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Green or Non-Green? Does Type of Appeal Matter When Advertising a Green Product?

Author(s): Melody E. Schuhwerk and Roxanne Lefkoff-Hagius


Source: Journal of Advertising, Vol. 24, No. 2, Green Advertising (Summer, 1995), pp. 4554
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
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___

Green or Non-Green? Does Type of Appeal Matter


When Advertising a Green Product?
Melody E. Schuhwerk and Roxanne Lefkoff-Hagius
This research examined how consumers responded to different print advertisements for a green laundry
detergent. Hypotheses based on the salience literature were developed and tested in a laboratory experiment.
One group considered a 'green" appeal which emphasized the environmental attributes of the product. Another group considered a 'non-green" appeal which emphasized the cost-saving attributes of the product. We
measured each subject's involvement with the environment. Our results showed that for those highly involved
with the environment, there were no significant differences in purchase intent, attitude toward the ad, and
support arguments between appeals. However, for those less involved with the environment, the green appeal
was significantly more persuasive than the non-green appeal in terms of the same variables.

Melody E. Schuhwerk (B.S.,


Villanova University) is a
doctoral candidate at the

University of Maryland at
College Park.
Roxanne Lefkoff-Hagius
(Ph.D., University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill) is an
Assistant Professor of Marketing
at the University of Maryland at
College Park.
The authors wish to thank

Gabriel J. Biehal, Charlotte H.

Mason, and Janet Wagner for

their valuable feedback at

various stages in this research.


We also acknowledge the helpful
comments of the three review-

ers, the special editor, and the


editor on previous drafts of this
manuscript.

Recent polls show that nearly 90% of American consumers are concerned
about the environmental impact of what they buy (Cramer 1991). In response,
companies are modifying existing products and developing new ones to be less
harmful to the environment. Advertisements for these green products use a
variety of appeals to persuade consumers to buy. Some of these green ads use
appeals which emphasize the relationship between the product's attributes and
the environment, while others use more traditional appeals such as financial
benefits. Despite recent increases in the number of green advertisements both
in print and on television (Iyer, Banerjee, and Gulas 1993), little is known about
the relative persuasiveness of various appeals for different target audiences.
Consumers differ in their knowledge of and concern about the environment.
They can be classified by their degree of commitment to the environment according to various attitudes and behaviors (List 1993; Roper Organization 1992).
Other research has assessed correlations among environmental concern, personality traits, and demographic variables (Durand and Ferguson 1982; Samdahl
and Robertson 1989; Webster 1975; Wysor 1983). Several studies have investigated the relationship between environmental attitudes and product purchase
(Schwepker and Cornwell 1991) or usage intentions (Alwitt and Berger 1993).
Overall, findings suggest that the more involved consumers are with the environment, the more likely they are to purchase green products. However, to date
no work has focused on how consumers' level of involvement with the environ-

ment affects their responses to green advertisements.

There are many ways to position green products. Iyer and Banerjee (1992)
inventoried 173 print ads for green products compiled over more than five years.

They developed a typology which differentiates green ads based on appeal.


Several of these appeals-emotional, euphoria, and management-can be described as "green" because they emphasize the environmental attributes or
ecological implications of the product. Other appeals are "non-green" in that
they contain environmental information but emphasize other aspects of the
product, for example financial and zeitgeist appeals. To date, no one has compared the relative persuasiveness of these various kinds of appeals for green
products. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate how

Journal of Advertising,

consumers who differ in terms of involvement with the environment will re-

Volume XXIV, Number 2

spond to green versus non-green appeals. In the next section, we draw on

Summer 1995

communication and information processing theories to develop our hypotheses.

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46

46

Journal

of

Conceptual Development and


Hypotheses
The salience literature suggests that attention to
product attributes is determined by internal and ex-

ternal factors (Alba, Hutchinson, and Lynch 1991;


MacKenzie 1986). Internally driven salience results

from personal characteristics such as values and prior


beliefs. This suggests that consumers who have strong
beliefs about the environment are likely to pay attention to the environmental attributes of products. Alternatively, externally driven salience results from a

variety of factors such as advertisements, personal


selling, and word of mouth. Thus, consumers who do

not have strong beliefs about the environment may


also be directed to pay attention to environmental
attributes of products.
Within print advertisements, there are various ways
to direct the reader's attention. These include physi-

cal properties such as size and brightness, and


collative properties such as complexity and novelty
(Berlyne 1960). Research has shown that attention
directed to a particular product feature within an
advertisement can be increased by making that fea-

ture more physically prominent (Gardner 1983). Furthermore, Gardner (1983) found that prominence af-

fects the criteria used to evaluate a product. It is


generally assumed that product evaluations affect
attitude toward the ad and purchase intent.

