Company Appeals

Dawn Dish Soap Saving Wildlife

A popular commercial for Dawn portrays wildlife rescue workers using Dawn dish soap to clean oil off baby ducks, penguins, and seals.  As scenes of workers soaping up baby animals caked with oil flash upon the screen, the narrator explains that the soap is “tough on grease, but gentle.”  The commercial culminates in a montage of ducks, penguins, and seals being released and running joyfully out of cages into their pristine natural habitats.  It is at this point that the narrator announces the good news that Dawn has pledged to donate $1 million to rescue efforts.

This dish soap commercial appeals to anyone who thinks baby animals are cute and oil spills are atrocious … so pretty much everybody.  Clearly, consumers like to feel as though they are making educated decisions, and by providing a very clear message of the benefits of buying Dawn dish soap (Dawn + oil spill = happy animals), Dawn provides a persuasive argument for why buying its dish soap is the environmentally responsible thing to do.  After all, who doesn’t want to help save a baby seal?  While this appeal to the morality of the consumer has proved highly effective, as Dawn made a billion dollars in revenue in 2012 from this wildlife oriented advertising campaign, it fails to adequately address the less tasteful attributes of the dish soap.  It is in this manner that the appeal to morality diverts the critical eye of the consumer, but this is not the only distracting force at work…

In addition to featuring a moral appeal, Dawn’s commercial seeks to promote a green image in which Dawn is portrayed as a compassionate participant in environmental issues.  The focus of the commercial is specifically on the measures Dawn has taken to clean up wildlife suffering from the consequences of oil spills and why Dawn dish soap is so well suited to giving greasy baby animals bubble baths.  Dawn leaves it to the audience to make the connection that if the dish soap is good for fragile baby animals, it must be good for just about anybody.  It is in this manner that Dawn effectively sidesteps the issue of having to explicitly state how its product interacts with the environment and lets the consumer connect the dots, another way in which the commercial leaves consumers of the product feeling clever and informed.

But are they informed?  The commercial is accurate in that it correctly identifies the “tough on grease, but gentle” attribute of the soap that has made it the number one choice among rescue workers cleaning up wildlife after oil spills.  But the commercial fails to identify the secret ingredient that makes Dawn dish soap so effective: petroleum, the very substance that has wreaked such havoc on wildlife, especially through oil spills.  While oil may be an effective ingredient, it also serves to perpetuate the problem: Our livelihoods are dependent on oil.  Even when oil causes unfathomable amounts of destruction to ecosystems, we still need it to clean up after itself.  Surely we must find a way to break this cycle.

Oil isn’t the only hidden ingredient in Dawn dish soap.  These commercials fail to mention that this extraordinary product contains triclosan, a preservative and antimicrobial ingredient that Environment Canada has recognized as toxic.  Triclosan has been found to be toxic to many aquatic organisms including algae, invertebrates, and amphibians, and it has also been shown to reduce growth, reproduction, and survival of animals impacted by oil spills.  It is in this manner that while Dawn dish soap may initially help wildlife emerge from oil spills squeaky clean, its presence in the water has its own unsavory implications.

While Dawn effectively portrays itself as an eco-minded company, the presence of petroleum and triclosan in its dish soap raises a serious question about the validity of Dawn’s green image.  In terms of petroleum, it is ironic at best and unprincipled at worst that Dawn is so dependent on the very substance it villainizes in its advertisements.  The same is true of Dawn’s use of triclosan: the chemical that initially saves wildlife may very well result in its destruction.  Is the use of these ingredients conducive to true environmental stewardship?  Regardless, the manipulative and patchy nature of Dawn’s advertisement calls for greater scrutiny among consumers and more transparency regarding the specifics of its product.


Dawn. “Watch How Dawn Dish Soap Helps Wildlife Rescue.” YouTube. YouTube, 17 June         2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. <>.

“Dish Soap Contains Triclosan.” EcoSavy. EcoSavy, 1 Mar. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.     <>.

