Ethos, pathos, and logos are three components of the rhetorical triangle that media uses to persuade the audience in making a particular decision. In advertising, the rhetorical triangle has particular importance because each of the mentioned components is necessary for invoking different types of appeal between the target audience and the presenter of a message. In this speech, the role of ethos, pathos, and logos in advertising will be discussed with the help of the Infinity Q50 advertisement “Feeling of Performance” starring Stephen Curry.
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Prior to discussing the impact of the rhetorical triangle on the success of an advertisement, it is important to first give definitions to each component. Ethos is a component of the triangle that calls upon the values (ethics) of a speaker. Pathos is something that elicits a necessary emotional response from the audience to get their attention to a product or idea. Logos is heavily focused on evidence and facts to provide a degree of credibility necessary for persuading the target audience.
In advertising, ethos is implemented as a strategy associated with hiring a famous individual for endorsing a specific product. When a person sees that a celebrity uses a product, it is easier for a company that paid for the celebrity appearance to gain trust from regular viewers. Through the respect, the celebrity-spokesperson appears credible, authoritative, and trustworthy enough to persuade the audience to listen to what a commercial is saying and presenting. In the Infinity ad, the marketers chose to hire Stephen Curry, an NBA star, to endorse their Q50 model. Endorsing something is also enjoyable for a celebrity because they value a high status to be able to influence the audience without being experts in a particular subject. Therefore, despite the fact that Stephen Curry is not known for his expertise or taste in vehicles, his overall stature and status as an NBA star are validating enough to advertise the Infinity Q50.
Pathos in advertising is used for triggering specific feelings and emotions from the audience. This is usually done through language because when people hear or read something, they inevitably feel different emotions. Positive words yield the feelings of love or excitement while encouraging words can make people feel empowered and determined in their actions. Empowerment is the key emotion that the Infinity ad wanted to evoke from the audience through using slogans such as “this is what performance sounds like, feels like, behaves like” as well as the final slogan “Infinity: empower the drive” (“Infinity Q50 – Feeling of Performance Stephen Curry”). However, in the ad, an emphasis on empowerment was done not only through language but also through sound and imagery. As Stephen Curry was quickly bouncing off two basketballs, a car engine started. This technique was used to show parallels between the smooth sound of the engine and two bouncing basketballs. Curry continues his tricks, and there is a sequence of changing shots between him, the speeding Infinity, and the text slogans written with black on white.
Lastly, it is essential to explore the logos component of the persuasive triangle framework. Logos is component of many advertising campaigns used for showcasing specific features of a product that will be appealing to the audience. This is often done by using buzzwords as well as ensuring the aesthetically pleasing appearance of an advertised product. In the Infinity ad, such buzzwords as performance and empowerment were used to appeal to the audience. The Infinity Q50 car in the ad was red, which is an effective use of color. This is explained by the fact that red gets more attention (Kuniecki et al. 212).
“Infinity Q50 – Feeling of Performance Stephen Curry.” Youtube, uploaded by Infinity. 2017, Web.
Kuniecki, Michal, et al. “The Color Red Attracts Attention in an Emotional Context. An ERP Study.” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, vol. 9, 2015, pp. 212-218.