The Use of Logos, Ethos, Pathos, and Kairos in Nike's Ad "Find Your Greatness"

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In this ad, the sponsor has used the rhetorical triangle of logos, ethos, and pathos to pass across the message effectively, as well as Kairos to indicate the relevance of timing. Nike is a renowned and famous sportswear manufacturing multinational corporation, and it is the organization behind the ad “Find Your Greatness”, an advertisement campaign that was launched in 2012 (Crimmins).  The ad has 20 pieces of advertisements in total. Nike observed the Kairos of the ad by releasing the ad just when the London Olympics were to begin the following day.  The campaign ad starts with a jogging adolescent and is finally followed with diverse 19 video clips of athletes excelling in diverse games.  The core purpose of the ad is to persuade as many customers as possible to find meaning in purchasing the Nike sportswear. The sponsor uses ethos, a rhetorical component that appeals to the emotions and feelings of the target audience. Indeed, while watching the ad on “Find Your Greatness”, the degree of persuasion is exceptional, and the positive message plus the attractive videos showing people from diverse races, different age groups, and in various games participating happily wins the viewers` emotions to desire to be part of the process.  By creating an all-inclusive mood for greatness, the sponsor has easily achieved to challenge his viewers to not only buy the Nike products but also to do so with a compelling mood of wanting to make the buyers` lives better. Logos is a rhetorical component which describes the relevance of information to the circumstances at hand. Consequently, the ad “Find Your Greatness” has linked the products of Nike to different athletes, most of whom are performing their sports amidst happiness and others at the top of their emotions, stopping at nothing but to claim a win; hence the relevant link among Nike`s products, sports, and greatness (Crimmins)  . Pathos, a rhetorical component which implies the appeal to cultural diversity and traditional differences has been used in the ad “Find Your Greatness” by Nike, in order to create an atmosphere of belonging and universality. Indeed, the emotional voice in the ad serves to speak to the mind of the viewer and relate to the viewer despite their weight, race, sports, the degree of success, or level of enthusiasm with athletics. The primary reason is to make greatness a familiar thing with anyone and hence create a perception that even children or the novice in games can share in greatness without any form of social exclusion.

The use of visual art has been effectively achieved in the ad “Find Your Greatness”. The amorphous figure behind the camera is seen at first, and as it approaches the camera the viewer realizes a young obese man superimposed against the blue sky. Sky blue is a color used to symbolize large water bodies like seas and oceans. The ocean water has all ingredients, including; minerals, salt, vitamins, and other aesthetic values. Therefore, the sponsor begins by alerting the mind of the viewers that this ad has all that the viewer needs. Finally, when footsteps of the young man begin to be heard and his all image is seen in the camera, the voice in the ad begins, emotionally talking about greatness, and how everyone is meant to be great. Eventually, the obese young man passes, and the viewer relates that greatness is found in everyone; as even obese people can become excellent athletes. The ad brings forth the words “Find Your Greatness” and then followed with the logo of Nike, hence reinforcing the point that with the products of Nike greatness is inevitable.  Furthermore, the camera is at the same vertical view of the cameraman, the obese young man, and the viewer, hence it serves to bring all parties on a common comparable platform. The insecurities in the viewer are soon eliminated, and the sponsor can relate to his audience. In the ad, the many characters that have appeared in their different games, presenting in varying ages, race, sports, and emotions; have unanimously served to achieve the success of the ad, in relation to what Nike sportswear stands for and how greatness is universal. The term greatness is the last to be written on the ad, and it was the first to be mentioned by the sponsor, hence emphasizing the essence of everyone being part of success.

Indeed, just as the ad seeks to champion the diversity of greatness, so is the measure of success. Success is a term that derives confounding meaning among different people and in varied cultural dimensions.   Therefore, there is no conventional or prescribed definition of what success means.  As such, there is no universal definition of success, because a single definition cannot suit all people. Indeed, while some people are focused on having a lot of money to measure their success, others have targeted certain thresholds of prosperity or fame, to call themselves successful (Crimmins). Typically, the differences between prosperity and accomplishments create a better platform to realize the multifaceted meanings of the term success.  It is only until one learns to distinguish between the terms hitherto, does success becomes a measurable goal, relative to every respective person. In some cultures, success is measured by capitalist behavior, whereby people amass wealth, own homes and vehicles to be recognized as successful. On the contrary, in some cultures, having a happy life with family members, good health, and basic needs like shelter, food, clothing, and healthcare defines what success is. Among other communities, however, having a polygamous family setting, many heads of cattle, and rising to the level of communal leadership defines what success means in its absolute taste and feel.