Shogren, Elizabeth. “Why Dawn Is The Bird Cleaner Of Choice In Oil Spills.” NPR. NPR, 22       June 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.<>.

Critique by Caeleigh Warburton

Dawn Dish Soap


When you are shopping for household cleaners, you know that the chemicals contained in these bottles may not be the best for your health. But when you see a label containing the idea of “green,” “environmentally friendly” or even “organic,” you may choose that product over generic brands. But these “environmentally friendly” products are not so beneficial to your health or even the earth.

Often times the consumer is tricked into believing that the product they have chosen to buy is ecofriendly and you are doing your part to help save the planet. These products are frequently mislabeled with pictures of leaves and words of ecofriendly ideas in order to trick you into buying their product. According to Rebecca Greenfield, “Researchers at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society presented a study that found these ‘green’ products often contain a surprising amount of petroleum.” Any company can legally claim their product to be ecofriendly because of the lack of meaning and laws that support that kind of labeling. According to a study by Cara Bondi in Rebecca Greenfield’s article, “hand washes ranged from 28%-97%, liquid laundry detergents from 28%-94% and dishwashing liquids 43%-95%” of carbon content. Bondi later discusses, “the research also revealed that all of the products tested that are positioned in the consumer market as ‘green’ contained over 50% more plant-based carbon on average than product samples tested without such [green] positioning.” Dawn Dish soap is one of the main companies whose products contain petroleum as an ingredient.

Another claim made by these ecofriendly cleaners and Dawn Dish soap is that if you buy their product you can clean more with less. Even though using products that contain ammonia and chlorine are not good for the planet and us, they are extremely effective. But when you purchase these ecofriendly products, you are not getting the same cleanliness as you would with the chlorine and ammonia. According to Cliff Weather in an article on EcoWatch, “not all of them clean so well, which means you have to use more to get the job done and buy more plastic packaging.” So you are not entirely being ecofriendly when buying two bottles of Dawn Dish soap ecofriendly cleaner compared to one of the non-ecofriendly labeled products..

Companies such as Dawn that produce these ecofriendly products are actively targeting customers by playing on their insecurities of harming the planet, and the rhetoric of style using helpless looking animals in advertisements. They are trying to make their audience feel better about their choice in purchasing their products in hopes of doing their part to save the planet. Using nature as the backdrop and animals, such as the ad with the baby seal,  makes the customer believe that they are one hundred percent environmentally friendly. Julia Corbett discusses that nature as a backdrop “is the most common use of the natural world in advertisements. – in them, the environment per se is not for sale, but advertisers are depending on qualities and features of the non-human world to help in selling the message.” Often times these companies do not talk about how their products actually do contain harmful chemicals and are not as effective as other products. Dawn Dish soap advertises on the fact that if you buy their product, they send a bottle of their cleaner to help save the wildlife in oil spills. So they are going to clean animals in distress and covered in oil-with an oil based product.

Yes, I have to agree that using oil to clean oil drenched animals is a little crazy, but it seems as though it is an attempt to make these animals less sick. But as an activist for PETA, I know that’s not their only indiscretion with animals; their parent company, Proctor & Gamble, allows their companies under their umbrella to test their products on animals. So it’s a situation for me where I want to believe they are trying to better the environment and take steps to a healthier planet, but that may not be their motivation to sell. Overall, these animals are not in the best interest, and companies such as Dawn are merely exploiting pictures of innocent animals to sell their “ecofriendly” products to make a profit.

After doing my research on the Dawn Company and their “ecofriendly” products, I am not thrilled. It is sad that the government does not require these companies to comply to a set of rules and regulations regarding what they can and cannot label their products as. Even though they claim to be “ecofriendly” they do not always follow through, and I encourage you to do your own research on the other various products you purchase. I want you to look past the rhetoric of these advertisements by Dawn such as the one I discussed earlier and ones similar to it. In order to save the environment, you cannot rely on companies trying to make profits. You need to educate yourself on what you are purchasing. Not every company is trustworthy; some are just good at hiding the truth.

