Ethos – similar to the word ethics – is an ancient Greek word meaning character. Logos – as in logic – means word, and pathos – pathological, empathy, sociopath – means feeling or suffering. Ethos, logos and pathos are often used as elements in both literary works and persuasive arguments. Advertisers use these elements all the time to influence us. Por ejemplo…
Advertisers will try amp up your belief in their character or trustworthiness with phrases such as “the name you can trust” or “5 out of 6 people prefer Astrolube to…” As you know, they constantly attempt to remind us they are a company in good standing: “For over forty years Astrolube…” I guess I really like Astrolube. The idea is if I trust you or at least can believe that you are telling me the truth, I will be inclined to buy your product. However, oftentimes belief in the salesperson is not enough, you also need…
Pathos refers to pure, straight emotion. Advertisers try to associate positive emotions to their product whether that means indicating P Diddy drinks it (the exact reason I do not drink Ciroc – still pathos) or blasting roaring images of a roller coaster to convince you to visit Six Flags. Karl Rove used pathos effectively with the social-issue-wary, Republican party base to get George Bush elected in 2000. He sent out mailers about stem cell research, abortion, and gays to get every backwoods hick in the country to get out and vote for GW. Thank god he did too! Whew! No more gays! Now the country can move forward. Pathos involves appeals to passions, not logic. Sorry to break it to you, hickzoids, if we get rid of the gays, your problems are not going to be solved. No, no, if we get rid of the Mexicans, your problems will not be solved either. Go back to your corncob pipe and weed-growing business. Douche.
Logos treats appeals to logic, our rationality. “Look, Jim, you could stay home tonight and play Play Station and dream about women, or you could come out with me to the bar and have a real shot at getting an actual woman.” However, please note that logic must be based on correct assumptions: All women in bars are sluts. I am a slut. Therefore, I am a woman in a bar. Errrrr, where did my logic go wrong?
Whatchu telling me this for, Ryan?
Currently I am writing persuasive letters with the intention of obtaining sponsorship for our upcoming float down the Mississippi. I do not know how effective these letters will be. I did write one that was moderately successful with Sea Eagle (we have their banner on our site), but I found out some interesting things about this persuasion triple header while doing an exercise I found in an email from Michael Neill. He said that when writing a persuasive letter, you can write three versions: one with a focus on ethos, one with a focus on pathos, and one on logos. Then you write the real letter. I found my versions pretty funny, esp. the pathos one, and wanted to share them with you. Enjoy.
First let me say that your Tiger’s Milk Bars have played an important role in my life. I was raised on them. My mother was a health food fanatic during my entire infancy, childhood and adolescence. I actually did not know what a Snickers bar was until about the age of 6. I am writing you today to ask for an endorsement, either in cash or in product, for an upcoming event of which my company and I will be a part.
We are a film company. We specialize in adventure films aimed at creating a sense of wonder, joy and awe in the audience. To watch a trailer of our latest feature please visit www.hitchhikingmovie.com. Our company’s name is 11 Visions. We are a new company and started out of a love of adventure, exploration and filmmaking. Please allow me to state clearly how you may help us and how we might help you.
We have two upcoming films: Two Miles an Hour: Life at the Speed of the Mississippi and The Channel. Two Miles an Hour is a documentary cataloguing our float down the entire length of the Mississippi River. We will be embarking on this journey in May of this year and expect to complete the trip within three months. Nutrition will be of vital importance while on the River especially since we will not be using any machinery to propel us forward but will be paddling in kayaks. I’m sure you can appreciate the physical demands this will place on us day in and day out. The Channel is a documentary slated to premiere in August of 2010. This film will document my journey from beginner to skilled swimmer as I prepare for my solo crossing of the English Channel in July of 2010. I will be training for this crossing in the River and, needless to say, will be burning a tremendous amount of calories. The quality of my nutrition is of paramount importance, and we are searching for a company willing to donate both product, and if willing, cash to the endeavor.
I believe in your company. You were the first company I envisioned when I turned to my partner and stated, “We need to take tons of nutrition bars with us on the River!” (little bit of pathos, sorry) Due to the fact that I believe wholeheartedly in your product and the fact that you played such an important role in my raising and healthy state as a child, I would like you to be the first ones we have the pleasure of asking for sponsorship. We can offer you banner ads on our sites, embedded marketing of your product in our real-time web videos that will be aired as we travel down the Mississippi, and featured product placement in our feature film which will premiere August of this year. We would also like to offer you a free ad at the beginning of said film.
