feel like they need a particular product. There are several classic needs that are typically targeted, such as the desire for self-actualization, love, and shelter. This is one of the most popular forms of advertising.

Another technique is to make the consumer feel that ownership of a certain product will increase their social standing. This method works in two ways: it can be used to encourage a consumer to be part of the crowd or to help to distinguish an individual from everyone else. Overall, it is a method which uses the power of external factors to inspire the consumer to act.

Persuasive advertising may encourage a consumer to be part of the crowd.
Persuasive advertising may encourage a consumer to be part of the crowd.

Loaded images and words may also be used to persuade a consumer to buy a product. One of the most common ways this technique is used is to show images of attractive, wealthy, or otherwise desirable people in an ad. Loaded words are evocative and often meaningless phrases that are meant to inspire consumers with positive imagery like “virtually spotless” and “all natural ingredients.” This can be one of the least direct techniques as it is often meant to create a certain mood, rather than to make a direct pitch.

Discussion Comments


Often, upbeat, modern music and colourfu,l bold headings get people's attention. They feel the need to go and look inside the store. When it comes to advertising, young females and males who are fit are nearly always used when advertising a certain product. With the music, if popular songs are playing, customers will stay inside the shop longer.


Since I am a frugalista (a.k.a. frugal yet stylish), the advertising that gets me every time are the "clearance colors" this is what I call the bright orange, red or yellow that stores are always using in correspondence with a sale.

It seems I am immediately attracted to this color, but I think I have finally moved past the buying something just because it is on sale to the "it is on sale and I truly need it" buying.

So I would have to vote for colors are a part of the persuasive advertising scheme for me.


There are so many kinds of persuasive ads that use our emotions and our logic. It doesn't seem to matter whether it is a commercial on TV or an advertisement in print.

Even though a banking institution wants to build on their credibility and trustworthiness, there is still quite a bit of logic and emotion that goes a long with that.

If a bank is advertising for a home equity loan rate, they know the consumer wants to work with someone they can trust. They also know that most people want to have the money to pay for their kids education or possibly remodel their home. That is where I find it hard to separate the logic from the emotion.

Whatever the reason for responding to a advertisement, there often seems to be a mix of all three types of persuasive advertising.


I think that most people respond to advertising that focuses on their emotions. Even when you have advertising that appears to be logical, there seems to be some kind of emotional attachment to it.

I have always been surprised by the number of car advertisements that use a glamorous, sexy woman as part of the advertisement. It makes me wonder what that has to do with buying a car, but I realize it gets your attention and also plays on your emotions.

My son works in advertising, and there is a lot of research and thought that goes in to these advertisements that many people don't even realize.


The funeral home where I work uses only institutional advertising for promotion. We think it would be tacky to have sales and discounts and run flashy ads announcing “coffins 20% off” or something along those lines.

We focus on our integrity. We have been around for 50 years, and we always mention our endurance in our ads. We have also won awards in the industry for our service for ten years in a row.

We feel that mentioning these aspects will draw people to us. In times of need, people need a place they can rely on, and they need to feel that their loved one and their money are safe with us.


I held an advertising job for several years, and I have seen all types of advertising. I think that some of the most effective used strong imagery and simple phrases to get a point across, rather than overloading the reader with multiple paragraphs of text.

I remember an ad I designed for an insurance company. They used a large photo of a dark, stormy sky with lightning and wind. At the bottom of the photo, they wanted the simple phrase “shelter from the storm.” Their company name, address, phone number, and website were the only other elements in the ad.


Our newspaper always has a lot of logical persuasive advertising around election time. The politicians like to list exactly what they have done and percentages of improvement in the area during their terms.

In my opinion, this is much more effective than when they try to paint a negative picture of their opponents by bashing them. Of course, sometimes they use statistics to do that, as well, and that can be more effective than simply stating generic negative traits about them.

I believe it is wise for politicians to spend the extra money and buy a bigger ad space to list their actual accomplishments. This is far more beneficial than buying a small ad and only listing their name, the position they are running for, and a line stating, “Vote for Bob.”


When I worked at an advertising agency, I did a lot of real estate ads geared toward the rich. The city where I worked had an abundance of empty, new houses verging on mansions that realtors were trying desperately to sell. Their commission alone would be enough to buy a small home.

The ads used a lot of empty words, like “luxury,” “elegance,” “grandeur,” and “state-of-the-art.” Rarely did they actually describe anything. They just evoked the sense of importance.

