Since the 1980s, marketers have developed several strategies to target the environmental concerned consumer, including environmental appeals in advertising. Although criticism about the validity of this green marketing, most corporations still desire to link corporate identity to the increasingly popular values of environmental quality, as a strategy for image enhancement. The purpose of this paper is to analyze current trends in advertising with explicit
environmental appeals, as well as the influence of public agenda over current advertising strategies focusing on the environment. The paper also compares green ads published in three European countries: France, Italy and Portugal. Although sharing several cultural, institutional and geographical conditions, these countries reveal in international surveys to have different attitudes regarding the environment. The sample of 160 green ads was drawn from all the ads published from January to June 2008 in seven high circulation weekly magazines of the
selected countries: Visão and Sábado (Portugal); Le Nouvel Observateur, Le Point and L’Express (France); and L’Espresso and Panorama (Italy). The results show significant differences in the frequency and structure of green
advertisements in the compared countries. These differences seem to be associated with specific cultural contexts of the three countries. The findings also show an influence of public agenda on advertising appeals. In fact, among the most frequent appeals are those related to energy issues and climate change. In accordance with it, the majority of the analyzed green ads refer to products directly connected with energy and greenhouse gas emissions, such as
automobiles, energy companies and appliances – precisely the business sectors that, facing the public concern about climate change, mostly need to appear in the public sphere with an environmental friendly image.