Advertising development


In the first lecture Massimo suggested that advertising bombards us with the need to commoditise. However, on the way home what I noticed was the number of images in advertising of sustainability and development. Here are a few examples:

  • DLR advertisement on the side of the carriage promoting “less carbon, more carriages”
  • The Times adverts such as the fact that they have an oceans correspondent, and the issues of pay for Taliban soldiers in comparison to average wage.
  • Cadbury chocolate using “free trade” cocoa beans

It almost feels like sustainability in itself has become a commodity. Any other examples out there? Thoughts?


4 Responses to “Advertising development”

  1. slin41 Says:

    I totally agree. To me it seems like sustainability is THE buzzword. No matter what sector you look at, you will always encounter it. For instance, also the financial sector, in which I used to work in Germany before I decided start my undergraduate studies in international development at UEL, uses it as a commdoity as can be illustrated by the case of the swiss bank Sarasin & Co. Ltd.

    “The term “sustainability” originally comes from forestry and means that the amount of wood cut must not exceed the amount of new trees planted. This idea can be directly translated into far-sighted and responsible corporate management.
    Efficient resource management is essential for achieving a consistent return over the long run. Our sustainable products therefore focus on companies whose conduct is socially responsible and environmentally aware. In addition, we make sure our internal processes are optimised to assure sustainability.” (Source: ) Moreover, a google search for sustainable investments brings aroung 12.4 Mio results and there exist already rating agencies for sustainable investments, like

    Best wishes,


  2. jeansykazadi Says:

    I am not sure whether sustainability itself has become a commodity. I feel that advertising about sustainability is more to do with awareness than commoditisation. It is however true multinational corporations are hiding behind the concept “sustainable development” to create a false impression that they mean good for the poor populations they exploit in the developing world. This is indeed exactly what Cadbury chocolate is trying to portrait to the western consumers.

    On 6 October 2009, I watched a documentary by Stacey Dooley on BBC3 entitled “Kids with machetes”. Stacey has shown a different picture of how children future is destroyed in Ghana for the Western world to enjoy chocolate. These poor children are denied education because they need to work on the cocoa field to support their families’ basic needs. If Cadbury chocolate really defended “fair trade”, those kids wouldn’t have been used for their cheap labour in the cultivation and harvest of cocoa. I will highly recommend that you watch Stacey’s investigation using the following link:…/Kids_with_Machetes_Stacey_Dooley_Investigates/

    Many thanks!

  3. rlinton Says:

    Actually, it’s not just corporations. Sitting on the tube this morning a saw one advertisement from Addaction, two from Save the Children and two from Oxfam. In fact, taking commercial advertising into account, approximately 40% of the advertisements on display were (sustainable) development related. Even Ghandi’s been commoditised by TFL, of all things!! If these issues and the people behind them are so prevalent in our society, if we are so very aware, why aren’t we seeing the changes that need to happen? What more needs to be done?

  4. chikaj Says:

    In line with the question … What more needs to be done?
    More awareness should be raised concerning the engagements of charities, NGOs and development organisation with developing countries.
    My rationale for this suggestion is that “Sustainable development adverts” is a major source of fund raising. The bulk of resources (human and material) utilized for development projects are sourced mainly from people who have been influenced by such means.
    These “adverts” impact moral values on its readers and a single picture says in many words the meaning of international development.
    Continuous awareness (adverts) will certainly produce change in ideology/ perception and hopefully create a sustainably developed world.

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