It’s frightening how good the world is becoming at advertising.
On one hand, it’s brilliant, ads for items we need will pop up.
And some ads, make us stop in our tracks, they make us cry, they make us laugh. It can be a beautiful thing (for anyone who hasn’t seen John Lewis Christmas Ads – it’s time well spent).
However, this sours a touch when companies use clever advertising techniques to dupe us. Our psychology can work against us in this sense, we can be persuaded into purchasing something we don’t need. For fear of missing out, or the desire to be like the airbrushed model we see before us.
Not to mention, this is put into overdrive when we are led to believe the item is ‘sustainable’.
Here’s an interesting fact for you –
During the first Earth Day in 1970, companies spent 8x more on ‘green ads’, than on implementation of environmental practices.
It’s shocking isn’t it!? With the amount of money and effort that goes into talking about sustainability, they could have been taking tangible action.
You’d have thought we could spot greenwashing a mile off, but corporations know how to make it very tricky indeed.
Let’s wise up to greenwashing, and demand more.
Spot Greenwashing Through Affective Conditioning
Advertisers will often use something called ‘affective condition’.
Affective conditioning is where a product is placed next to an image that people associate with being positive, or good.
For example, a paper company displays a young child doing homework on their paper, outside in the sunshine.
This makes us feel positive about the brand and in 9/10 times, an easy way to spot greenwashing.
Does this company have any assimilation with sunshine and grass?
Additionally, would it not be more important to consumers to showcase some useful facts. Such as showing their paper has come from trees that aren’t illegally logged. Or, doesn’t contribute to deforestation of our crucial forest eco-systems.
Making these claims whether they are backed-up or not increases profits. Unfortunately it’s as simple as that.
All we need to do now, is acknowledge it is happening. And know how to avoid ourselves being manipulated in the future.