Work Cited 

“Bing.” Dawn Dish Soap Ad. Dawn. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.

Corbett, Julia B. Communicating Nature How We Create and Understand Environmental Messages. Washington, DC: Island, 2006. Print.

Greenfield, Rebecca. “Eco-Cleaning Products Might Not Be so Green After All.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 1 Apr. 2011. Web. 16 Apr. 2015. <>

Weathers, Cliff. “5 ‘Green’ Products That Aren’t As Eco-Friendly As You Thought » EcoWatch.”

EcoWatch. 13 May 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2015. <>.

Critique by Jack Vielhauer

Monsanto’s Sustainable Farming Commitment

Advertisements are thrown at us all the time, whether it be from the radio, television, magazines, or on the computer. Advertisements can either be subliminal or straight-forward. A specific type of advertisement is Greenwashing. Greenwashing uses the environment to promote a product. It is essentially the commodification of nature. Green Image advertising is one type of advertisement where corporations or environmental groups use ads to build their own green ethos. Monsanto Company has a three minute green image advertisement on their sustainable agricultural practices. Monsanto is a publicly traded American multinational chemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation. Monsanto genetically modifies seeds which is the technique of removing, modifying, or adding genes to a living organism via genetic engineering.

The advertisement begins with a soothing male voice overlaying pristine views of farmland and farmers walking along their fields and observing their crops. The ad also has giant John Deere tractors and other large harvesting machines which cater to large industrial farms. The advertisement claims that Monsanto seeds yield higher crops, use less water, and benefit future generations Monsanto’s advertisement describes their commitment to sustainable agriculture. Their definition of sustainable agriculture is farming methods that allow the production of crops and livestock without permanently damaging natural resources. Monsanto also states their “intergenerational” practices in which the land can be passed on as improved or non-depleted land. The ad also describes innovative techniques genetic engineers are working on to increase yields. The ad claims that by 2030 there will be a double in corn, soy, and cotton yields and also that this technique uses 1/3 less water and energy.

The target audience of this advertisement is farmers because of the emphasis of high yield crops, as well as the average consumer. Monsanto is aware of the increased pressure of people wanting to know how their food is grown. By producing the advertisement, it provides a pristine visual of how Americans want to believe how their food is grown. In reality, Monsanto is not very sustainable at all. Sustainability is a broad word that is overused and misused. The whole video is made up of false claims such as using 1/3 less energy and water, when in fact the use of genetically modified seeds uses more water and energy than normal seeds. The word “yields” is used seven times throughout the video, trying to persuade farmers to buy GMO seeds. The beautiful rows of crops in the ad are actually monocultures. Important information is left out about the detrimental effects monocultures have on ecosystems. According to, monocultures deplete soil and water resources. The soy, corn, and cotton crops described in the ad are all non-native species that replace water conserving plants. Not only do they use more energy and water, but they also create super weeds and pests that are becoming resistant to pesticides. Farmers that use GMO seeds are also dependent upon single harvests, leaving a lot of pressure on farmers.

Not only does the company make false claims, but it also leaves out one of the most important aspects: their right to patent seeds.  The genetic engineers shown working in the laboratories are one of the reasons why farmers have less and less control over their seeds. Monsanto has essentially patented life. A license was issued by the government granting rights to Monsanto to control new varieties of plants. These seeds are controlled by the company and cannot be seed-saved because of the way they are bred. Therefore, farmers can only use them for one year. Monsanto shows happy farmers in the fields but in reality farmers are going out of business and also committing suicide because of their company. Farmers that do not buy GMO seeds are still affected, because of wind dispersal. GMO seeds blow into non-GMO fields and oftentimes farmers are completely unaware that they are breaking the law, but because Monsanto patented the seeds, farmers can get sued for being in possession of them without permission.