In our study, we focus on understanding the extent


to which attitude toward the ad and purchase intention for a green product can be affected, depending on
the prominence of different kinds of information. Spe-

cifically, we varied the relative prominence of the


product's environmental attributes compared to its
financial attributes. In the green appeal condition,
environmental attributes of the product are prominent and financial attributes are non-prominent. In
the financial appeal condition, the prominence is re-

versed.

Consumers who are highly involved with the envi-

ronment (the high-involvement group) are intrinsically motivated to attend to the environmental at-

Journal of Advertising

Adverti8ing

processing conditions and distractions (cf. Alba,


Hutchinson, and Lynch 1991; Bargh and Thein 1985;
Ratneswar, Mick, and Reitinger 1990). Thus, for the
high-involvement group, we speculate that internal
salience will direct attention to environmental at-

tributes regardless of whether the information is


prominent or non-prominent. We hypothesize that:
H,: For those highly involved with the environment, attitude toward the ad and in-

tention to purchase a green product will


not vary between the green and financial
appeal conditions.
In addition to outcome measures, we consider cognitive response measures from a thought listing task.
Consistent with Wright (1973), we define support arguments as statements other than direct restatements
of the ad which are directed in favor of the idea,
purchase, or use of the green product. Alternatively,

we define counterarguments as statements against


the idea, purchase, or use of the green product. We
speculate that these evaluative statements will follow a pattern similar to purchase intention and attitude toward the ad.

H2: For those highly involved with the envi-

ronment, support arguments and counterarguments about a green product will


not vary between the green and financial
appeal conditions.
Consumers who are less involved with the environ-

ment (the low-involvement group) are not intrinsically motivated to attend to environmental attributes
of products. Instead, they are likely to be influenced
by the attention-getting characteristics of the appeal.
Thus, in the green appeal condition, prominent environmental attributes of the product will become salient evaluative criteria. Alternatively, in the financial appeal condition, environmental attributes are
less likely to be used to evaluate the green product.
Since little is known about how low-involvement

consumers respond to green ads, we conducted several focus groups. Results of this exploratory work
suggest that consumers with little knowledge or in-

tively, in the financial appeal condition, it takes more

terest in the environment believe green products generally cost more than regular products and/or do not
perform as well. If so, subjects in the financial appeal
condition may find the cost-saving information to be
inconsistent with green product information already

cause this information is non-prominent. However,

well developed green product category schema and

tributes of products. The prominence of environmental information in the green appeal makes attending

to this information relatively easy to do. Alterna-

effort to attend to the environmental information be-

in memory. We speculate that they may have less

research on the effects of internal salience on recall

therefore be unable to accommodate this inconsistent

and attention to product attributes has demonstrated

cost information through the process of subtyping


(Taylor 1981). If unable to accommodate this incon-

the ability of internal salience to overcome adverse

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Summer
Summer
1995

sistent information, subjects are more likely to


counterargue (Wright 1973). Alternatively, we specu-

late that subjects in the green appeal condition are

less likely to attend to this inconsistent, non-prominent cost information. Consequently, they may gen-

erate less counterarguments than subjects in the financial appeal condition. Based on the preceding discussion, we hypothesize:
H3: For those less involved with the environ-

ment, attitude toward the ad and inten-

tion to purchase a green product will be


greater in the green appeal condition than

in the financial appeal condition.


H4: For those less involved with the environ-

ment, support arguments about a green


product will be greater and counterarguments will be fewer in the green appeal
condition than in the financial appeal condition.

Method

Stimulus Materials
We chose a low cost, consumer nondurable-laundry detergent-for three reasons. First, we wanted to

minimize subjects' involvement with the product.

