- Affective political marketing online: emotionality in the youth sites of Greenpeace and WWF
- International Journal of Learning and Media
- Volume | Issue number
- 2 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Recent studies have examined how organizations attempt to engage young people with civic issues. In this article, we argue that this literature has neglected emotionality as a potentially salient trait of such attempts. We demonstrate this saliency though a case study comprising quantitative and qualitative content analyses of anxiety and enthusiasm appeals on the Dutch youth sites of Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund. The quantitative content analysis indicates, among other things, that the selected sites contained a considerable amount of text (at least half) that, by design, exhibited an ostensible potential to elicit anxiety or enthusiasm and that these sites contained more messages with a potential enthusiasm appeal than messages with a potential anxiety appeal. The qualitative content analysis demonstrates that appeals playing on anxiety and enthusiasm were constructed in five main ways: anxiety appeals alluded to (1) empathy with animals and (2) people's self-interest; enthusiasm appeals alluded to (3) animals' coolness and cuddliness, (4) the entertainment aspects of environmentalist action, and (5) the awe-inspiring capacities of animals. We close by discussing a research agenda that may further an understanding of the role of emotionality in online texts aimed at engaging youth.
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