Illustré par :

« Offering privileged support to small local actors ‚ » Supporting 50 Belgian farms in their conversion to organic « , « Suppose unnatural flavors and colors ‚ »  » 100% non-GMO products « ,  » Banning the sale of endangered fish species and supporting sustainable fishing « … Do you think these commitments are the program of an environmental group or the demands of a network of responsible consumers? You are not there at all: these are the promises of the last big advertising campaign of Carrefour, called  » Act for Food « , subtitled  » actions for better eating « . This multinational, which has been widely criticized for its aggressive practices, especially towards farmers, to whom it imposes ever lower prices, now boasts of being a model: more bio-eco-sustainable than it is, you die… Nice example of greenwashing which is far from being unique.

 » It’s decided, I’m going to the office by bike « ; « It’s decided, I won’t wear clothes made by children anymore « . These professions of faith are not those of an ecological or alterglobalist militant but the sentences of a radio ad that incite to go and deposit one’s beautiful money in the accounts of the CBC bank. This campaign, focused on ethical investments, is the work of a bank-insurance company, a French-speaking subsidiary of the KBC group. Does this large financial group really have exemplary behavior? The scan of the banks(1), carried out by FairFin, a platform of 7 French and Dutch speaking organizations, including Financité, nevertheless ranks KBC in the « mixed » category: a mediocre score of 44% while Triodos reaches 93%. One thus proclaims oneself  » politically correct  » rather mendaciously without the Jury of Advertising Ethics (JEP) finding fault with it…

Last example:  » Are you antisocial? Don’t you like people? Fear of germs perhaps? No ? So what are you waiting for to share your car ? « . This time, the advertisement is coherent: it is made by a public authority that intends to support car-sharing.


Advertisers are not stupid. They know that they can only make consumers buy if their messages meet the wishes and desires already present in the minds and hearts of their targets. The few examples mentioned above show that the values that are defended in the pages of Kairos is gaining ground in our societies, to the point that the world of advertising is obliged to make it its own in order to continue to promote products which, in fact, are very far from corresponding to the societal and even political ideals thus recovered. We know that the astonishing plasticity of capitalism has often allowed it to mutate and adapt to critical phases of its existence. Today, it is undergoing a new phase of increasing protest, justified not only by the social damage it produces but also by the terrible threats it poses to the ecological balance of planet Earth. Will he be able to get away with it once again, or is he shooting himself in the foot by producing ads that ride the wave of protest and reinforce the deep desire for change that is emerging today? The answer to this question will undoubtedly depend on our ability to decipher these hypocritical messages and to dismantle the deep contradictions they carry.

Alain Adriaens

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