Since involvement tends to increase as the cost of the

1995

boldness, lower and upper case, and percentage of


used and empty space were adjusted to proportionately control information prominence across the ads.
Procedure

Subjects were told this was research on the attitudes of college students toward advertisements and
other issues. They were randomly assigned to one of
two appeal conditions and given 90 seconds to read
the stimulus ad. Next, they were given four minutes
to complete the first section of the questionnaire which
contained measures of purchase intent and a thought
listing task. This task required subjects to list all the
thoughts, reactions, and ideas that occurred to them

while answering the purchase intent questions, regardless of whether the thoughts pertained to the
product, advertisement, or anything else.
Then subjects completed the remainder of the ques-

tionnaire at their own pace. The second section contained attitude toward the ad and product attribute
measures and several questions about green products in general. Demographics and items about laundry behavior were also included. The third section
contained 37 general opinion questions, including involvement with the environment. The entire task took

approximately 25 minutes.

are familiar with and purchase. We thought that most


college students would do their own laundry regardless of whether they lived in the dorms, in off-campus

Subjects

ments which lends realism to the task (Iyer, Banerjee,

and Gulas 1993).


Two comparative ads for a hypothetical green laun-

47

de-emphasizing particular parts of the body copy. Figure 1 presents the text format of the ads. Font size,

product increases, we chose an inexpensive product.


Second, we wanted a product category that students

apartments, or with their parents. Third, household


nondurables frequently appear in green advertise-

47

A total of 85 undergraduate students in business


and communication participated in the experiment
as part of a larger advertising study. Ninety-four percent of the subjects did their own laundry. Those who

did not do their own laundry or who did not sufficiently complete the task were excluded from the
analysis, leaving 71 usable responses. The average
age of the respondents was 22 years, 56% of whom

dry detergent were developed for the study. This is


reasonable because it is estimated that as many as
half of all advertisements today are comparative
(Muehling, Stem, and Raven 1989). In each ad, the
green product was presented as both better for the

were female. The average respondent did two loads of

environment and less costly than the competing brand.

Design and Independent Factors

This product information is consistent with that of


several actual green laundry detergents available in
the market. Both environmental (e.g., recycled pack-

aging) and financial (e.g., specific dollar amounts)

information were presented in each ad. Except for the


headline, the order and content of the text were con-

stant across the ads. Manipulation of the appeal was


achieved by varying the headline and emphasizing/

laundry each week.

Two factors, involvement with the environment and


appeal, were used. The first factor was measured and
the second was manipulated. There is no standard

measure of involvement with the environment as the

scales are often tailored to address the aspects of


environmental concern most relevant to a particular
study. Therefore, we measured overall involvement

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Figure 1

The Non-Green (Financial) Appe

The Green Appeal

YOU CAN

YOU CAN

SAVE THE PLANET

SAVE MONEY

WHILE DOING LAUN

WHILE DOING LAUNDRY

Consider ECOWASH -- a vegetable-based detergent that

Consider ECOWASH -- a vegetable-based detergent that is concentrated

and packaged in recycled plastic bottles

and packaged in recycled plastic bottles.

Independent laboratory tests demonstrat

Independent laboratory tests demonstrate that

ECOWASH CLEANS AS WELL AS T

ECOWASH CLEANS AS WELL AS TIDE

AND COSTS 20 CENTS LESS PE

AND COSTS 20 CENTS LESS PER USE!

THAT CAN AMOUNT TO A GAIN OF OVER $40 PER YEAR.

THAT CAN AMOUNT TO A G

OF OVER $40 PER YEAR.

And unlike petroleum-based detergents, ECOWASH


does not contain ingredients like artificial fragrances,
optical brighteners, and phosphates which contribute
to water pollution in our rivers and oceans.

And unlike petroleum-based detergents, ECOWASH does n


like artificial fragrances, optical brighteners, and phosphates

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pollution in our rivers and oceans.

Summer
Summer
1995

with the environment using four 7-point Likert scale


items: I am concerned about the environment; the
condition of the environment affects the quality of my

life; I am willing to make sacrifices to protect the


environment; and my actions impact on the environ-

ment. These items were developed earlier through a


pretest and produced a Cronbach's alpha of 0.90 implying that they were reliable. For comparison, the
12 item New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) scale
(Dunlap and Van Liere 1978; Noe and Snow 1989-90)
was also used to assess involvement. The reliability

of our measure was somewhat higher than the ecological dimension of the NEP (a = 0.83). The correla-

tion of our 4-item scale and the 12-item NEP scale

was 0.65 (p < 0.01).


A median split was used to categorize subjects into

1995

49
49

tween familiarity and liking for the ad.


