Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rhetoric: Ethos

"We believe good men more fully and more readily than others," at least that's how Aristotle defined ethos.

Ethos is just one point on the rhetorical triangle and has to do with how people perceive you. As an author, are you competent, fair, and/or an authority on your subject matter? If you want people to believe your premise, or message, you better be.

An August 2011 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education asserts that "ethos is the primary mode of persuasion, and one which we neglect at our peril. Reflect for a moment on how you have been persuaded. When you were a student, which teacher influenced you the most? Probably the one whose character and interaction with students you found most appealing. Which publications do you trust the most? Probably the ones with the best brand (branding being our impoverished substitute for ethos)."

Branding? Yes, branding, as in advertising. And advertisers are experts at manipulating people using ethos, pathos, and logos. They are trying to get you to do something--whether it is believing in a message (think politics) or buying products--you are being manipulated.

So think about ethos or ethical appeals using trustworthiness, credibility, expert testimony, and reliability as you watch these two McDonald's commercials:





Why do you think McDonald's remade this commercial using LeBron James and Dwight Howard?

But it isn't just athletes that give ethos to McDonald's, especially in Japan.





In both sets of McDonald's commercials, the hamburger chain uses ethos in very different ways. How is McDonald's using ethos in each case?

If you were an advertising executive, who would you perceive to be your target market and where would you position these sets of ads?

23 comments:

  1. This advertisement for McDonalds is using one of the rhetorical appeals. They are using ethos, which is authority. In using the ethos appeal advertisers tend to use famous people in them, so the average person will use whatever product they are advertising. When you see a famous person using a product it makes you want to use the same thing because you look up to that person. Also this advertisement is trying to insinuate that people will not become overweight if they eat McDonalds by using a super skinny super model in their advertisement. I do not agree with this advertisement and it does not make me want to eat McDonalds because i know it is unhealthy for me.

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  2. The first commercial was made to target people that were fans of the NBA using Jordan and Bird; one of the two biggest names in the NBA back in the 90's. The reason they remade the commercial is for the fact that a younger people don't really know who Bird or in some cases jordan is, so they remade the commercial with two of todays big stars which would be Dwight and Lebron.

    The second two commercials target males and females for the fact of how they portray the man and women. The Commercial uses the "sex sells" method for its audience.

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  3. All I can say is "why?" Why do we have to have famous people on McDonalds commercials? Are we that into marketing that we have to see someone famous do something, and then we all flock to do the same? “Monkey see, monkey do,” I don’t get it anymore. We see a model, a sports player, an actor, singer, or someone we idolize and we must immediately do the same. We are putty in the medias hands and there is nothing that we can do, we have played so far into their hands that we are now incapably of escaping. Ethos, Pathos, and Logos are changing our world. Making it worse, making it better who knows.
    Although I understand that the things some industries sell me are bad, I still understand that I too am caught in the web of many industries. I cannot count the times I have been watching television and a McDonalds commercial comes on and all of a sudden I want a burger very badly, but what can you do? We are too caught in the appearance of commercials and advertisements.

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  4. I feel like the primary aim of both of the NBA commercials was to capitalize on the popular culture of the time. This would be especially aimed at fans of the NBA itself who understand and follow its culture and respect its big name stars. I can tell you as an NBA fan myself that back in the 90's was a time when Michael Jordan and Larry Bird were at the height of their popularity and were living legends in their sport. In other words, they were perfect subjects for an endorsement because so many people revered and respected them. They were an embodiment of the ethos of popular culture.

    But like any subject of popular culture, times change and new things become popular. This is why McDonald's remade the commercial with two new stars, Lebron James and Dwight Howard (and why Larry Bird had a cameo, the joke being that neither one of them knew who he was). In this way, the commercial speaks to both the younger crowd, who are fans of the new stars, as well as older fans who remember Bird as being an NBA legend and therefore vastly superior in his prime to either of the two new stars. It is the goal of advertisements to appeal to as large an audience as possible, so more people will think of their product alongside jokes or gimmicks like these and think of them the next time they need to buy food.

    Of course, that is not the only type of ethos out there, as the next two McDonald's commercials show. Ethos can be used and applied to just about any audience out there. A common way of doing this is capitalizing on the tactic of sexualizing the product, something which is normally targeted at younger, hormonal audiences which respond strongly to sex. All advertising really needs to do is make you remember after you've seen it and there are few things more memorable than a sexy girl (or guy) flaunting themselves with your company name on their sleeve.

