What is Logos - Header Image - StudioBinder

Want to get in your audience’s head? Whether you’re making a video, selling a product, or giving a speech, you need to know how to win over the crowd with common sense. Make them think.

Sounds like a good plan, but how? Aristotle’s got your back. In ancient Greece, the philosopher put forth three modes of persuasion that endure to this day.

The best commercials and videos apply Aristotle’s “rhetorical triangle” — ethos, pathos, and logos — to connect with viewers.

In this piece, we’ll give you a logos definition, loads of logos examples, and a solid grasp of heavy concepts. Get ready to produce more compelling content and convince any audience to do your bidding.


1. Understanding logos rhetoric

Clearly and concisely convey to the audience why they should logically buy what you’re selling. Provide evidence in the form of facts, figures, and statistics. Give customers irrefutable proof that your brand or product is the best.

Tall order? Sure it is. But the logos appeal will get you there.

We’ll jump into a detailed logos definition in a moment. First, let’s look at all three major categories of Aristotle’s rhetorical devices. It’s a good idea to get well-versed in all three if your goal is to make powerful video content or ads.

These techniques go by other terms as well: rhetorical appeals, persuasive strategies, and modes of persuasion.

Inspiring Ads and Commercials - Ethos Pathos Logos Triangle

Any logos definition has a place in Aristotle’s “rhetorical triangle”

A compelling video, advertisement, or speech ideally draws from all three strategies. But even when a commercial fires on all cylinders, either ethos, pathos, or logos rhetoric usually stands out as a primary appeal.

Ethos convinces the audience by presenting reliability, honesty, and credibility. This often means a respected authority figure or celebrity giving a product or brand a testimonial or endorsement.

An ethos-filled strategy would include famous people or experts in their field. These spokespeople would influence the audience based on authority or superior social status.

Pathos aims to persuade viewers by prompting an emotional response. This can be a positive, such the happiness you would feel if you bought, say, a new bike. It can be a negative, as in, “Yikes, I might die if I keep smoking.” And how about guilt? “Adopt this puppy and give it a home.”

A pathos-filled appeal would stir pity, energy, or even make a viewer choke up. It appeals to an audience’s compassion and feelings.

Logos appeals to logic and reason by using statistics, facts, and figures. Aristotle considered this the biggie. He believed that people are rational, and appealing to the rational mind with data, research, and evidence is the best way to win them over.

A logos appeal might include case studies, numbers, specifications and features, and charts or graphs.

Check out this video for examples of ethos, pathos, and logos. See all three techniques at work.

Pathos ads relate to ethos and logos strategies

You can even use ethos to sell your pathos, pathos to sell your logos, logos to sell your ethos — and every combination like this you can think of. (Well, in precise terms, that comes out to nine different combos. Happy now, Mr. Logos, numbers hound?)

What does this mean? Well, let’s say you want to convince a crowd that you’re an honorable, respectable, ethical person — that is, you want to sell your ethos.

You can do this by appealing to their emotions — by using pathos. Tell a harrowing story about that time you saved an injured bunny in a snowstorm, even though you had a broken ankle. Be passionate. Make them laugh, make them cry, make them feel sorry for you.

Finally, make them love you.

And, voila. You’ve just used pathos to sell ethos. The audience thinks, “You went through all that? I’m shaking just thinking about it. You’re a terrific person! Such ethics, such character!”

Then, cite figures and use charts. Share evidence that 85 percent of all listeners insist your “bunny-saving story” is the most heart-wrenching tale they’ve ever heard. Analyze your story to prove that a sad or touching moment occurs at least once every five seconds. Give data that 800 gallons of tears have been shed by people after they’ve listened to your bunny story — more tears than any other story in the history of the world.

When you’re done, you’ll have used logos to sell pathos. The audience thinks, “Hmm, makes perfect sense. Can’t argue with the facts. Data don’t lie. That truly is the most emotional story ever told.”

All this, of course, adds up to a very bizarre bout of rabbit-themed yarn-spinning, but you get the idea.

Now let’s focus on the logos appeal. We’ll specifically look at logos rhetoric and examples of logos in advertising.


What is logos?

Logos is the persuasive technique that aims to convince an audience by using logic and reason. Also called “the logical appeal,” logos examples in advertisment include the citation of statistics, facts, data, charts, and graphs.

In Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle, ethos appeals to character, pathos appeals to emotion, and logos appeals to logic and reason. As the “headiest” of the three main rhetorical strategies, logos uses reasoned discourse and logical arguments to convey a point of view and win over the audience.

Logos examples in ads:

  • An iPhone commercial highlights new features and specs
  • A Dole fruit juice commercial hypes vitamin and calorie stats
  • Verizon shows a map to prove it has better coverage than AT&T

The general idea behind logos rhetoric is to aim for the head, not the heart. Appeal to reason.

Not everyone is reasonable. The logos appeal has its limits. But when it works, nothing works better. Logic and valid facts don’t lie.

In the next section, we’ll look at logos commercial examples.

Understanding rhetoric appeals

Explore Persuasive Techniques

Master everything about persuasive advertising in this multi-part guide.

EVERYTHING ABOUT Rhetorical appeals


2. Examples of logos in advertising

If you want a really strong example of Logos is an advertisement, check out this shot list from a recent Nissan Commercial. You'll notice how the angles and shot size change when the "ProPilot" system clicks on:

Logos Example  •  Shot Listed in StudioBinder

This Nissan commercial shows a daughter and father driving on a highway. The daughter is about to drive past some scary construction, but then the father uses his sage like wisdom to instruct her to turn on the "ProPilot" system that Nissan now features in their cars.

