Marketers are always testing new ways to promote their brands by implementing different advertising techniques. While trial and error may work for some people. It’s best to trust the experts when it comes to using the most persuasive advertising techniques.

There are a few different marketing strategies laid out by advertising experts. In this article, we’ll take a look at a few of the most popular ones, including Dr. BJ Fogg’s persuasive technology tools, and the concept of Aristotle’s Rhetorical Triangle. How it applies to advertising, as well as other common persuasive advertising techniques.

Keep reading to learn more about how you can make your campaigns more effective and convert more clients into sales using the right advertising methods.

old print advertising

Fogg’s Persuasive Technology Tools

Dr. BJ Fogg is the founder of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University. He conducts research and provides industry leaders. With ways in which his models and methods can be used to understand consumer behavior.

In Fogg’s book, Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do, he outlines seven persuasive technology tools. He argues that people respond to computers as if they are people. Therefore, he claims that interactions with computers and media can have an effect on someone’s behavior and attitude. 

His seven persuasive technologies outline ways in which computers can be used to create more persuasive advertising. Here are the seven steps as well as examples of how each can be used in traditional marketing.

Black and White Dartboard

1. Reduction

Description: Simplifying a procedure by reducing the number of steps to finish a task. This encourages users to actually complete the desired task.

Example: Reducing the number of steps and clicks a client goes through on your website from seeing an item to completing payment and placing an order.

2. Tunneling

Description: Leading users through a sequence of activities with step-by-step instructions.

Example: A walk-through on your website with on-page or pop-up instructions on how to complete basic tasks when a client logs in to their account or uses a new feature for the first time. 


3. Tailoring

Description: Using computers to analyze and segment messages to different people, leading to users receiving messaging that is more personally relevant.

Example: Segmenting your mailing list based on age, sex, location, or previous purchases to create emails that are more individually relevant.

4. Suggestion

Description: Making suggestions based on individual behavior that is presented at the right time and in the most opportune context.

Example: Sending an email of an item your client looked at on your website but didn’t buy, with a suggestion to purchase the item before it sells out. 

5. Self-Monitoring

Description: Allowing users to receive feedback on their behavior in order to make changes that will affect the ultimate goal.

Example: Sending a follow-up email to see if a client was happy with their purchase and asking for feedback so that you can suggest more relevant items in the future.

6. Surveillance

Description: Openly observing a user with the intention of learning more about their behavior.

Example: Letting shoppers on your website know that you use cookies and then using this tracking data to analyze your shoppers’ individual behaviors.

7. Conditioning

Description: Providing reinforcement to a user in order to achieve the desired behavior.

Example: Offering a discount code in order to convince a shopper to complete a purchase.

When looked at individually, each step can seem obvious to experienced marketers, but as a whole, they work as effective persuasive advertising techniques. When using the seven tools together, you can create a lot more successful campaigns that result in increased sales and conversions.

The Rhetorical Triangle: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

Aristotle famously broke down how rhetoric is used in arguments into three categories: ethos, pathos, and logos. 

Each category appeals to different behavior in both a speaker and the audience. Ethos appeals to ethics, pathos to emotions, and logos to logic. Combined, this rhetorical triangle is often used in modern advertising to create compelling and persuasive campaigns that hook an audience.

rhetoric triangle

Let’s take a closer look at each branch of the rhetorical triangle so we can gain a better understanding of how they’re used.


In order to evoke ethos in advertising, you need to establish a baseline of trust and credibility. Since ethos refers to ethics and credibility, when it comes to advertising, look at it as the way in which you present your brand to the world. What makes your brand more trustworthy than your competitor?

You need to come across as an ethical company but also a reliable company. That way, consumers get the feeling that your brand can be trusted.

Oftentimes, advertisers achieve this by using a recognizable spokesperson, like a celebrity. For example, SodaStream used Scarlett Johansen in one of their ads. If someone watching this ad hasn’t heard of SodaStream before, now they’ve learned about a new brand and respect its credibility since a recognizable celebrity is working with them.

Not only does SodaStream establish credibility by featuring Scarlett Johansen, but they also talk about personal health and the environment by talking about how their product uses “less sugar [and] fewer bottles.” This works to create a sense of brand ethics that will resonate with an audience.


Pathos is another persuasive technique that plays on the audience’s emotions. By playing up emotional elements in ads, such as nostalgic moments, connections, or personal experiences, advertisers aim to tap into people’s emotions in order to attract them to a brand.

The goal of playing into emotion is to elicit a response in the consumer, and when it comes to advertising, that desired response is often a conversion or a purchase. Companies achieve this by choosing their words wisely and using highly emotive language. They also do this by telling relatable stories in ads. 

Joy, humor, tragedy, family, outrage, fear, and love are just some of the emotional topics advertisers use to convey pathos. 