This advertising technique seemed to persuade people to buy the luxury homes. The rich seemed drawn in by words that described their lifestyle.


@manykitties2 - There are so many persuasive techniques used in advertising that I am sure they must have a real challenge breaking through to consumers when there is so much advertising saturation these days.

For myself, I actually prefer the logos method of advertising because I really big on statistics and facts. I want to know how the product holds up to the competition. While I think all advertisers slant their ads to make themselves the best, the data they provide can be a good starting point for your own research. I am all for comparing products and seeing which one really holds up to the claims made.


There are so many examples of persuasive advertising examples around today, that it is really hard to figure out which ones actually really impact you. I feel that I am bombarded by so many ads that I am not even sure what I am drawn in by anymore.

I suppose that persuasive advertisement that uses the pathos method really strikes a cord with me. I can be emotional and it is pretty easy to play off my feelings. I find that when a product shows me what I am missing out on, especially with vacations, I always get an intense feeling of craving to have the same experiences.


I think it's fine for companies to use persuasive advertising when they're trying to sell something to adults. When I see some children's ads for toys or junk food though, I get upset sometimes.

I think these kind of ads are generally geared to emotions because I don't think kids are mature enough to think about social standing or trust. I think they want a toy or a new candy or children's meal because it looks nice and they see other kids in the commercials playing with the toys or eating the meals.

Advertising is so persuasive in general, even for adults, how can it not be persuasive for children who have not matured and developed completely yet? I wonder, is it not possible to advertise a product without using one of these persuasion techniques? Would those ads be completely useless?


@Icecream17 - Persuasive advertisements for kids often involve cartoon characters that they love. Growing up all I could remember was “Tony the Tiger” that told me that Frosted Flakes cereal by Kellogg’s was “Greeeaaat!!!!”

I know that the use of cartoon characters even on the packaging itself entices kids to want a product. Many of the fruit snacks that are marketed to kids by the use of bright primary colored packaging along with their favorite cartoon characters on the box.

I remember some of the cereal boxes used to advertise that there was a special prize in every box. This really got kids to want the cereal because most of them wanted the prize. This form of advertising was a little deceptive in my opinion.


@Sneakers41 -For me the use of taste tests and product statistics really makes me focus on the commercial more. When I see a taste test or statistics of a recent study I start to believe the claims that I am hearing on television.

It must be something in the statistics because most people believe that numbers don’t lie. Any sentences that a start one out of x believes makes me focus more on the persuasive advertisements and their message.

This is especially true in toothpaste commercials that often survey dentists in the field in order to compile their data.


@Latte31 - Years ago, I remember that the George Forman grill was all the rage. This is a great example of persuasive advertising because it showed this former heavyweight champion pitching a grill machine telling people that they need to live a healthier lifestyle and this would help them. These persuasive ads worked because I read that George Foreman sold about 75 million grills as a result of ads.

He really connected with the public and people believed his claims. I think that you have to have the right celebrity for the right product because if you have a celebrity that develops a public relations problem your product will be negatively affected like what happened with Tiger Wood and Kobe Bryant.

They lost endorsement deals because their persuasive message was now lost because consumers focused on their personal life and this made them lose credibility with the public.


I think that one of the most persuasive ads are those that use celebrities for weight loss oriented services or product commercials. Most people can relate to wanting to lose weight, and I think that when you combine this desire for a thinner body with a well-known celebrity that also was facing the same problem we take notice right away.

I think that the weight loss program commercials that have celebrity endorsements are the most powerful because you can clearly see the before and after testimonial on the screen and it is very effective. This form of persuasion advertising really works.

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    • Persuasive advertising appeals to a consumer's sense of logic.
      By: pds209
      Persuasive advertising appeals to a consumer's sense of logic.
    • A shampoo maker might use persuasive advertising that suggests the ingredients in its product are ideal for nourishing a particular type of hair.
      By: Ariwasabi
      A shampoo maker might use persuasive advertising that suggests the ingredients in its product are ideal for nourishing a particular type of hair.
    • Persuasive advertising may encourage a consumer to be part of the crowd.
      By: roza
      Persuasive advertising may encourage a consumer to be part of the crowd.
    • Persuasive advertising often tries to tie a product into instances of attraction and love.
      By: Syda Productions
      Persuasive advertising often tries to tie a product into instances of attraction and love.