Paper presented at CADAAD2012

Sara Molpeceres: “Rhetoric Strategies to Sell Renewable Energies in Spain: Green Business Discourse in Times of Crisis”. Paper presented at the 4th international conference Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines (CADAAD). Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal, 4-6 July 2012.

“Rhetoric Strategies to Sell Renewable Energies in Spain: Green Business Discourse in Times of Crisis” (Abstract)

Sara Molpeceres

From 2004 to 2008 Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero put his environmental plan into practice: he subsidised green energy and closed nuclear power stations. As a consequence, the two most important electricity providers inSpain, Iberdrola and Endesa, developed their renewable energies subsidiary companies. Both the Government and the electric companies began an effective publicity campaign that stressed the ideas of sustainable development, environmental degradation and the technological progress ofSpain. It was said thatSpainwill leadEuropein green technology.

In 2010, research (Calzada Álvarez et alii, 2010) showed that the public aids to green energy sources inSpain had caused job losses, large public debts and an increase of 30% in the price of energy for every business and individual.

In times of a deep crisis and higher electric bills, after a political change that makes the future of green energies in Spain uncertain, the prosperous electricity giants need more investors and to project a new image. How can they sell their products when the environmental degradation and sustainability arguments loose persuasive effect? How can they deal with a hostile audience worried about electric bill? Reconsidering the frame of their discourse is the key.

This paper deals with how the big electric companies in Spain have adapted their way to address their audience to the new circumstances. How their advertising campaigns are focusing on new issues and trying to appeal to emotions and fears by creating mythic narratives to persuade us, besides the dark side of green business. Our work draws on different fields, including Rhetoric, Argumentation Theory, Cognitive Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis; and our analysis will focus on TV advertising, corporate websites, and social networks.

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