Increasing Advertising Literacy to Unveil Disinformation in Green Advertising

Brigitte Naderer*, Suzanna J. Opree

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
498 Downloads (Pure)


To actually buy environmentally friendly products, consumers need to recognize legitimate sustainable claims. This is a challenge considering the dissemination of misinformation in advertising promoting sustainable products typically referred to as greenwashing. In an experimental design (N = 302) we investigated two different advertising literacy measures that aim at increasing literacy about greenwashing: an informative text (text condition), or an informative text plus a quiz game (quiz condition). We compared these two literacy measures to a control group that received no literacy intervention. Afterwards we measured participants’ greenwashing literacy and their confidence in being able to perceive greenwashing strategies. Both advertising literacy measures significantly increased participants’ greenwashing literacy. Yet, participants’ confidence in recognizing greenwashing was decreased in the quiz condition. Still, our study points to quiz-based literacy interventions as the most promising measure as it increases consumers’ formal knowledge, but also might keep them humble and therefore critical in the long run.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-936
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Communication
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Both authors would like to express their gratitude for the funding they received from the European Erasmus+ teaching exchange program, as their mutual teaching exchanges enabled the opportunity to design the current research.
Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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