Examining Green Advertising and Its Impact on Consumer Skepticism and Purchasing Patterns

By Lindsay Richards
Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications
2013, Vol. 4 No. 2 | pg. 3/4 |

IV. Findings

Among a total of 107 individuals who completed the online survey, 73 (68.2%) were female, and 34 (31.8%) were male. All were affiliated with Elon University, totaling in 98 (91.6%) student and 9 (8.4%) faculty respondents. Additionally, of the 107 respondents, 22 were indicated as members of various on-campus environmental organizations.

They were asked to rank specific items in order of personal importance. The results indicated that the majority of respondents (56.6%) valued their health and well-being as the most important item, followed by education, personal finances, recreational activities, environmental issues and political/economic issues. Figure 1 below illustrates the average respondent rankings and their respective respondent totals. As seen in Figure 1, 43 (40.6%) respondents ranked environmental issues 5th in order of overall personal importance.

Figure 1: Ranking of items respondents considered most important.

Figure 1

Respondents were then asked to indicate whether or not they would consider themselves to be an environmental enthusiast. Of the 107 respondents, the majority of the respondents considered themselves not to be environmental enthusiasts (see Figure 2).

Participants were then asked to describe in their own words what made a product "green." Responses frequently included the following key words or phrases: sustainable; recyclable; minimal environmental impact; biodegradable; no harmful chemicals; small carbon footprint; low emissions; organic; efficient; minimizes waste; natural; enivronmentally friendly; and renewable resources.

Figure 2: Respondents who consider themselves environmental enthusiasts.

Figure 2

Respondents were then asked whether or not they purchased green products as they defined. The majority of the respondents (80.4%) answered positively (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Respondents who purchase green products.

Figure 3

Regarding their level skepticism of advertisements in general, most respondents fell within the neutral–skeptical-very skeptical range, with only 9.3% of respondents indicating trust in advertisements (see Figure 4 on the next page ).

Participants were then asked to identify elements that led them to perceive an advertisement as "green." Responses frequently included the following key words or phrases: natural images; accreditation labels; fair trade logos; usda organic; green colors; using low-waste advertising mediums; uses environmental buzz words (green, recyclable, etc); identifies environmental efforts; and personal testimonies

After identifying their awareness of green advertising, respondents were then asked to indicate their level of skepticism in regard to green advertising. Results indicated that, similar to advertising in general, the majority of respondents (93.5%) fell within the neutral-skeptical-very skeptical range (refer to Figure 5 for more details).

Figure 4: Respondents' skepticism regarding general advertising.

Figure 4

Figure 5: Respondents' skepticism regarding green advertising.

Figure 5

Respondents were then given a set of questions to which they indicated their level of agreement, ranging from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." These questions allowed respondents to express their knowledge of and position on green advertising and its appeals. Results can be seen below in Table 1 on the next page.

The online survey then asked respondents to list the top three reasons they would be motivated to purchase green products. Of the various responses provided, the top purchasing motivations are illustrated below in Figure 6 on the next page. As seen in the graph, many respondents (39.8%) listed perceived environmental benefits as their primary motivation for purchasing green products.

Table 1

Figure 6: Key motivators when purchasing green products.

Figure 6

In addition to the top reasons driving respondents' purchases, consumers were also asked to list the top three reasons they would not purchase green products. Results indicated that price and advertising skepticism were the most commonly expressed green purchasing deterrents (See Figure 7).

Figure 7: Key deterrents when evaluating green purchases.

Figure 7

Suggested Reading from Inquiries Journal

The fact that brands have unique identities and personalities is well known and researched. However, the extent to which a brand’s personality or identity manifest itself in advertising is less known. This study examined... MORE»
The purpose of this research paper is to evalute the effectiveness of green alliances between environmental organizations and businesses in motivating business to adopt environmentally friendly ethics (Stafford, Polonsky, & Hartman, 2000), and to analyze the characteristics of environmental organizations who serve as competent strategic bridgers. This is done through the analysis of three distinct cases: the 1989 Loblaw-Pollution Probe partnership... MORE»
The purpose of this study was to determine whether Generation Y women respond more to athletic ads that embodied a second-wave feminist ideology or a third-wave, post-structuralist ideology. A focus group was conducted and its findings revealed that the women's ideological preferences were not based on their generation, but their... MORE»
To be at the forefront of innovations that push brands forward, marketers and advertisers strive to create seamless experiences amidst the ever-changing landscape of digital and mobile technologies. This research delves into the forward-thinking opportunities presented by location-based marketing technologies. Through a quantitative... MORE»
Submit to Inquiries Journal, Get a Decision in 10-Days

Inquiries Journal provides undergraduate and graduate students around the world a platform for the wide dissemination of academic work over a range of core disciplines.

Representing the work of students from hundreds of institutions around the globe, Inquiries Journal's large database of academic articles is completely free. Learn more | Blog | Submit

Follow SP

Latest in Environmental Studies

2017, Vol. 9 No. 05
Is it possible to objectively define the Anthropocene? This essay argues that whether or not it is precisely definable as a geological epoch, its true value, as a concept grounded in futurity, lies within the social realm. The origins of the term... Read Article »
2013, Vol. 3 No. 1
Published by Clocks and Clouds
Postmaterialist values, those that emphasize higher-order human needs, have become widely accepted as the determining force behind environmentalism in the West. Little research has been dedicated to studying the importance of these values outside... Read Article »
2017, Vol. 9 No. 03
In Gallup’s 2016 environment poll, 64 percent of U.S. adults are now worried a “great deal” or “fair amount” about global warming, with a record 65 percent attributing warming primarily to human activities (1). These... Read Article »
2016, Vol. 6 No. 1
Despite all the information we have regarding climate change and the potential perils of continuing on our path of consumption, people are slow to make the necessary changes. Our tendency to live habitually and the dampening effect continuous negative... Read Article »
2016, Vol. 6 No. 1
Whenever a decision is made in a social, political, or economic context, it is implicitly grounded in an ethical outlook. But where do these outlooks come from? To investigate this query, I examine the basis for ethical decisions regarding technology... Read Article »
2016, Vol. 6 No. 1
In today's globalized world, international cooperation and information sharing becomes increasingly important. This paper examines the criteria provided in the United State's Endangered Species Act, the European Union's Habitat Directive, and the... Read Article »
2016, Vol. 6 No. 1
Climate change and the myriad of challenges that come with it are a reality the entire world must face. However, for Canadian province, Alberta, the stakes are especially high. Oil and gas mining made up 18.3% of Alberta's GDP in 2015 and therefore... Read Article »

What are you looking for?


5 Tips for Publishing Your First Academic Article
How to Manage a Group Project (Video)
How to Read for Grad School