Kayaking and swimming will place tremendous demands on my partner’s and my body, and with nutritional supplementation by Tiger’s Milk, we stand a good chance to succeed.
Please consider this opportunity; I would sincerely appreciate a reply.
First let me say that your Tiger’s Milk Bars are the bomb. My mom raised me on this shit! It’s fucking great! I love you guys and I hope you love me! Here’s the deal. I will be swimming down the motherfucking Mississippi River. Oh my fucking god, you’ve gotta check this out. Okay so my friend and I are crazy mofos and I want to say how good your bars taste. They are fucking great. My mom wouldn’t even let me eat a Snickers bar for like fucking ever! So anyway I want you guys to give us some cash, yo!
Here’s why: I am going to be making two films. One is called Two Miles an Hour: Life at the Speed of the Mississippi and the other fucking great movie that you’re gonna love if you have a nutsack is called The Channel. In the Channel one, I swim the English Channel and in the Mississippi one, I swim the Mississippi. My friend’s gonna be on a raft so don’t worry, I won’t drown or nothing : )))))). Yeah! So anyways I was wondering if you would like to be our sponsors. Check this shit out: You will be able to put a big fat motherfucking banner right on our site. It will say that Tiger’s Milk is the best motherfucking sponsor in the world. It will say that you guys support what we’re doing: adventure and shit. It will say that “hey I’m a crazy mofo who likes to sponsor shit and give away shit and we’re giving shit to these guys cuz they’re crazy mofos too! Crazy, yes, no?
So look. You guys will be able to advertise on our site. You will be able to have your product embedded in our web videos, our movie, etc. etc. It’ll be fucking great. All I want in return is some mooooolah. If you can’t do mooooolah, than hook me up with some motherfucking bars so I can munch on them and not starve to death. This is so fudgeing exciting! I’m pissing my pants!
You guys need to totally sponsor us. Tiger’s Milk will be embedded into the minds of the nation. Our goal is to sell 10,000 of these hitchhiking motherfuckers, these movies, so like get on board and don’t miss the boat – pun motherfucking intended, dog!
I want you to sponsor us, you beautiful, gorgeous motherfuckers. I want you to be our sponsor because it would be fucking great and you won’t regret it.
Ryan Jeanes, DogMasterChief in Chief
Thank you for taking the time to review my letter. I am writing you today to offer you a business opportunity. We have a website dedicated to the sale of travel/adventure related films. Though our sales are low at the moment, we are projecting increased sales over the coming months as our new release The Hitchhiking Movie gains momentum. We have several promotions in place, most notably a partnering with the site digihitch.com, which has over 14,000 registered members, an excellent market for the purchase of said film.
We believe that Tiger’s Milk has an opportunity to reach and market to a similar quantity of viewers in our next feature: Two Miles an Hour: Life at the Speed of the Mississippi. Nutrition and the vital role it plays in the completion of difficult and highly physical endeavors will be the centerpiece of this film. We are aiming to give an honored and trusted nutrition company such as yours the chance to market to likeminded individuals (such as our film and website viewers) interested in the themes of training, travel, endurance and adventure. We believe that an entirely new and exciting demographic will be open to you if you pursue an agreement with us.
Our adventure down the Mississippi begins in May. We hope to strike a mutually beneficial agreement with a nutrition bar company by that time. Also, our upcoming feature, The Channel, has generated substantial buzz and we believe that its appeal to nutrition minded individuals will be even greater than Two Miles an Hour. This film will catalogue the training for my unassisted swim of the English Channel in July of 2010. I will continue to train during the while on the river, increasing not only interest but also supporting the philosophy that any athlete can train anytime, anywhere. We know that Tiger’s Milk believes in keeping athletes and laypeople alike healthy and strong, which is why we are confident a successful partnership with your business may be possible. The popularity of our site grows more and more every day as more and more people are hooked on our entertaining posts, videos, and featured films. We hope to make Tiger’s Milk the official Nutrition Bar Sponsor of Two Miles an Hour and The Channel. We are extremely excited about this opportunity and hope the prospect of your business reaching more and more potential buyers of your products is equally exciting.
