As the corporate use of social movement rhetoric in advertising increases, the role of corporate participation in activism gains significance. The present study aims to dissect how clothing companies commodify the ideals of the environmental movement within visual advertising messages. Using methodologies of visual rhetoric and semiotics, it is possible to perceive how themes of the environmental movement are utilized as a corporate advertising strategy to increase profits while shifting the blame for environmental decline onto the consumer. This study centers on five product advertisements posted on social media accounts between August and October of 2022 from major clothing companies: Patagonia, Carhartt, Nike, The North Face, and Levi’s. My analysis reveals the creation and distortion of corporate trust and suggested convergence of corporate and individual activist ideals as advertising strategies to sell products to activist consumers.


Rousset, Simon


Communication Studies; Global Media and Digital Studies


Advertising and Promotion Management | Rhetoric and Composition | Sustainability | Visual Studies


Advertising, Brand Activism, Corporate Social Responsibility, Visual Rhetoric, Semiotics, Environmental Movement, Sustainability, Anticonsumption

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis


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