An anecdote is an interesting story which is derived from real life, often funny, which serves to entertain the audience. It does not necessarily have to be based on famous people, it could be about anybody at all. Unlike fables and parables, an anecdote does not seek to convey a lesson. Likewise, unlike a short story which might involve a more complex structure, an anecdote is centered on a singular uncomplicated event.
The word anecdote comes from the Greek word anekdota, which literally means ‘unpublished memoirs’, pertaining to normal incidents within the Byzantine court. The term since then has evolved to cover short tales that are used to illustrate a point in a humorous or amusing way.
Anecdotal evidence is when anecdotes are used to support a certain claim. This is particularly useful in advertising, to reinforce a product’s good virtues. For instance, beauty products will usually employ ‘real women’ (although the authenticity of whether they’re real or actors are hard to validate) in order to sell their products. These talents will usually extol the virtues of the product, in order to convince the audience of it real life benefits.