We are asking specifically for cash sponsorship as well as a large supply of Tiger’s Milk Bars during the Mississippi float. I estimate that between two people, we will average as much as 6 bars a day. The maximum length of this trip will be 3 months; therefore, if you are able to provide us with 540 bars, it would be much appreciated. We also believe a cash sponsorship of 100 dollars per month is sufficient to cover promotion-related costs such as embedding your bars into our web films (we estimate as many as 50 short films to be posted before, during and after our trip, on our parent site 11visions.com; Tiger’s Milk may have access to as many as one-third of those films either via choice product placement or direct advertising). In return, we will also offer you banner ad access to our viewers, direct video promotions (you may also run a commercial on our site if you wish, and we will film it if you wish for no charge), continual mention and consumption on camera of Tiger’s Milk Bars on both web-based video and subsequent DVDs, and 3 separate live promotions in which we explicitly and enthusiastically endorse Tiger’s Milk Bars as the only bar we trust, in the place and at the time of your choosing.
Once again, we anticipate a high level of interest in this trip, and please understand that our live blogging, real time web videos, and live promotions with chosen sponsors during that time will only add to the excitement, increasing the prospect for greater sales of Tiger’s Milk products. Please note that, in addition, each and every day we will be augmenting the size of our viewing audience as our current feature The Hitchhiking Movie tours film festivals around the world.
We believe Tiger’s Milk’s newfound access to a younger, perhaps hipper, and more adventure minded demographic will increase the size of your business and contribute to Tiger’s Milk’s popularity all over the world. We believe that you are the perfect candidate for sponsorship and hope to hear from you soon.
Und das ist alles, meinen friends
I decided to go with just the logos one. I know the exercise was to combine them all into one synergistic explosion of persuasive punching power, but fuck it (pathos!). Pathos strikes again! Wait a minute – that’d make a great superhero! Yes, I did the animation you see at the beginning after typing that sentence. He was a Hebrew superhero on Wiki Commons that I11 Visions › Edit Post — WordPress converted into The Champion of Emotionally Persuasive Arguments, Pathos!!!!!!
PS – When writing sponsors, I’m going to use logos as our backbone and maybe throw a little pathos in there for flair. (No, I’m not going to use the Fs and the MFs, that was just an exercise to get my juices flowing.) Then I can insert ethos when it feels natural. We will keep you posted on what happens with sponsors. PAAAAAAATHHOOOOOOOOSSS!
Update (3/02/09): As you can see heah, we did in fact get the boats from Sea Eagle. Thanks John! Persuasive articles do work. However let me point out something for those of you wishing to do something similar. Voici I will break down how this came about: 1st, I wrote Sea Eagle and told them what I wanted to do. I go the decision maker on the first try. Sea eagle is a family owned and operated company so it was easier to maneuvre. 2nd, the main dude said he would like to give us some boats, but indicated he wanted to see our Hitchhiking Movie first. Now that I think about it, we chatted about hitchhiking first. He was drawn to our site and my email possibly since he’d done some hitchhiking. 3rd, he didn’t commit to sending the boats until after he had seen the movie. Very important: It wasn’t just the persuasive letter. There was the pathos with the direct connection we had. I also talked to him about Phillip’s positive experiences with his Sea Eagle kayak. There was logos with what I was proposing – he got that he’d use our footage and such and that we’d promote the kayak. But he didn’t commit to sending the kayaks until he got the ethos in check. The ethos was seeing the movie. Once he saw that, he knew it wasn’t a couple of tools writing for free kayaks. We continue to build ethos by continuing to promote his kayaks and implementing them into our films. I am going to apply this technique with Gregory Packs. I really want Phil to get one, they’re the bomb. I had a personal relationship with the low level sales guy. He said he’d forward my email to the Marketing Director, but no response from him. I’m a nobody, see? So the in is going to have to be sending the movie off to the low level guy, he sees it, likes it, and hopefully talks me up to Marketing Master Dog in Chief, and we’re in. You see, there are many factors here. The whole combination has to be present or your toast. It’s like the building blocks have to be in place before the person commits. Please use this info when you’re asking for anything. Everyone wants to tell you yes; they just need that right combo of ethos, pathos, and logos spun.