The Good, the Bad & the (un)Woke: A Study on Woke Washing Advertising and the Impact on Perceived Brand Authenticity

Joana Veloso Lavadinho

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger


Background Several researchers have covered consumers’ quest for authenticity and brands that escape conventional commercial intentions by addressing social causes with activist messages. In a realm where brands have started to take a stand on societal issues, it is still yet to cover the sham side of this approaches and how it affects so desired brand authenticity. x Objective This study aims to understand how consumers identify woke washing advertising and the impacts of woke washing advertising on perceived brand authenticity. The thesis at hand contributes to the literature on brand social activism, woke washing advertising and brand authenticity within Brand and Communications. x Research Design and Method This thesis embraces a social constructivism standpoint and addresses the research questions with an inductive and qualitative approach. The data collected from ten semi-structured interviews allowed to gain a thorough understanding of the topics under study. Findings and Conclusion Woke washing is socially constructed through social interactions, and it is perceived as inauthentic and phoney. This study presents six cues that make consumers identify woke washing advertising - incoherence, timing, storyline, shallow perspective, tone and branding. Being exposed to a woke washing advertisement makes consumer change their perception of brand authenticity, which can be impacted in two levels – inauthentic brand or inauthentic communication, based on their expectations and meanings attributed to a brand. Managerial Implications Creatives and marketers can use these findings and the (un)Woke Advertising Canvas to avoid falling into woke washing by considering the six cues as critical aspects in identifying traces of woke washing in advertising and further protecting perceived brand authenticity.

UddannelserCand.merc.bcm Brand and Communications Management, (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
Antal sider93
VejledereRichard Jones