Consumer Response to Four Categories of &Quot;Green&Quot; Television Commercials

Esther Thorson, University of Missouri-Columbia
Thomas Page, Michigan State University
Jeri Moore, CCS LTD, Tucson, Arizona
[ to cite ]:
Esther Thorson, Thomas Page, and Jeri Moore (1995) ,"Consumer Response to Four Categories of &Quot;Green&Quot; Television Commercials", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 22, eds. Frank R. Kardes and Mita Sujan, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 243-250.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 22, 1995      Pages 243-250

CONSUMER RESPONSE TO FOUR CATEGORIES OF "GREEN" TELEVISION COMMERCIALS

Esther Thorson, University of Missouri-Columbia

Thomas Page, Michigan State University

Jeri Moore, CCS LTD, Tucson, Arizona

Although there is a significant research literature on what kinds of green messages exist in the media (e.g., see Weaver-Lariscy & Tinkham 1992; Frith 1992; Carlson, Kangun, and Grove 1992; and Cornwell and Schwepker 1992), there is much less research on how people respond to environmentally-based persuasive messages. To help fill that gap, this paper reports the results of an experiment that examined both consumer responses to four categories of greening commercials and some attitudinal antecedents of those responses.

Although there has been considerable coverage of green marketing issues in the popular press (e.g., Ottman, 1993), there has been little attention to the topic by academics. Indeed, there has been little or no research that looks at immediate consumer response to greening commercials.

Nevertheless there is a literature that focuses on identification of variables that predict which consumers will be "environmentally concerned." This literature was reviewed in detail by Schwepker and Cornwell (1991). A particularly relevant study in this literature is Balderjahn's (1988) conceptualization of how certain personality variables and attitudes about the environment are related to environmentally responsible patterns of consuming. Balderjahn showed that German consumers' attitudes toward pollution were related to their attitudes toward ecologically conscious living, and that, in turn, these attitudes served as predictors of energy conservation behavior, environmental concern, and recycling. In addition, consumers' belief in their own effectiveness and control was related to the same three variables. In a recent American replication and development of Balderjahn's work, Schwepker and Cornwell (1991) showed that consumers with a higher internal locus of control, who were concerned about litter, who believed there was a pollution problem, and who had a favorable attitude toward ecologically conscious living, were more inclined to report buying ecologically packaged products. Schwepker and Cornwell suggested that as people become more aware of the problem of solid waste, their attitudes and purchase intentions change correspondingly.

Another relevant area of research on greening advertising has been concerned with categorizing environmental ads. The first such study (Peterson, 1991) compared the percent of commercials that referred to environmental responsiblity in 1979 and 1989. The sample was identified from commercials appearing on the three networks, one local station and five cable companies on two randomly-chosen days of each month in two years, recorded between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Coders looked for commercials that directly advocated ecological responsibility, those that showed an ecologically responsible participant in a favorable light, and commercials that favorably illustrated a goal of an ecologically responsible issue. Commercials were identified as "directly or indirectly green," depending upon whether the ecological responsibility notion was there to sell goods, or was not related to the selling strategy. It also identified six categories of environmental concern: air, water, and noise pollution, depletion of resources, destruction of the landscape and population growth. The results indicated a change between 1979 and 1989 from 5.8% of ads being environmentally related to 6.9%. Although there was no change in the percentage of ads with direct ecology themes, all of the other categories were more frequently represented in 1989 than in 1979.

In a more recent study, Carlson, Grove, and Kangun (1993) sampled print ads from 18 popular press and environmental magazines, examining all issues from 1989 and 1990. Eventually, 100 ads were included in the study. The authors were interested in categorizing the ads in terms of (1) the type of environmental claim they made, and (2) "misleading/deceptive" categories of claims. Five types of claims were identified, including: product orientation, process orientation, image orientation, environmental fact (a statement ostensibly factual about the environment), and combinations of these categories. Four types of misleading categories were identified, including: vague/ambiguous ads, claims that omitted important information necessary to evaluate the ads' truthfulness, false ads, and ads that contained more than one misleading element.

The focus of the present study falls somewhere between the two approaches exemplified in the literature cited here. It is concerned with types of greening television commercials, but the central focus is on how consumers differentially respond to individual ads of various types, and secondarily, on what prior attitudes toward environmental issues are related to the responses to the ads. To provide a rationale for the approach, we turn next to a model of consumer processing that brings together attitudinal structure with a conception of how consumers deal with messages as they occur in their environment.

Consumer Attitudes and the Processing of Green Commercials

The core processing assumption made here is that prior attitudes guide information processing (Fazio 1989) and that the closer the specificity between attitudes and the target of the information processing, the more those attitudes will guide information processing (Ajzen & Fishbein 1977). In other words, attitudes about environmental issues in general should be predictive of the way that people evaluate green commercials and the companies that sponsor them. In this paper, then, we move back to a somewhat more general conception of what people bring to advertising, and adopt a functional view of attitudes (e.g., Shavitt 1989) as they are related to behaviors and processing of environmental stimuli.