Once the daughter does this, we see a Star Wars battle scene playing out in front of out eyes, and she becomes so distracted that she begin to veer off the road... but guess what? The "ProPilot" system saves her by auto-correcting the trajectory of the car based on the sensor system. 

So how is this logos? Well, the commercial places the daughter in a relatively common situation and uses the machine logic behind having a guided system in the car to keep your distracted children safe.

Logos Example Nissan Commercial

Now... is it logical that this Star Wars homage suggests the daughter reach out to use the force by using a guided machine? Of course not! That's the opposite of what Luke does in the movie. Is it logical for your kid to be scared of driving past construction at 40mph? Of course not!

Is there anything in this spot that is logical? The basic fact that young drivers get distracted, and the Nissan "ProPilot" system might just save their lives one day, well that is how you use logic to sell cars.

You’ll want to read this section carefully.


How’s this:

Logos Definition - Logos Examples - Logos Rhetoric - Billion Dollars

Nine out of 10 readers who finished reading this article have become billionaires

Full disclosure: We can’t guarantee that you’ll make a billion dollars if you read this article.

The statistic in the caption above isn’t real, either. It’s baloney — at least it is as of this writing. Couple years from now, who knows.

But the point is, we’re using a statistic (albeit a phony one), we’re drawing from (non-existent) research, and we’re selling you on this article.

That’s the logos appeal. An appeal to logic and reason.

Verizon goes straight for the head, boom, with the logos ad below. We hear a guy’s voice, but don’t even see any people. Forget about examples of ethos, pathos, and logos working together in a commercial. This puppy right here is pure, unadulterated, high-grade logos.

Logos rhetoric works alone to great effect in this Verizon commercial

Where’s the celebrity? The well-respected spokesperson? Not here. Ethos is nowhere to be found.

How about a cute chinchilla, or a tug at the heartstrings? Wrong ad. If you want pathos, go someplace else.

But if you’re in the mood for a nice hot platter of facts and figures, product specs, and a map with coverage statistics, this logos appeal hits the spot.

From a cell phone carrier to a cell phone manufacturer, let’s check out another example of logos in advertising. This logos ad is for Samsung.

The logos definition on full display in a Samsung commercial

It’s shot beautifully, the production value is top-shelf, the song hits just the right “Note,” so to say — but what really comes through is the logos appeal.

The new phone includes a redesigned S Pen. It has a powerful all-day battery. It comes with one terabyte of storage, and expandable memory options.

Boring product specs? Dry facts and figures? Maybe on a spreadsheet, but here, in a flashy logos commercial example, they do the job.

Again, no celebrity spokesperson, no tugging at the heartstrings. The song and colors lend excitement and a bit of pathos, but really this is pure logos appeal once again.

TrueCar commercials flex bodybuilder-worthy logos muscles, too. Check out this logos commercial example.

TrueCar features highlight the logos definition in this commercial

There’s a spokesperson. Never met him, have no clue who he is. Seems nice, but he’s not a celebrity and not an authority figure. A bit of ethos, but it’s not hitting too hard above.

As for pathos, not much either.

But logos? That’s the star of this commercial. Look at all those numbers! See the prices? The app features? Logos rhetoric to the rescue.


3. Logos and friends

Logos rhetoric doesn’t have to work alone. As mentioned above, a solid video or commercial incorporates all three appeals.

We’ll give you examples of ethos, pathos, and logos coming together in commercials. What does logos mean? Well, it means a lot more if it includes elements of pathos and ethos. The rhetorical triangle is most effective when all three points poke the viewer as a team.

Watch this Old Navy commercial. Afterwards, we’ll check off all the boxes.

Examples of ethos, pathos, and logos working together

Not bad, right? Let’s break down what works.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays the hoity-toity mom, so that satisfies ethos. Her celebrity participation means the Old Navy brand gets instant points for respect and credibility.

The commercial is funny, relatable, and connects on an emotional level. Viewers feel for the kid. We’ve all been there, we’ve all felt humiliated by our parents. Pathos? Check.

Finally, logos buttons it up. The cool kids say they got their clothes at Old Navy. The jeans cost $8, the T-shirt $4, and there’s a sale happening now: all kids clothes are 60 percent off. Facts and figures, core of the logos appeal.

Another examples of ethos, pathos, and logos working together comes from Microsoft.

This Microsoft commercial exemplifies Logos

Ethos? These kids know their stuff. Maybe they’re not celebrities, but they’re clearly video game experts. They’re lovable and respectable. So ethos gets a check.

Pathos, you bet. More than anything else, this ad gets the emotions stirring. It’s inspiring, touching, and chock-full of what it means to be human.

Finally, the logos definition reveals itself with features and specs of the Xbox Adaptive Controller. What it does, how it works, and why it’s important. A logos appeal, right at home with its pals ethos and pathos. Playing video games together.

So what does logos mean? It’s an appeal to logic and reason that uses facts, data, features, and specs. It’s called “the rational appeal” for a reason.

And remember that when we use logos rhetoric, we consider the big picture. Examples of ethos, pathos, and logos working together prove effective time and time again, as we’ve shown above.

So commit the logos definition to memory, rewatch these logos examples, and start to use what you’ve learned.

Understanding rhetoric appeals

Explore Persuasive Techniques

Master everything about persuasive advertising in this multi-part guide.

EVERYTHING ABOUT Rhetorical appeals


Get Work by Making a Spec Commercial

A spec commercial is a sample piece of work that shows off a filmmaker’s style, competence, and, most importantly, ambition.

So how can you make a spec commercial that stands out? Well, it’ll be easier now that you’ve absorbed these ethos, pathos, and logos commercial examples. So check out the next article, and start creating your videos.

Up Next: 8 Ways to Make Your Spec Commercial Stand Out →
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