If Aristotle Had a YouTube Channel: Greek Philosophy and Video Marketing


I can see it now.  You are in your sophomore year of college and it’s the first day of classes.  You’re asking yourself, “Why in the world did I sign up for Greek Philosophy at 8:00AM??!!”  As you sit in the back row of the lecture hall you kick yourself in the butt for sleeping past your alarm on the day you had to register for classes.  All the cool classes like The Film History of Zombies, Hip-Hop 101, and Underwater Basket Weaving were filled and you were left with Greek Philosophy.  You’re half asleep when your professor, who talks and dresses like a Harry Potter character, barges into class with his wheelie backpack and a stack of handwritten notes that look like they could have been the original drafts of the Declaration of Independence.  Professor Dumbledore, the endearing name you have now assigned to him, picks up a piece of chalk and writes one name on the board; Aristotle.  Your head makes an audible thud as you introduce it to your desk in an attempt to knock yourself out in anticipation of the boredom that will overtake your soul this semester. 

Greek philosophy may have put you to sleep in college but at Filmspire we can’t get enough of it.  Believe it not, the principles we use to shape our video work come directly from Greek philosophy and Aristotle himself.  In the next several blogs we will discuss how Greek philosophy, specifically rhetoric, is foundationally important to us and how it can be seen today in the world of video.

For today let’s focus on rhetoric.  What is rhetoric?  According to Aristotle, rhetoric is “an ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion” (Aristotle Rhetoric I.1.2, Kennedy 37).  Basically, rhetoric is the art of persuasion.  Many people can see it as arguing but it is more than that.  Arguing focuses on winning a fight but rhetoric’s focus is to have your audience adopt your position.  Your goal is to have the listener accept your position as his own.

Rhetoric involves two parties; you and your audience.  Knowing your audience is essential to persuading your audience.  Videos need to be created with a particular audience in mind to be effective in achieving a marketer’s goals.  You could be looking to increase brand awareness, customer acquisition, generate sales, or educate an audience.  All of these scenarios represent a specific audience.  Create a customer persona beforehand.  Know their age, gender, race, socio-economic status, location, level of education, interests, etc.  So before you press record on your camera, know who you want to see your video. 

Within Aristotle’s definition of rhetoric, there are three modes of persuasion:  ethos, logos, and pathos.  Each mode is vital in persuasion.  In the next several blog posts we will explore each mode and how it can be effectively used in video marketing.