The Use of Greenwashing in Advertising and Its Effects

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1838 |

Pages: 4|

10 min read

Published: Jul 17, 2018

Words: 1838|Pages: 4|10 min read

Published: Jul 17, 2018

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Greenwashing in advertisements
  3. Tesla
    Simple Green
  4. Conclusion
  5. Works Cited


Introduction: Many people have never heard of the word greenwashing until recently. The word greenwashing “is the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice” (Rouse). It gives a perception that the company is pushing a product that is claimed to be more eco friendlier than it actually is. Many strive for an lifestyle to be more green, and hoping to have greater health benefits by purchasing an item that is advertised as environmentally safe. Advertisements are sly by using buzzwords to help sell its product. Many consumers associate the color green with sustainability. This is a natural thing to assume since many peoples first thought of the word green are recycle or nature. Thesis statement: Although there are benefits to going green, some may cause negative environmental effects. Some may even go to the extent to sell a product claiming certain things that are not true as “Marketers not only could create new products and services, they could also reposition existing ones to appear more environmentally friendly” (Corbett 141). Consumers would like to go green, whether it be for their own benefits or to be socially acceptable and be seen to help the environment. In an ad Simple green, it appears to be selling a product for cleaning purposes but is claiming to be biodegradable and the only thing a consumer would ever need. Tesla's advertisement shows that the car is environmentally conscious. The American culture has evolved to buying products that are advertised as eco-friendly, however, it may not always be the case.

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Greenwashing in advertisements


Topic sentence: Tesla is known to produce cars that aim to be a zero emission vehicle. It is much cheaper to maintain a car like this due to new and current technology. There would be a great amount of savings because there is no amount of gasoline being put in which is the point of sale. Teslas are fueled by electricity since the company is aware about the current situation of global warming. Global warming happens because of pollution in addition to the amount of burning fossil fuels from other cars from daily transportation. Cars that are zero emission have engines or motors that release no waste products that pollute the environment or harm the climate. Because there is no gas being used, it is considered as health benefit since Tesla produces no pollution. Evidence & citing: In this quote,“The environment per se is not for sale, but advertisers are depending on qualities and features of the non-human world to help in the selling message. When the natural world is so depicted, it becomes a convenient, culturally relevant tool to which meanings can be attached for the purpose of selling goods and services” (Corbett 142), it shows that it confuses consumers morals. Commentary: It makes consumers think they are helping the environment, but in reality the advertisements are just selling points. Evidence & citing: In 2018 many have thoughts of purchasing an electrical vehicle, “Among those who said they plan to purchase an EV, 80 percent cited the environmental benefits as their primary motivator” (Barry). It is for the company's benefit and to persuade the consumer with an image of a perfect environment of no pollution and global warming.

Topic sentence: In this image of the Tesla advertisement, it seems exceptionally minimalistic. The car is sleek black with a grey gradient background, making it appealing to the eyes. The key symbol presents a branch with many bright green leaves placed onto where a gas tank is supposedly located. This is a great placement since it resembles that the car does not take up gas and is cautious about the environment in which we can easily see it being promoted. Evidence & citing: The audience presented is to those who want to make changes to their car and have a better lifestyle, as being said “Automakers can confidently target millennials, who have an early adoption attitude and broad tech knowledge” (Kiser, Essery). Commentary: It’s visible that many Americans, especially millennials, want to contribute to a better environment with new technology given.

Topic sentence: The emotions set by the advertisement are happiness because it shows that Teslas are eco-friendly and will give the urge to get this car. Evidence & citing: In this ad, there is a text that reads “Green never looked so good” which appeals to how the green leaves are which brings the connection of nature and the beauty of it. Commentary: Seeing that a car is sustainable, it creates a feeling that you would be contributing and helping out planet earth by owning an electrical vehicle. This conveys that Americans should buy this Tesla since it is environmentally friendly and it would show others they care about the earth.

Simple Green

Topic sentence: Simple Green is an all purpose cleaner, being advertised as an environmentally friendly product. It is a powerful cleaner and degreaser to use in and out of the house, making it practical for deep cleaning. It promotes being nontoxic and biodegradable which makes consumers kill two birds with one stone by believing it can benefit their health and be environmentally safe. Although it may sound like a great product, however, it contains “2-butoxyethanol, a solvent absorbed through the skin that damages red blood cells and irritates eyes; and a secret blend of alcohol ethoxylate surfactants, some of which are banned in the European Union” (EWG). Even with the ingredients in the label which are undoubtedly not the best, it is contained in a plastic bottle with a spray nozzle. Plastic is known to create pollution for nature, people, and wildlife as it can kill plants that give us oxygen or harm animals who do not know what it is. “Some green cleaners may have mislabeled ingredients and the third-party “eco labels” they tout may be dubious. They may, in fact, contain some of the toxins you don't want to use” (D'Alessandro) which goes to show that its main purpose is to sell rather than actually being what it advertises as. Commentary: Americans are being manipulated through the advertisement by assuming that it would be useful as an everyday product.