For an individual to attain success in life, depending on what their personal definition of success means, first one has to realize, recognize, and embrace the specific steps of achieving that very success.  In most societies, the conventional meaning of success entails having an education to the highest level and perhaps owning several degrees, many classic vehicles, a lot of money, and beautiful mansions (Zener 19). However, the real definition of success in every individual`s mind is hardly related to the tangible material as the traditions, beliefs, and culture of the society seems to paint a blanket picture (Thomas 44). Success is, therefore, more of a happy life, a satisfactory life, and a more improved form of life people lead because of the efforts of one's efforts; who would then be described as sacksful, contrary to the ownership of many expensive material things in life. Furthermore, tens of hundreds of trophies people earn in life could be their individual measure of success, however, before one gets to that level, first he or she must appreciate their short and long-term goals that would create a platform for them to soar to such heights of achievement (Field 19). Therefore, an assumption build by the society and mainstream media about success is misleading, as success, in reality, does not mean having the money or expensive tangible things.  In fact, making life happier and turning the world into a better place would be the highest degree of measure for success.

Because people do not understand the meaning of success, or because they are blindfolded by the perception of society and the broader picture painted by the media about success, most end up being failures in life. The inability to meet one's long term and short term targets are results to failure (Zener 19). On the contrary, as opposed to the conventional perception about success, which is misleading; wealthy people, those with homes, expensive cars, and fortune companies have ended up committing suicide, or completely lacking happiness in their lives, because to them success means something different to them; hence they are termed as failures, contrary to cultural beliefs  (Bierer and Chen 452).  Consequently, qualities in life like happiness, good relationships, healthy marriages, and happy families define success more than money and wealth. However, the presence of money and wealth in life is a positive occurrence to measure success, only if and when the individual realizes that such is the measure and taste of their success. Therefore, for one to attain success, they should first realize what success to them means, set their goals, monitor their short and long-term goals in relation to their mission and vision statements, as well as realize that success is the sum of step by step accomplishments in daily life.

Critically, every individual is born to do a different thing in their lives, and in such uniqueness, everyone was destined to realize the epitome of success. While up to 99 percent of the human population is born with abilities to make success in life real, a majority of these people never live to know their abilities because the society they were born into, the environment that shapes their life, or other compromising and confounding circumstances (Thomas 44). Those born in poor families end up not realizing who they were meant to be, because of the struggle for basic needs like education, food, shelter, and healthcare, which eventually deny them happiness. Indeed, a person would finally end up as a failure because of the time in which they were born, and in the family that they were raised.  Therefore, as much as everyone would desire to be successful, there are many setbacks in life that normally deny people such a universal feeling (Terris 119). On the contrary, because of cultural and family background diversity, there are people born in the right families, at the right time, and raised in a desirable environment. Such people end up easily realizing their dreams in life, gaining happiness, and hence achieving the social status of what they call success.

Because the world and the global society has shaped human life into a conventional way of doing things, equal chances occur at the same time in everyone’s life, yet such chances are limited, hence compelling people to become failures (Bierer and Chen 452). The term failure in this context means the lack of the individual’s ability to secure a chance in conventional life, as opposed to what a person could do independently and uniquely without the influence of the society, and finally, achieve what they would then call success. Consequently, on the one hand, the society and diversity in culture make people successful, while the same platform forces failure on others (Shinn 56).  On the other, some people have been born in poor families but they ended up successful. Furthermore, some people were born with physical disabilities and they went against all odds to achieve success. However, such are just isolated cases among the tens of hundreds of millions of people who have missed success by design in life.

Many people have been affected negatively by the school environment, which did not give them a chance to do what they loved and would do best in their lives to achieve their success. On the one hand, schools teach critical traits which enable people to fit in society, as well as to instill discipline in learners. On the other, schools cannot teach learners how to dream or achieve their unique God-given dreams in life.  Furthermore, parents and society strive to shape children into what they deem right for those kids, without necessarily thinking that everyone was born different and that every individual person has his or her unique abilities to achieve success in life. While some people are practicing law or medicine now, they were never meant to be, but they were forcefully shaped to practice such careers for example. On the contrary, one might have been born to be an explorer, and tour all parts of the world. To such an individual, travelling would mean success, and becoming an engineer could as well mean failure. Therefore, success is real and many people have achieved success, but the society, cultural traditions, and other social variations deny a majority of the human population the opportunity to realize their success.

Works Cited

Bierer, and Chen. “How to Measure Success the Impact of Scholarly Concentrations on Students--a Literature Review.” 2010: 1–562. Web.

Crimmins, Tom. "Nike: Find Your Greatness."YouTube, Nike, 17 Aug. 2012,

Field, Walter Taylor. What Is Success - Walter Taylor Field - Google Books. Pilgrim Press, 1910 Original from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2012. Web.

Shinn, Florence Scovel. The Secret Door to Success - Florence Scovel Shinn - Google Books. FV Éditions, 2016 ISBN 9791029902611, 2016. Web.

Terris, Ray. What Is Success Vital Lessons That You Were Not Taught in School - Ray Terris - Google Books. Expert Author Publishing, 2011 ISBN 098316987X, 9780983169871, 2011. Web.

Thomas, Todd. What Is Success How to Be Successful God’s Way - Todd Thomas - Google Books. Speech Productions, Incorporated, 2009 ISBN 0982547900, 9780982547908, 2009. Web.

Zener, Clarence. “Statistical Theories of Success.” 2014: 18–24. Web.

November 24, 2023



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