McCann World Group’s Ritu Lakhanpal on ‘Greenhushing’, a Social Commerce Ban, and Ad Trust

On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, Ritu Lakhanpal, managing partner, McCann World Group, joins ExchangeWire research lead Mat Broughton and CSO Ciarán O'Kane to discuss 'greenhushing', Indonesia's plan to ban social commerce, consumers' trust in advertising, and more.

Unilever sets up coalition to combat ‘greenhushing’

What might be stopping players across the ad industry from discussing sustainability, or from sharing their own efforts to be more sustainable? How can the industry address this issue in a meaningful way?

Unilever has set up a ‘coalition of partners’ to support influencers in the promotion of sustainability. The fast-moving consumer goods stalwart announced the initiative after publishing research which revealed that 84% of online content creators feel unable to address the topic (due to a fear of being accused of ‘greenwashing’, feeling insufficiently informed of the key facts, or fearing cancellation, among other reasons).

Shying away from discussing sustainability, often referred to as ‘greenhushing’, has reportedly become more common among brands as well as influencers. The coalition aims to reverse this trend by encouraging all segments of the advertising industry to help content creators deliver accurate, up-to-date information on the issue via social media.

Indonesia to ban social commerce

What impact could this ban have on the growth of social commerce and retail media? Could we see other nations following suit to protect their offline economies?

The government of Indonesia is set to ban the sale of goods via social media. The plan, which was announced at a parliamentary hearing last week, follows persistent complaints that social commerce poses a threat to Indonesia’s retail economy.

According to Indonesia deputy trade minister Jerry Sambuaga, national trade regulations will be updated to explicitly ban social commerce. There had previously been no legal oversight for the practice, which government officials have condemned for using “predatory pricing” to undercut offline markets. TikTok, who count two million Indonesia-based merchants among their TikTok Shop users, criticised the move, arguing that it will impede innovation and negatively affect consumers and sellers.

World view among factors that influence consumers’ perceptions of ads

How can marketers navigate the challenge of adapting appropriately to consumers’ values and expectations? Is more regulation needed to bolster trust?

World view and media socialisation have been found to influence whether consumers consider ads trustworthy, according to new research from Craft. The ‘What drives the public’s trust in advertising?’ study found that people’s individual beliefs and values can impact whether they perceive a campaign favourably or not, as can the media landscape they grew up in. 

The research found that “engaging and enjoyable creativity” is considered most important to consumers’ trust of an ad, while ‘ad bombardment’ proved central to fostering distrust. Deceptive or misleading tactics remain a factor in driving distrust, although less so compared to a previous study published in 2021.