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  6. I believe that McDonalds uses their methods of ethos by finding a common ground with audiences that don't immediately connect to their brand or product. In the case with the advertisment directed to the Japan audience, they had to use an element that is popular among the youth in Japan. In this case Japan uses the elements of fashion using models as a common ground, to connect to people within the fashion industry.

    With the Lebron James and the Dwight advertisment, McDonalds was using them as a common factor to connect to NBA fans, and by showing LeBron and Dwight competting for a big Mac, makes their brand more appealing. My theory as to why they remade the original Michael Jordan Ad, was to maintain the continuity with connecting with fans of the times of MJ and to connect with current finatics drawn to LeBron James and Dwight Howard. They wanted to use the same element of pursasion that MJ had to his audience and have LeBron and Dwight as a common ground to connect within their fan base.

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  7. I think that Mcdonalds likes to use people with a positive influence on people such as Lebron James, Dwight Howard, and Michael Jordan. By using Lebron and Dwight, the commercial wants to persuade NBA fans and kids who watch basketball all around the world. I think that using athletes in their commercials is more appealing to people to see them in advertisements and has an influence to the audience.

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  8. McDonalds is great at using ethos by using the most popular athletes in the United States to advertise their products. Having LeBron James and Dwight Howard advertising in Japan would be weird to the people living there and seeing the Japanese version of advertising would be weird to us in the US. All of the big companies are really good at using ethos and these commercials set the standard.

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  9. I believe Mcdonalds uses the best athletes in the world in their commercial because the corporation knows those athletes have thousands of fans that will be inspired to follow their actions. Mcdonalds wants to show the world that even the healthiest athletes enjoy their food. the use of ethos connects mcdonlds and the audience together; moreoever, more people will purchase their product as they create a bigger fanbase.

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  10. I think Micky Ds used LBJ and D12 because at the time they were the most popular players. LBJ is said to be the best player since MJ and using LBJ for a commercial connects his fans and even just NBA fans to McDonalds. Usually i dont care for McDonalds commercials but when i saw that LBJ and D12 were in it i automatically became interested in what was being advertised. Using the best know people draws attention into commercials. even the most athletic and healthiest people can cut loose and enjoy a Big Mac or fast food in general.

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  11. they use ethos in this commercial by showing michael jordan who is known by everyone in the world. they use his credebility to influence their viewers.

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  12. McDonalds. It is worldwide, popular, beloved and hated and spends the most amount of money on advertising. Not only do they spend lots of money, they also make loads of money. And one of their fancy lil ways of making all that money is by using ethical appeals in their advertisements.McDonalds targets all kinds of people. From little kids, to teenagers to adults. By attracting these people they use celebrities, people who are of high authority. These celebrities or famous athletes compete one another for a Big Mac or cartoon characters such as Shrek to appeal to young children. These advertisements shows the audience that even famous people eat the kind of food that the average joe would eat and that these people can be "cool" and "fun" and "athletic" just like the celebrities in the commercials. But this is false advertisement. They are attracting people showing how they can be cool, fit and athletic while McDonald foods is prone to weight gain and medical issues such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. McDonalds is one of the most controversial food chains. Their unhealthy food has caused many controversies, yet they spend billions on advertising and people still continue to buy their products. It goes to show how ethical appeal affects the average day to day individual from young kids, to adults of all ages.

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  13. McDonalds is a worldwide restaurant whom persuade billions of people to buy their products by spending lots of money on advertising. In their advertisements they engage the youngest of kid to adults by appealing to ethos, as shown in the advertisements, pathos, or logos. Successfully appealing to their audiences of all ages they continue to make billions of of their continuously growing empire.

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  14. One thing that I was thinking about throughout the two basketball videos was the fact that it was a McDonald's commercial. Fast food isn't typically the healthiest meal for athletes, so it's a bit ironic in my opinion. Similarly, McDonald's is a proud sponsor of the Olympics, as if they have something else to offer other than obesity and lethargy, the total opposite of the Olympics.

