1 Department of Business Communication, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Knowledge Communication, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Department of Business Communication, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
Today, many companies try to position themselves as eco-friendly companies and to promote environmentally sound products through green marketing campaigns. Meanwhile, various movements, organizations and institutions try to expose the environmental and health consequences of some companies' green products. In order to secure correct understanding of environmental claims, to promote behavioral change and to encourage environmental action, some of these movements, organizations and institutions also try to instruct the general public in media literacy. In this paper, I analyze the instructive videos of GRIID organization. These videos can be accessed both at http://griid.org and on YouTube. Each of the videos exposes step by step how the greenwashing discourses of various companies are articulated when promoting well known products in their commercials. The original discourse is rearranged and accompanied by new voice-over commentaries and new visual material. The new voice-over narrator instructs the viewers how to identify and decode the multimodal persuasive strategies employed in the original discourse. Simultaneously, the viewers are also persuaded to accept the new understanding of the deceptive environmental messages and to act accordingly. The social semiotic perspective provides the framework for exploring these videos in the present multimodal analysis. This perspective focuses my analysis on the multimodal transformations that appear in the roles of represented social actors and social actions when the commercials' greenwashing discourse is used for other instructive and persuasive purposes. When mapping and explaining these transformations, the analysis is based on the investigation of the multifunctional interplay of semiotic modes as language and images. On the basis of the detailed exploration of the interdependence and functional differentiation between the semiotic modes, the paper also intends to establish which and why specific semiotic modes are given prominence.