Following the coding scheme advanced by Cacioppo,

Harkins, and Petty (1981), each of the cognitive responses generated in the thought listing task was
classified along three dimensions: target, the focus at

which the response is directed; origin, the primary


source of the information contained in the response;
and polarity, whether the response favors or opposes

the advocacy. Detailed definitions and examples of


the categories within each dimension are provided in
Table 1. For example, consider the statement, "I don't
think that Ecowash will work." The target of the statement is "product specific" because it deals with product performance. The origin of the thought is "recipient-modified" because it is a reaction to, rather than
a restatement of, material presented in the ad. Lastly,

high and low involvement groups. Means for the high


and low involvement groups were 5.4 (s.d. = 0.48) and

the polarity is "negative" because the statement ex-

3.4 (s.d. = 0.92), respectively. As expected with ran-

uct.

dom assignment, involvement did not differ signifi-

cantly across appeal conditions. We also assessed the


possible influence of the appeal manipulation on the
subsequent measurement of involvement with the
environment. We performed an analysis of variance
using involvement as the dependent variable, and
both the high/low classification and appeal as independent variables. Only the main effect for the high/

low classification was significant (p < 0.001) which

suggests that viewing a particular appeal did not bias


subjects' later reports of involvement.

Dependent Measures
Purchase intent (PI) was conceptualized as the probability of trying the brand when it becomes available.
It was measured using two 7-point scales, i.e., likely/

unlikely and probable/improbable (MacKenzie, Lutz,


and Belch 1986). Cronbach's alpha was 0.90 suggesting acceptable reliability.
Attitude toward the ad (AAD) was measured using
five 7-point scales, i.e., good/bad, pleasant/unpleasant, favorable/unfavorable, convincing/unconvincing,

and believable/unbelievable (MacKenzie and Lutz


1989). Two additional items, i.e., familiar/novel and
interesting/boring, were also used to evaluate the ad
(Madden, Allen, and Twible 1988). All the ad evaluation items, except for familiar/novel, were averaged
to form a single AAD measure with Cronbach's alpha
of 0.87. Inclusion of the familiar/novel item substan-

tially reduced Cronbach's alpha. It appears that for


our subjects there was not a strong correlation be-

presses an unfavorable thought about using the prod-

Two judges who were blind to the experimental

conditions classified each of 370 relevant thoughts.


The cognitive responses of a preliminary subset of 20

subjects were coded and reconciled to gauge the adequacy of the classification scheme. Based on the remaining subjects, interjudge agreement ranged from
92.3% (target) to 97.3% (origin). All disagreements
were resolved by discussion.
For target of thought, the majority (70%) of statements dealt with the green product. Thoughts about
the advertisement accounted for 12% of all statements

and only 3% of the statements concerned the compet-

ing brand. For origin of thought, 93% of the statements were recipient modified. Thus, subjects tended

to react to information in the ad rather than restate

it. For polarity of thought, statements were distrib-

uted almost evenly among negative (38%), neutral


(29/o), and positive (33%). Thus, at the aggregate
level, there was an equal dispersion of unfavorable,
neutral, and favorable reactions.
Building on the work of Wright (1973) and Brucks,

Armstrong, and Goldberg (1988), we operationalized


support arguments as thoughts that were non-advertisement-related, recipient modified, and positive in

polarity. Alternatively, non-advertisement-related,


recipient modified thoughts that were negative in
polarity were tallied as counterarguments. For each
subject these counts were transformed into a percentage of total thoughts to correct for any differences in
verbosity.
To summarize, we measured four dependent vari-

ables: purchase intention, attitude toward the ad,

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Table 1

Cognitive Response Coding Scheme

Coding

Classification

Number

Definition/Example

Resp

Target
Product Specific

Performance Thoughts about the cleaning ability, scent, effect on fibers, etc. of the product. "I don't think that Ecowa

Environment Thoughts about the environmental qualities or impact of the product. This product is healthy for the env

Money Thoughts about the cost, expense, or savings offered by the product. "Price difference is not significant relativ

Purchase Thoughts about likelihood of purchase or trial. "I would try it." "I would never
Conditional

Purchase Thoughts about the likelihood of purchase which include an element of contingency. "Free sample or c
induce me to try it."

General All other specific product thoughts. "Not impressed with product." "How easy would it be to find

Advertisement Thoughts about the execution and content of this particular ad. "The ad w

Competing Brand Beliefs and feelings about the competing brand. "I like the nice fragrance that T
Self Thoughts about the self. "I feel guilty about not buying it." "I am not environmentally

Other None of the above. "I think too many products are trying to use the environment to ma

Origin of Thought
Message-originated Restatement or paraphrase of verbal or pictorial message in ad. "Environmentally safe" "Recycl

Recipient-modified Reactions to, qualifications of, or illustrations of specific material in the ad. Also includes critique of techniques u
"Most of the time, products that are healthy for the environment cost more money."