Monsanto does a very good job with creating an advertisement that portrays a very broad overview of what their company entails. Crafting picturesque farm shots, happy farmers, and biotechnology scientists that are providing us with innovative technology, what could be wrong? The environmental advocacy advertisement has persuaded some farmers and consumers, but not all. According to Time Magazine, states are pushing for the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act that would prohibit any mandatory labeling of foods with bioengineering. Some countries have already banned the use of GMOs, and states such as Vermont and California are working towards banning it as well. Monsanto’s attempt at Greenwashing is not enough to stop concerned Americans.

Critique by Kaitlyn Lawrence

IBM “Tree Hugger” Commercial

IBM developed the commercial to inform their viewers and potential customers that they disassociate themselves from other companies who pretend to act green in order to appease the “hippies,” but really do so to save money. Using humor, IBM uses “green” as an attribute. IBM associates themselves with the green market, because their energy plan saves the company money, with the added benefit of being more sustainable; therefore, their ability to show their customers that IBM is aware of its spending on energy could help their overall image.

The original commercial stated that the company’s plan was to save forty percent of their $18 million energy costs. The commercial provides false information to the viewers about how much they actually spent in the year of 2008 (the year in which the commercial was released) and how much they will be able to save due to their new energy plan. According to IFC International, IBM potentially spends about $798 million on energy, yet saved only 6.1 percent of their potential cost by employees at the various offices being conscious of the energy they use on a daily basis. For instance, turning of the lights in a room when done was one of the major requests. Therefore, the company still spent close to $750 million on energy costs that year. By exaggerating the percentage they plan on saving for that year, the general public is encouraged to believe the company is more committed to energy savings than they actually are. Although, they still save more money overall than the commercial allocates, they misrepresent the company’s overall energy spending for the year.

In addition to misrepresenting the numbers, the commercial fails to provide a name of the plan it is referencing or detail its future goals on saving money for the company. Along with the figures provided by IFC International, the organization also uncovers some intriguing facts about the “new plan.” Management awards a $500 check to any employee of IBM who develops a purposeful plan that helps the company save on its energy costs. The creation of competition instills a purpose to its employees to be conscious of their energy use in the office. Management increased competition by increasing from $500 checks to 650 in 2008, giving them a more accurate estimate of their annual energy forecast.

As the marketing team invests their efforts into the content of the commercial, they used simple composition strategies to create visual attention-getters for the focused audience. The use of black and white contrasts other companies’ management as evil who question the energy plan and the idea of constructing a “green image” as a general marketing scheme. After the presenter of IBM states the economic benefits of the new plan to her manager, the implementation color, snow white music, and the cartoon animals from nature appear to seek a desirable emotional response from the audience about the “new” plan. The association of cartoon creatures and growth of wildlife shows that IBM has been environmentally conscious, although its due to financial reasons.

All the persuasion techniques of the commercial ultimately result in creating a piece of Green-Washing. Although the company states that their plan is to save the company money in addition to helping the environment, IBM uses false facts to create a “smaller company feel” to attract those who are turned off by “green advertising.” If IBM used the actual numbers, they may contradict their message, because they actually fail to meet their presented savings of forty percent. In the end, the IBM “Tree-hugger” commercial presents the “green plan” in a comical way of how many company’s use it as a marketing scheme, rather than a real commitment by the company. Although the concept plays out as a comedy, viewers must be aware of the actual figures that the company presents for their energy spending for a fiscal year.

For more information on IBM’s Energy policy see:

Critique by Alexander Durocher

Geico’s Sustainable Commitment


Did you know that “you could save 15% or more on car insurance?” If you have watched TV, chances are you did. And when you think of a talking gecko or a stack of cash with googly eyes, I bet insurance comes to mind. These are just a few examples of many exemplifying Geico’s multi-brand approach to advertising. Adding to its’ already extensive list of campaigns (at least in the world of marketing), the company introduces yet another narrative to associate with buying insurance. Because talking reptiles, cavemen, or rhetorical questions were obviously not enough, Geico have outdone themselves again with another catchy hook to sell insurance. With their new campaign “It’s what you do,” it is presumed that choosing this insurance is the right, natural, or inevitable way to save money on your insurance. There are a variety of ads released within this campaign, but to grasp a better understanding of the company’s stand on environmentalism, I will be critically analyzing the commercial titled “Free Range.” To further analyze the company’s overall “green” identity, I will briefly be looking into the company’s efforts to help the environment.