A functional view of attitudes suggests that people hold attitudes to determine how to respond to their environment (Shavitt 1989). Therefore, if we know what attitudes relevant to particular stimuli are, we should be able to predict behaviors exhibited in response to those stimuli. Indeed, historically, the concept of attitude has commonly been defined in terms that emphasize its predictive relation to behavior. In one highly influential definition, for example, Allport (1937) refers to attitude as "a mental and neutral state of readiness . . exerting . . (an) influence upon the individual's response." Similarly, Campbell (1963) defined attitude as an "acquired behavioral disposition."

But in addition to prior attitudes, it is also clearly important to consider how messages themselves influence perceptions of the situation (Fazio 1989). As Carlson, Grove, and Kangun (1993) have shown, the way in which a brand or company is related to the environment in an advertisement clearly varies. And the way that consumer prior attitudes will be employed seems likely to depend upon just what the nature of that relationship is.

FIGURE 1

A MODEL OF THE IMPACT OF GREEN COMMERCIAL TYPE AND ATTITUDINAL ANTECEDENTS ON LIKING FOR GREEN ADS AND THEIR SPONSORS

Although not posed specifically as a functional model, Lutz's work with antecedents of attitude toward the ad (Lutz, MacKenzie, and Belch 1983; Lutz 1985; MacKenzie and Lutz 1989) can be treated as such, and is helpful in identifying and measuring attitudinal variables that are likely to predict how people will respond to green commercials. In a later form of the model, MacKenzie and Lutz (1989) suggested that four antecedents were important for predicting attitude toward the ad: prior attitudes toward advertising in general, prior attitudes toward the advertiser, mood during processing of the ad, and ad perceptions themselves. What MacKenzie and Lutz actually found was that advertising credibility in general influenced advertiser credibility, which in turn affected attitude toward the ad. But the strongest determinant of attitude toward the ad was perception of the ad itself. These results can be interpreted as indicating the most important determinant of consumer response to an ad will be the executional aspects of the ad itself, but that a secondary determinant will be prior attitudes about the advertiser, advertising in general, and other attitudes directly relevant to the domain of the advertising.

Using this general approach as a guide, we posited the model of processing green advertising shown in Figure 1. As can be seen, the model suggests that both the nature of the greening message and attitudinal orientations of consumers toward advertiser green credibility, toward the seriousness of environmental issues, and how "green" the consumers themselves actually are would predict two important consumer responses to green commercials: their attitudes toward the ads themselves, and their attitudes toward the sponsoring companies.

There were thus three attitudinal orientations that we thought would be predictive. The first was the orientation toward environmental activism. Here we were interested in the extent to which people perceived themselves as performing environmentally responsible activities such as recycling, using their cars less, supporting environmental groups and so on.

The second orientation concerned people's attitudes toward advertisers' credibility with respect to their environmental responsibilities. A recent national study (J. Walter Thompson Greenwatch) showed that only 17% of Americans thought business was doing an excellent or good job in their environmental responsbilities. Forty-one percent thought businesses were doing "only fair" and 38% rated them as poor. So we were interested in how well people thought businesses, i.e., advertisers, were doing in carrying out their own environmental responsiblities. A third attitudinal orientation was how serious a problem environmental issues were perceived to be. As noted above, Schwepker and Cornwell (1991) showed that perceived seriousness of the problem of solid waste disposal was signficantly related to intention to recycle. Because we were interested in more general issues than just solid waste, we asked consumers about such aspects of environmental concern as water pollution, oil spills, solid waste, vehicle exhaust, acid rain, and so on.

In addition to the attitudinal antecedents, our model also suggested that not all executional strategies would be equally effective. When we examined the popular press for case histories of how greening campaigns had fared, we found that two kinds of advertising had consistently created intense criticism from environmentalists. The first concerned packaging. For example, one of the best-known environmental marketing conflicts had concerned McDonald's use of styrofoam containers for its foods (Crown, 1990). The second area of problems concerned the environmental soundness of products themselves. Again, perhaps the most salient cases were, first, Hefty garbage bags, represented as biodegradable, but which in reality would not biodegrade when buried in landfills; and "biodegradable" diapers such as Bunnies, which actually were not biodegradable.

In contrast, two other kinds of messages appeared to be quite common on television, but seemed to attract much less negative press. The first was messages that were "instructional" in nature, that is, that suggested some behavior that we should all engaged in as environmentally conscious citizens. For example, Sea World and Anheuser Busch have long-running campaigns in which they say "let's teach our children about the oceans so they can take better care of them" or "let's recycle those aluminum cans." And a number of oil companies have been running campaigns that encourage "all of us to pitch in to reduce air pollution." We were unable to find any criticism in the popular press of these messages.

A second kind of message we found to receive little criticism was what we called "Look what we're doing" commercials. In these executions, the primary message was that the sponsoring company was doing something responsible about the environment. McDonald's was giving away trees for children to plant, Dow was recyling plastic into other consumer products, and Sea World was breeding endangered species. Of this kind of message, the only example of criticism we found was of Chevron's 10-year old campaign called "we do." In this series, Chevron claims that it is saving or restoring parts of its property so that various animals can survive. This campaign has received negative popular press coverage (Berry 1990), but the tracking data presented by Chevron (Winters 1991) clearly indicate that whenever the media weight for the commercials was increased, there was an immediate and positive response from consumers toward Chevron.