Recipient-generated Thoughts that express pure affect toward the product or ad. "This produ
Polarity

Negative Unfavorable thoughts about the ad or buying/owning/using the product. "It gave me a bad

Neutral Thoughts that are neither favorable nor unfavorable. "Clean scents are associated with clean

Positive Favorable thoughts about the ad or buying/owning/using the product. "This product is a g

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Summer 1995

51
Summer~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~_ 199 5

Table 2

Cell Means (Standard Deviations) for the Dependent Variables


APPEAL

Green
N

PI

AAD

SA

Non-Green

CA

PI

AAD

SA

CA

c High 14 5.25 3.67 .254 .139 21 5.23 3.83 .355 .127


E (1.22) (1.33) (.273) (.201) (1.54) (1.25) (.280) (.151)
0

> Low 19 4.55 3.46 .348 .288 17 3.12 2.16 .048 .319

_~- |(1.57) (1.13) (.348) (.298) (1.39) (1.13) (.091) (.221)


N - Cell Size; PI - Purchase Intent; AAD - Attitude toward the Ad; SA - Support Arguments; CA - Counterarguments

support arguments, and counterarguments. The cell

means and standard deviations for each of these de-

pendent variables are presented in Table 2.


Results

Analysis
To account for any correlation among the dependent variables, the data were analyzed using a multivariate approach. We calculated Hotelling's T2 for
the difference in the mean vectors for the high- and
low-involvement groups across appeal conditions. After adjustments for deviations in the homogeneity of
dispersion, results similar to the univariate results
were obtained. Because the hypotheses address differences in individual variables as opposed to the set
of dependent variables, the results of separate twoway ANOVAs for each of the four dependent variables are presented below and summarized in Table
3.

The overall results were significant at the .001 level,


both in the case of PI and AAD. The two-way interaction between involvement and appeal was not signifi-

cant for PI, but was significant for AAD (p < 0.05).
Similarly, the overall results were significant in the
case of cognitive responses as well. Both in the case of

support arguments and counterarguments, the results were significant at the .05 level. The two-way
interaction between involvement and appeal was significant for support arguments (p < 0.01). For counterarguments, there was a significant main effect for

involvement (p < 0.01).

Hypotheses Testing
Hypothesis 1 predicted that for people highly involved with the environment, there would be no dif-

ference in PI and AAD between appeals. Two-tailed ttests found neither PI nor AAD differed significantly

between the green and financial appeal conditions at


the .05 level. Thus, H1 was supported. Likewise, neither support arguments nor counterarguments differed significantly between appeal conditions at the
.05 level. Thus, H2 was also supported.
Hypothesis 3 predicted that for consumers less involved with the environment, PI and AAD will be

greater in the green appeal condition than in the


financial appeal condition. Using one-tailed t-tests,
PI and AAD in the green appeal condition were both
significantly greater than in the financial appeal con-

dition (p < 0.005 and p < 0.001, respectively). Thus,


H3 was supported. For those in the low-involvement

group, more support arguments were expected in the


green appeal condition than the financial appeal condition, whereas fewer counterarguments were ex-

pected in the green appeal condition than the financial appeal condition. There were significantly more
support arguments in the green appeal condition ver-

sus the financial appeal condition (p < 0.001); how-

ever, the difference in counterarguments was not sig-

nificant (p > 0.05). Thus, H4 was partially supported.

Discussion and Implications


The laboratory setting, forced exposure to the ad,
and immediate response measures limit the general-

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Table 3

Results of Two-Way ANOVA

PI

Source of Variation
Main Effects

Appeal

Involvement

DF

MS

20.83

AAD
F

9.73***

MS
10.62

10.36

4.85***

6.36

36.26

16.98***

17.50

SA
F

MS

0.20

2.79

4.39*

0.20

2.71

12.08***

0.26

3.57

7.33***

2-Way Interaction

Involvement x Appeal 1
Explained

Residual

8.12 3.80
16.60 7.77***
2.14

9.22 6.36**

0.70 9.58**

10.15 7.01***

0.37 5.05**

1.45

0.07

PI = Purchase Intention; AAD = Attitude toward the Ad, SA = Support Arguments; CA = Counterarguments

Residual degrees of freedom varied due to missing data: DF(Purchase) = 64, DF(Attitude) = 66, DF(Support) = 67, and D

*** p < .001

**p <.01
*p < 05

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Summer
1995
Summer

izability of this paper. We studied how consumers


responded to various appeals, assuming that some

combination of internal and external factors had


caused them to read the advertisements. Future work
is needed to address how involvement with the envi-

ronment and various kinds of appeals affect selective

exposure to green ads. The ads used in this study


presented a green product as both better for the envi-

ronment and less expensive than a regular product.