To start off, I will be talking about the advertisement. The audience of the ad is not clear, and there does not seem to be any specific group that the commercial is pursuing. However, individuals of the audience would need to have access to television or internet to view the commercial. What product is being sold is not actually stated until final few seconds of the commercial clip. Even though I have no intention of buying the product, I admit that I found the commercial to be humorous and memorable.

In the ad, a chicken is filmed traveling to several different places, riding in a truck and even taking selfies. The commercial ends with a male voice saying “If you’re a free range chicken, you roam free. It’s what you do.” And of course, he goes on to end the commercial saying “If you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to Geico. It’s what you do.” I consider this commercial to be an example of green washing. The defines green washing to be “when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be ‘green’ through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact.” The environment is presented as a backdrop for the product or service of car insurance. The environment is shown in the background, and there is no direct discussion about the two being related therefore it stands highly irrelevant. describes this type of conclusion, where there is no connection with the previous stated premises, as the non-sequitur fallacy.

Although nature is a backdrop to the product being sold, Geico does a great job integrating an overall positive environmental message into the commercial. A common depiction of nature seen in advertisements is nature as “out there,” separate or distant from humans and their everyday lives. Geico refutes this dualistic vision of nature in the commercial by demonstrating several moments of the two co-existing in the same space. The chicken is traveling through cultural spaces that typically belong to humans (a restaurant, a truck, etc.) and possess human attributes such as taking pictures. You also see humans take up spaces traditionally utilized by wildlife. For example, there is a scene where the chicken is sitting amongst a group of people at a bonfire in the woods.

For a company that relies on nature for part of its profit, I question their environmental values. Just as every business, the goal is to promote consumerism. They endorse things a person would need in preparation for or recovery from a natural disaster, or tragedy such as advanced building materials/technologies, but do little to prevent the disaster itself. states that most insurance companies, including Geico, only recently started thinking about ways to prevent environmental issues such as climate change. With a new green initiative, Geico showed effort in reducing their carbon footprint. More efforts to recycle, reduce waste and save energy in the offices of Geico have been made and is stated on as an example of how they are becoming a greener company. However, statements listed on their website such as “continuing to seek better ways to eliminate waste and improve efficiency in our offices” is vague and tells me little about what is actually being done. They also implemented the paperless billing system to reduce the amount of paper waste. Taking it a step further, there is even a list of things on the website stating what customers can do to conserve energy and reduce waste! Some evidence I found supporting their claims include an award of excellence in safety and environmental awareness presented by S/P2 in January.  Some other awards include Outstanding Achievement in Recycling Award, and the Maryland Green Registry & Clean Air Partners Clean Commute Award. From what I can tell, the company has made sufficient efforts to help the environment and promote a positive image of the environment.


Critique by Jasmin Coates

Chevy’s Spaceship Earth

As people have become more aware of the world’s depleting store of fossil fuels, and as the environmental movement has become more commonly accepted, the environment seems to have become a popular tool used in advertising.  Even those who ignore the environmental movement cannot seem to resist the draw of nature in advertising.  This is only natural of course, people come from nature and whether or not they like to admit it, they are all still part of nature.  As all people have a connection to nature, it is an easy product for advertisers to exploit and take advantage of this relationship.  This can be seen in Chevrolet’s spaceship earth TV commercial, where people’s connection to earth is used to convince the public to purchase Chevy’s new electric car.  This commercial, like many others, uses green product attributes to incorrectly represent merchandise in order to generate consumers.

This commercial does a very nice job drawing in consumers.  The advertisement is without a doubt directed at those who are environmentally conscious, saying that Chevy will invest in renewable energy and help reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Furthermore, it also successfully connects the commercial to the rest of society, and it does this by directly connecting its product to people.  The commercial refers to earth as spaceship earth, our home.  By buying their product, people are protecting their home.  Not only this, but the commercial brings in children by talking about how people borrow the planet from their children.  So by destroying it, people are taking the world from their family.  It is not to say that these representations of earth are correct, they are definitely idealized, but representing the world in such a way does a good job drawing in consumers.