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  15. Those commercials used ethos in different ways, but I felt using ethos on television is now very general things. Watching recent commercials from Samsung or Apple, we can see commercials are changing now. Of course many companies still like to use ethos in commercials, but they aren't focusing on ethos anymore. Currently, commercials are focusing on creativity. Combining ethos and creativity, recent commercials are ideal, and touch viewers' minds.

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  16. the Mcdonalds commercials appeal a lot to ethos because of the basketball stars they use in the ad. they make it seem as if they eat Mcdonalds and you eat Mcdonalds then you will be just like them. They are making incredible shots trying to win the burger. They are appealing to the younger audience because they are new basketball stars and everyone knows who Lebron and Dwight Howard are. The Japaneese commercials are completely different from the american commercials. They dont have anything to do with sports and they mostly just appeal to a singal gender with the style and fashion that they use in Japan.

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  17. A healthy lifestyle is something that is more important in this day and age. More restaurants are creating healthier menus, and even fast food restaurants are serving salad and have menus showing the amount of calories their food has. Back then, health wasn't so important to the public so it would make sense that athletes like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird would help advertise it. What doesn't make sense to me is that athletes still advertise fast food, especially the incredibly athletic freak of nature, Lebron James. Teens and children look up to these athletes, but I guess making money is more important than sending out the right message.

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  18. Mcdonald's uses athletes to promote their products, just like many major companies. Lebron was used in the remake, because he is currently the best basketball player in the world and is constantly being compared to Michael Jordan. Every kid wants to be like MJ or LBJ, and since they have mcdonalds, then kids think if they have mcdonalds they will be like their favorite athlete. Although these statements are in no way true, these iconic figures give the commercials the ethos.

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  19. McDonald’s remade the famous Bird versus Jordan “The Showdown” commercial with LeBron James and Dwight Howard because they were trying to appeal to basketball fans today and younger fans (kids). Plus McDonalds had such a great success with the commercial years before, remaking the commercial had little creativity involved. The McDonalds commercial in Japan uses a different type of ethos, sex appeal. They try and making you want to eat their burgers because if hot skinny models both male and female just love to eat their hamburgers so why would you not love them too. I would use the basketball advertisement to appeal to the athletic younger generation. Have the advertisement air in between cartoon shows, or at the movie theaters. While the “sexy” hamburger commercial I would air in bars or restaurants because it appeals to a more adult audience than to children.

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  20. This advertisement for McDonalds is using a rhetorical appeal, ethos, which is authority. The first commercial were made to specifically target NBA fans back in the 90’s by using two NBA legends Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. To replicate the advertisement for this generation they used the current icons in the NBA LeBron James and Dwight Howard. Both commercials were made to focus on the basketball culture to help make the brand more appealing. They remade the commercial because they knew that with using the most popular athletes would inspire fans around the world. McDonalds wanted to show that even with the healthiest athletes in the world, they still enjoy eating McDonalds.

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  21. In all four commercials for McDonalds, the producers intended to use Ethos to gain credibility that McDonalds is the perfect place to eat. In the first commercial, McDonalds uses Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, two of the best basketball players in the NBA of that era, to appeal to almost every person who enjoys sports and legends. McDonalds was trying to reveal to the audience that eating a Big Mac and fries will give you the ability to shoot like MJ and the bird. In the second commercial, McDonalds uses Lebron James and Dwight Howard, two superstars from this era, to appeal to the younger audience( MJ and Bird were my parents era). Furthermore, in the second set of commercials, McDonalds intended to use the theory of sex sells to sell their food in Japan. I find it quite weird how the marketers did not use Japan actors to promote McDonalds food, however, this may be another example of how people in power are able to control what they want.

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  22. The US McDonald’s commercials appeal to the audience’s ethos by using famous basketball players. They are famous so their words are more credible. Athletes are expert in being healthy and strong, so people tends to trust the food they are advertising as healthy. The target audience of these commercials would be basketball fans and young people in general. The Japanese commercials appeal to ethos by using good-looking models. They are credible because they are in perfect shape. The targeted audience of these commercials is people who wants to look good.

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  23. The baseball commercial appeal to the audience's ethos by using famous baseball players, because they are famous, so the audiences tend to believe what they said. This make the everything in the commercial to be credible and trustworthy. As result, the viewers will easily to persuade to buy the products. Also, using famous baseball players can help the company to easily target the people who want to be like the players, which gain their trustworthy.

    Hsin Yi Tseng

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