Topic sentence: In this ad, the main color scheme is green, including texts and images of the product, with a background of nature. This advertisement gives you the context of nature just by a glance. Behind the texts, there is a man sitting on a lawn chair in the background enjoying the outdoors, giving context that by using the product, it is fast, easy, and harmless to the surroundings. This targets those who clean but are still conscious about the ecosystem with intended health benefits.The emotions we would feel thought this ad would be calm and refreshed, from the color 'Green, which is Nature's colour, is restful, soothing, cheerful, and health-giving' (Cherry). The product’s name “Simple Green” is the brand and logo of the all purpose cleaner and also what promotes the intended purpose, to be both green and simple. Green implies that it is eco friendly and simple concludes to easy, no harsh ingredients. Another thing that is eye catching is the bottle. It is a spray bottle with green liquid with the brand name. The layout of the ad is the product is placed to the left, the brand and some texts on the other right half, and a background of a man sitting outdoors in a vivid green scenery that gives just enough information consumers need to know about this product. It is easy to see how it is placed for your eyes to wander, intended for the audience to observe the product longer. The image and text all ties in together since it says “The only cleaner and degreaser you will ever need. Non-toxic and biodegradable” (LLC) which implies that it's best in the market and the only product you’ll commit to. The word non-toxic means its harmless, it doesn't have anything in the product that can do harm in anyway. There are always natural ways to clean and much less toxic such as using vinegar and hydrogen peroxide which are all common household items that can do the job the same.

Topic sentence: In similar nature, American values to be environmentally friendly as a lifestyle. Commentary: Both these advertisements claim to be eco-friendly and green products, although they are not what it seems. They convey messages with the color green while using the buzzword “green” to grasp consumers' attention. They are both associated with nature as Tesla uses leaves to implement its purpose while Simple Green’s ad is predominantly green with a natural background. Digging deeper, both these products acquire something that isn't actually environment friendly. The reality about Teslas are not what consumers think, “it runs on lithium-ion battery which can actually harm the environment” (Mws) giving information that even though it is promoting the good, it also has a bad side of creating pollution and harming habitats. Simple Green has some ingredients that are known to harm both the environment and body while being contained in plastic. In an article “The language of Advertisement”, O'Neill states, “Advertising both reflects and shapes our perception of reality" which is true and could manipulate a person's mentality of the way products are seen and how they are supposed to be.

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Conclusion paragraph: The American culture is known for buying products that are advertised as eco-friendly even though they are presumably not. It gives an illusion to consumers that the products are beneficial if purchased or used. Tesla's advertisement makes it intriguing for consumers to think that by purchasing this vehicle, it's easily associated with giving back to the environment by not polluting. Similarly Simple Green had the same emotions by the texts, it's persuading consumers to purchase it to feel empowering by not harming the earth. This value impacts the American culture since it enforces others to be aware of the outside even though there is much more harm being unnoticed. In this society, consumers are easily influenced by these messages and images even though it is strategically thought out by marketers. It creates impacts through emotion, associations with colors, and by being current with today's day and age. As Baumgartner said, products that consumers buy shows who they are and what they represent by their choices.

Works Cited

  • Barry, Keith. “More American Drivers Want Electric Cars, AAA Survey Says.” Consumer Reports, 8 May 2018,
  • Baumgartner, Jennifer. It’s All in the Details. 2012. English 101C. Spring 2020, edited by Julie Ashmore, pp. 82-88
  • Cherry, Kendra. “How Does the Color Green Impact Mood and Behavior?” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 24 Sept. 2019,
  • Corbett, Julia B. “A Faint Green Sell: Advertising And The Natural World” Enviropop. 2002.
  • D'Alessandro, Nicole. “5 'Green' Products That Aren't As Eco-Friendly As You Thought.” EcoWatch, EcoWatch, 27 June 2016,
  • EWG. “Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner Cleaner Rating.” EWG, EWG, 19 June 2018,
  • Kiser, John, and Mark Essery. “Is There a Target Market for Electric Vehicles?” IPSOS,
  • Mws. “Tesla and the Environmental Impact of Lithium-Ion Batteries.” Technology and Operations Management, Alumni, 13 Nov. 2017,
  • O’Neill, Charles. “The Language of Advertising.” Business Advertiser, 2011 English 101C. Spring 2020, edited by Julie Ashmore, pp. 77-81
  • Rouse, Margaret. “What Is Greenwashing? - Definition from”, TechTarget, 19 Sept. 2007,

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Cite this Essay

Sins And Problems Of Greenwashing. (2023, January 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from
“Sins And Problems Of Greenwashing.” GradesFixer, 11 Jan. 2023,
Sins And Problems Of Greenwashing. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Jun. 2024].
Sins And Problems Of Greenwashing [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Jan 11 [cited 2024 Jun 20]. Available from:
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