However, the problem with an idealized representation of the earth is that it creates consumerism where it is not needed.  The commercial is suggesting that it is a person’s job to protect their home, the planet.  While their car might have many years left in it, this commercial is saying that it is a person’s duty to switch to Chevy’s electric car.  So this could actually create more consumerism than normally would be present.  While buying an electric car might help to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, if doing this involves getting rid of another car, then it becomes hard to determine whether or not such a switch is really helping to protect the planet.

This also brings into question the sustainability of Chevy’s electric car itself.  They suggest that this electric car is the way people should be helping to clean up the atmosphere.  But is it really?  By saying that people should by this product, the advertisement is neglecting the fact that maybe this is not the solution.  The commercial suggests that it is the consumer’s job and responsibility to buy more sustainable products.  Well what about the producer?  Is it not the producer’s job to make sure that all of their vehicles are modified so that they run more efficiently?  This commercial suggests that it is entirely the consumers responsibility to protect the planet and that they can do this by buying Chevy’s product.

With such a solution, consumption is neglected.  This commercial leaves out the fact that maybe instead of focusing on buying more efficient products, people should be consuming less fossil fuels by driving less.  And the consumer cannot be sure that buying an electric car will consume less fossil fuels.  Fossil fuels are still burned to extract the materials and put together the car.  Yes, the car is run on electricity, but often electricity is produced by the burning of fossil fuels.  This commercial seems to neglect some key details about their product.

The real example of green washing with green product attributes in this commercial is the advertisement’s claim that by buying their car, Chevy will invest in nonrenewable energy, energy efficiency, and tree planting programs.  This could mean anything.  While it could mean that this company invests billions in nonrenewable energy, energy efficiency and tree planting programs, it could also mean that they donate a penny per car sold.  The fact that the amount of money Chevy will donate per car sold was not included seems to imply that it will not be a significant amount.

While Chevy’s commercial may seem to be quite deceptive, it is right in line with other commercials of this age.  This commercial, like many others, incorrectly represents a product in order to generate consumers.  This seems to be a necessary side effect of business.  In order to generate money, a company must have a consumer.  But Chevy’s commercial is not all bad.  It is able to successfully show people why they should purchase environmentally friendly products, as the impact of such a purchase will benefit each person on this planet individually.

Critique by Jamie Oriol

NBA’s Green Image

As the term environmentally friendly becomes more and more popular we see a steady increase towards green advertisements. Majority of these advertisements use green washing, which by definition means to deceptively use and promote the perception that an organization or an organizations product aims to be environmentally friendly. Many ads and green marketers use specific ploys in order to deceive their audience to believe their business or product is indeed for the environment. Some of these ploys include having nature as a backdrop; having green attributes, green images to brand organization as green, and environmental advocacy discussing policy. Specifically, looking at the National Basketball Association (NBA), they too use this green marketing ploy to promote the NBA as environmentally friendly and community driven. Both the NBA’s green commercial and its green logo illuminate specific ploys that needs to be discussed.

To begin with, one must ask are the claims in which the advertisement is discussing factual and if so are the product natural, organic and humane? Through NBA Green, the NBA has partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Green Sports Alliance to generate awareness and funds for protecting the environment. The NBA is taking steps to be more environmentally friendly and with their green campaign and commercials they pinpoint some facts while also omitting some key information. The NBAGreen commercial identifies the NBA as a caring and communal organization. The commercial begins with one of the popular rookies of the NBA stating, “being green starts with a healthy lifestyle.” This statement for the most part if factual and accurate given some people may have different opinions on what is a healthy lifestyle. The commercial goes on to proclaim that with recycling, shutting off unused electricity, and something as simple as riding a bike can benefit the world around us. The NBA green commercial in its entirety is rooted in the ideology that little things add up and the notion that playing in a garden or cleaning up a park, even though those are small acts they make huge impacts on our world.

