We have encountered day in day out language-using manipulators in practically all areas/sectors of life. In one particular instance, we regularly hear them over the radio and see them on TV. We read their messages on the pages of dailies and magazines, even in posters that line-up walls of public places. The Internet is full of websites that banner the captivating ideas of these thought influencers. The term we use to specifically refer to their kind of game is advertisement. This is the basic intent of an advertisement: To attract, fascinate and ultimately persuade people to dig into their pockets for the amount needed to satisfy the desire that has so far been created in their minds by the power of advertisement. This is manipulation at its most subtle and sophisticated refinement.
Nowadays, with the advancement of cybertechnology, professional advertisers have literally at the tip of their fingers all conceivable tools to come up with the best presentations of product promotion in all forms of the available media. Striking logos, snappy slogans, attention-grabbing illustrations, mellifluous jingles, eye-catching photos, among others, conspire altogether to create a powerful advertising stunt, so powerful that it can knock out analysis and reason in an instant. Using the classic Aristotelian categories of persuasion modes or artistic proofs, this is a case of how pathos (appeal to emotion) exerts a significantly tremendous edge over logos (appeal to reason) and ethos (appeal to a person’s credibility and ethical character). Manipulation of this type is so easily effected because its operators have already mastered the art of handling the general tendency of people to succumb to what their “hearts” dictate at the expense of what their “heads” would reasonably tell them.
This is humanity at its most prevalent and persistent configuration: a creature of emotions. And the modern – as well as post-modern – commercial sphere has taken advantage of this seemingly perennial reality to its extremest point, full steam ahead, so to speak. Within the warp and woof of the human fabric, the pathos reigns supreme and is deaf to the call of logos most of the time. It even has the forceful motion of a whirlwind to bypass and ignore the wisdom of the purveyors of ethos.