1995

53

53

such as ours elicit more support arguments and fewer

counterarguments than ads with evaluative copy


(Edell and Staelin 1983; Iyer 1988). Only the lowinvolvement subjects in the financial appeal condition produced more counterarguments (31.9%) than
support arguments (4.8%). These subjects were the
least likely to want to purchase the green detergent.

Additionally, we measured subjects' perceptions of


three product attributes on 7-point scales: "green-

Depending on the particular product and product category, this relationship may vary. So, future research
should consider the effectiveness of green versus nongreen appeals when the green product is more expensive than a regular product. More generally, work is

ness" (environmentally friendly/environmentally un-

needed to understand how consumers with varying

However, perceptions of product performance did vary.


For the low-involvement group, those in the financial

levels of involvement with the environment make

trade-offs between environmental and performance


attributes (Berger and Kanetkar 1995). In this study,
we used a comparative, factual format for a rather
non-controversial product in a laboratory setting.
Additional work using other ad formats and products
in other settings is needed.
Our results indicate that consumers who are highly
involved with the environment may be predisposed to

purchase green products regardless of the type of


appeal used. However, for those less involved with
the environment, appeal plays an important role. In

friendly), cost (expensive/inexpensive), and perfor-

mance (effective/ineffective). Across the four experimental conditions, there were no significant differ-

ences in perceptions of product greenness or cost.

appeal condition did not believe the product to be as

effective as those in the green appeal condition. Also,

in the green appeal condition, those in the low-involvement group believed the product to be less effective than those in the high-involvement group. Overall, these results indicate that perceived performance
was a primary reason for differences between conditions. In particular, the low-involvement group in the
financial appeal condition did not believe that the

less expensive, green brand was as effective as the


brand leader. Thus, the prominent financial informa-

tion may have been inconsistent with their limited

our experiment, the low-involvement group responded


to the green appeal significantly more favorably than

knowledge of green products.

the financial appeal. In fact, the green appeal was as


persuasive for the low-involvement group as for the

an attribute affects brand evaluations. We extended

high-involvement group; there were no significant dif-

this work by considering purchase intention and atti-

ferences in purchase intention, attitude toward the


ad, or support arguments. This suggests that by di-

that attention leads to importance and suggested that

recting attention to environmental attributes through


prominence, a green appeal may generate positive
responses from consumers regardless of their level of
involvement with the environment.

Contrary to our predictions, for those in the lowinvolvement group, there was no significant difference in counterarguments between appeal conditions.
Instead, it appears that counterarguments were a
function of involvement with the environment. Over-

all, those in the low-involvement group generated


significantly more counterarguments (31.9%) than
those in the high-involvement group (12.7%).
Although our hypotheses did not deal with the relative proportion of support to counterarguments, the

results show that in three of the four experimental


conditions, there were more support arguments than

counterarguments. This is consistent with prior research which indicates that ads with factual copy

Gardner (1983) illustrated that the prominence of

tude toward the ad. MacKenzie (1986) demonstrated


the reciprocal relationship of importance leading to
attention should be investigated. In this study, we
explored both relationships. We found that for consumers who were less involved with the environment,
attending to environmental information made it more
important. For highly involved consumers, we found
that importance led to attention to environmental
information, regardless of prominence.

Several researchers have suggested that a primary


objective for marketers is to get consumers who are
highly concerned about the environment to act upon
their concerns (Ellen, Wiener, and Cobb-Walgren
1991). The results of this study suggest that appeals
can be developed which are persuasive to consumers
with both high and low levels of involvement with the
environment. Thus, it may not be necessary to de-

velop separate advertising campaigns to target different segments of consumers. While more research

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54

54

Journal

of

is needed to assess the generalizability of these findings, our work suggests that opportunities exist for
advertisers to implement successful green appeal cam-

paigns.
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