Additionally, both the green commercial and the green logo of the NBA target basketball fans worldwide about the importance of environmental protection. The NBA’s message for these basketball fans is to show the NBA’s commitment to reduce its ecological impact and to help educate how important our environment is. Throughout the commercial the advertisement includes children, parents and equally as important NBA athletes as their environmentally conscious community.

Throughout the green campaign some important information was being with held from their target audience. Including where exactly do these NBA players go to aid in communal rebuilding or cleaning, what exact practices are being done to produce the outcome the campaign is aiming for and how much does this cost the NBA and the citizens that are being helped. In its entirety the green campaign commercial illustrates nature as a backdrop and has both green attributes and image. Specifically, the NBAGreen logo induces this green attribute as well as a green image of the NBA crest in green with a recycling arrow circling the ball. This feature in the campaign is a very intricate ploy to associate the NBA with being fully indulged in the green movement.

Moreover, the commercial does not necessarily encourage consumerism but encourages volunteer work with an overarching message of The NBA taking steps to be more environmentally friendly, with the continued exploration of ways to reduce its impacts on the environment through community outreach programs, awareness and greening its operations.

To conclude, the campaign shapes and depicts the relationship between humans as friendly, caring, and helpful and that relationship between humans and non-human environment as a cohesive union that works hand in hand with taking care of each other. It’s the notion that all human beings leave an impression on the environment as well as the environment leaving a lasting impression on us. Dwight Howard of the Houston Rocket put it perfectly at the end of the NBAGreen commercial stating, “This is our home and we have to work together to take care of it.”

Critique by Brandon Rivera

HSBC Green “There’s No Small Change”

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Click here to see the Ad.

It is 2014 and it seems like the subject most talked about this year is a “sustainable environment” or “greener image”, especially by huge corporations; we now have green energy suppliers more abundant and within reach, unlike 5 years ago.

HSBC’s green image advertising campaign is the topic of my discussion today.  Amongst the highest ranked banks in the world, HSBC has always seemed to come up with clever ways of trying to connect with its clients and drive in more business.

The bank’s new motto, “There’s no small change,” is a small statement with big meaning.  In addition to the new motto, the ads related to online banking are filled with images of nature in the background which seems to pinpoint what the message really means; online banking leads to lower deforestation which is great for our planet.  Appealing to the masses is on everyone’s agenda and can generate false advertising sometimes.

Among the top few of the world’s leading banks, according to “banks around the world”, this green movement sets HSBC on the radar of new potential clients who are environmentally conscious or perhaps are not located near a branch.  The ads present the bank in a new and much more responsible light to the public.

In the ads HSBC talks about being one of the world’s most environmentally active banks.  The actions HSBC claims to take earning them this title include: using renewable energy, printing on chlorine-free recycled paper materials, extending tips to a targeted audience on how to become more “green” and informing clients of “green” vacation destinations. In addition to these acts HSBC also claim to not only get bank employee’s to participate in its green efforts but also getting the clients help through using online banking.

One could say that this campaign has more to do with appealing to the technological savvy people who are not yet clients or making a move towards lowering their spending on staff but it’s my opinion that the campaign is ethical.  The practices of banks before computers were so widely used incorporated a good amount of paper in printing statements and receipts or records of transactions but it was not detrimental. Presenting the positive image of doing things such as using less paper is a good thing that we need to continue publicizing in order for it to catch on.

The message HSBC is sending is strong.  Most people have gotten the message from environmental protection agencies to become environmentally conscious.  It’s no longer just the EPA’s that are reaching out to the public.  Going paperless and showing other businesses how you are doing it is a strength in this campaign especially since many have claims but can hardly show evidence.  Concerns to have with ads using “nature as backdrop” are that the claims can be untrue or exaggerated.


E. Pace 2010. chapter25   E Banking: Commercial Loan Officers Desk Reference

Critique by Natasha Campbell