A great example of pathos can be found in many anti-smoking ads and campaigns. Advertisers for this cause tend to highlight emotions like fear and tragedy by playing up the negative effects of smoking, making the ads highly impactful.


When using logos in an advertisement, brands aim to promote logic and reasoning in order to get their message across. To accomplish this, advertisers will often use facts, statistics, or data to prove their case.

Logos are often used in ads for technology products or companies when they need to promote a new launch or a new feature. In this case, using logos aims to answer the “why” an audience might ask when faced with a product, such as “why do I need this?” By framing the answer in logic and facts, you provide consumers with a compelling reason as to why they should purchase your product.

Let’s take a look at a Verizon ad. Here, Verizon uses rankings and data to show why their network is better than their competitors. 

This advertisement puts the “why” front and center by opening the commercial with the statement: “why more people choose Verizon.” Throughout the rest of the ad, they answer their original statement by providing facts and stats, making them seem like the logical choice for mobile service providers.

Using Ethos, Pathos, and Logos Together

While it may be difficult to be credible, emotive, and logical all at once, you can use more than one of these strategies together in a single advertisement.

The examples above really focused on one element of Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle, but you’ll notice the following popular Nike ad that was recently released uses more than just one element.

This ad clearly uses ethos by using footage of recognizable athletes like Serena Williams, Lebron James, and Cristiano Ronaldo to cement its credibility and reliability. It also uses highly emotive language and imagery that play into our collective experience and evoke an emotional response.

When it comes to your brand’s advertising, try and use as many elements as you can to make your campaign as effective as possible. 

More Persuasive Advertising Techniques

Aside from Fogg’s and Aristotle’s techniques, there are more commonly used advertising methods that have proven to be a good way to increase sales. 

Here are a few persuasive advertising techniques you should consider using for your next campaign. Some of them can also be tied into methods from Fogg or the rhetorical triangle, but again, you can use more than one method in any advertisement.

Plain Folks

Showing ordinary people using your products in order to convey a message that your brand is friendly to everyone and isn’t “above” the average consumer. It’s common to use this type of messaging in political ads.


This method relies heavily on people’s innate desire for belonging and feeling a part of something. Bandwagon ads encourage consumers to follow a trend so as not to miss out. It’s often used by brands. To convince people not to miss out on a product by purchasing it in order to belong to a community. 

women standing in the street looking modelling
Bandwagon ad


While it seems a little counterintuitive. Anti-bandwagon ads do exactly the opposite of what bandwagon ads do in order to achieve the same goal. These ads will play up individuality and differences. In order to sell a unique product that may not yet be widely discovered.


The common marketing technique of using “bribes” to get people to buy something is an old tried-and-true method. For example, if you have a “buy one get one” sale. An ad for this promo would fall under this category. Since you’re enticing a consumer to buy something by offering them something else as well.

Logos and Slogans

Using logos and slogans regularly in ads helps define both your product and your brand and make both more recognizable. This is a key way to build up brand awareness throughout all your campaigns. Helps consumers form a personal connection with your company.

beer can logos and slogans
logos and slogans


It’s no surprise that the more people see your ads, the more likely they are to interact with your company. Therefore, repeating your ad on multiple platforms or distributing multiple similar versions of an ad. In order to increase reach is a good way to place yourself. In front of your target audience as frequently as possible.

Repetition of an add

Avante Garde

This persuasive advertising technique makes consumers feel like they will be “ahead of their time”. If they purchase something from your company. By suggesting that your users are on the cutting edge. You create a sense of urgency and a desire in consumers to stay ahead of the crowd.


Use testimonials from both real customers and recognizable figures. Such as celebrities in order to help create trustworthiness in your brand. Use customer reviews to your advantage by promoting them. Use them in your ads so your audience can see both your value and your credibility.


People love to support their own country by shopping locally. Play this up by demonstrating how your company is also patriotic. By demonstrating things like how your products or services help local communities or how they’re sourced or made locally.


There are plenty of different persuasive advertising techniques you can use to take your campaigns to the next level. Our suggestion is to try out as many as possible to see what your consumers resonate with.

It’s possible that every audience won’t resonate the same with each strategy. So, by testing multiple methods you’ll be able to find the best one that appeals to your consumers. And helps amplify your brand. 

You should also make sure that the different persuasive advertising techniques your use are aligned with your brand’s identity. Ask questions. About your brand to see the method you’d like to use. See if it aligns with your brand’s current image, values, messaging, and overall goals


  • Dr. BJ Fogg’s persuasive technology tools
  • Aristotle’s Rhetorical Triangle
  • Persuasive technology and digital design for behavior change
  • Ethos, Pathos & Logos: Definition and Examples of Persuasive Advertising Techniques