Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ethos In the Advertising Industry

With the recent super bowl as well as American advertising industry, the people of this country are told everyday what products or services are good and worth buying. Everywhere we turn we are faced with advertisements for everything from cars to silly inventions like the Sham Wow. These ads draw us in subliminally and make us want to invest substantial money into the offered products. What makes us want to buy these products? Why do we go out of our way to spend money on foolish things that we do not need? The answer is simple, rhetorical methods make us lust for these items.
When one watches a car commercial he or she is immediately thrust into a world of style and luxury. The individual automatically thinks, “Wow that could be me in the car picking up the attractive man or woman, and driving through the big cities or beach areas.” Commercials like these use ethos to establish their message and promote their product.  The ethos makes the viewer develop a mindset and encourages the development of new character in the viewer. Commercial that establish a good ethos, use intelligence, sophistication, and try to be emotionally and visually pleasing to the audience.
In Clint Eastwood’s Chrysler commercial (“Its Half Time America”), ethos is used extremely effectively as well as at the right time. It is played during half time of the Super Bowl when many Americans are watching television. The producers of this commercial knew how and when to use rhetoric to bring out the emotions of the American people. As an American, when I watched this commercial I felt inspired and confident that America is going to be stronger than ever in the future and the once dilapidated American automobile industry is now on the rise.
The ethos of this commercial resonated deep in my mind as I had feelings of national pride an hope for this country. This commercial also made me think of buying American goods (especially cars) instead of spending money on foreign products. Ethos can make or break a commericial and the ethos of Eastwood commercial displayed intelligence, passion for the continuation of America as a power, and the revival of the Detroit auto industry.


  1. I like they way you described commercials as "thrusting you into a world of style and luxury" because it's absolutely true. Whether we can afford it enough, producers strike the perfect balance between sophistication and accessibility so that viewers can see themselves owning that product.

  2. I usually find myself fantasazing about the lifestyle I would have if I owned product "x," even though I might like to think that I am not influence by these almost hypnotic messages through the ole' tube. Even with the Chrysler commercial, I felt a sense of pride for my country. Clint Eastwood, in my opinion was the best man to cast to portray that sense. I think you could probably go into more detail about how he establishes ethos. I think it would really deepen your post (seems kinda funny calling a blog post deep...) But good job!

  3. Exactly, that is what they want. They want to give you the idea that what is portrayed in the commercial can be you if you opt to purchase their product. Is putting this idea that we can we can afford anything good or bad for Americans? I guess that argument can go either way, but otherwise these companies are doing their job by keeping the consumer always wanting the next new thing.