As we examined the ads of each category, however, it was clear that other influencing variables might be operating. For example, when we had a group of college students rate how "important" the environmental issue in each commercial was, it was clear that product and packaging were not seen as important, but that the issues in the instructional and look ads were. It was also clear that the product and packaging commercials emphasized product attributes, were more hard-sell, did not use image appeals, and seemed less emotional than the instructional and look commercials. Given the sparcity of greening commercials, however, it was not possible to examine the impact individually of all of these variables. We thus decided that an important first step was simply to use the four categories, which emphasized only the type of main selling point, and of necessity leave the finer differentiations of their executional structure to later research. It should also be noted that our catgories of television commercials were not perfectly consistent with the categorizations of Carlson et al (1993). The category of "product" was identical, but their categories of process, image and environmental fact did not correspond with our packaging, look, and instructional. We suspect that these differences are actual ones, and reflect the difference in what is advertised in the print medium, and how television advertising is structured.

Thus we were interested in four categories of greening commercials. For two of these categories (Packaging and Products), there was ample evidence of the likelihood of both consumer and environmental activist negative response. For the other two categories ("Look" and "Instructional") there was not this evidence, and indeed, in the one case where some consumer response data was available (Winters 1991) the response was very positive.

In general, the model of Figure 1 suggests that prior attitudes will interact with the nature of the greening message to produce consumer response. A number of testable hypotheses can be derived from the model.

A first hypothesis concerned the impact of the four different kinds of greening message. Based on the notion that the specific claims of packaging and product ads have often been met with criticism from environmentalists and consumers, we hypothesized that:

H1: Packaging and product commercials will produce less positive attitude toward the ad than look and instructional commercials.

Because of the extensive evidence that liking for ads is the best predictor of attitudes toward brands or sponsors of messages (e.g., Batra and Ray 1986; Gardner 1985; Mitchell and Olson 1981; MacKenzie and Lutz 1989)

H2: Attitude toward the ads will be positively correlated with attitudes toward the brands or sponsoring companies.

If indeed packaging and product commercials produce less positive attitude toward the ad than look and instructional commercials, then:

H3: Attitude toward the brands or sponsoring companies for packaging and product commercials will be less positive than for look and instructional commercials.

We turn next to a consideration of the relations of prior attitudes toward environmental issues and the role of business in the environment, to impact on processing the commercials. Both from an intuitive point of view and in terms of the general industry anxiety that there will be backlash toward green advertising, particularly by consumers who are more environmentally active (Briggs 1977; Gatten 1991), it seemed likely that the more active a consumer was in environmentally responsible behaviors, the more negative they would be toward green commercials. Thus:

H4: Environmental activism will be negatively related to attitude toward the greening commercials and their sponsoring companies.

Given MacKenzie and Lutz's finding that advertiser credibility was an important antecedent of attitude toward the ad and attitude toward the brand, it seemed likely that the credibility of advertisers specifically concerning the environment would also be a significant predictor of attitudes toward greening commercials and their sponsoring companies, and thus:

H5: Consumers who believe business is being credible in their response to environmental concerns will be more positive in their attitudes toward greening commercials and their sponsoring companies.

As noted above, Schwepker and Cornwell (1993) found a strong relationship between the belief that the solid waste problem is very serious, and intention to purchase environmentally packaged products. There is also clear evidence from at least one greening campaign (Chevron's "We do.", Winters 1990) that the more serious consumers think environmental problems are, the more positive they are about commercials linked to those enviornmental problems, and thus:

H6: There will be a positive correlation between the belief that environmental problems in general are a serious problem and how positive people's attitude toward the ads and toward their sponsors are.

METHOD

Commercials

To determine what kinds of green messages are being brought to consumers, we first requested from Radio and TV Reports all the environmentally-related messages that were being shown on television in 1991. Radio and TV Reports essentially monitors all the commercials running on network programming, and can provide all the commercials running in various product and topic categories. Twenty-seven commercials were received and it appeared both from our own informal search and the report from Radio andTV Reports that this constituted the population of commercials with environmental themes that were running at that time.

In analyzing the 27 commercials we received, we identified four dominant types. The first type we labeled "Products." In these commercials, the featured goal was to sell products that had been positioned as being environmentally friendly. The second type we labeled "Green Packaging." Again, the salient feature of these commercials was to sell products, but to motivate the purchase by emphasizing that the packaging for the product was environmentally friendly.

A third type of green message we labeled "Look What We're Doing" (Look). Here the obvious intent was to improve the image of the company by telling consumers what environmentally friendly things the company was doing. The fourth type we labeled "Instructional." In Instructional commercials, the intent was also to improve company image, but to do so by associating the company with information about how the consumer could become more environmentally helpful, in other words, to provide instruction such as "let's all recycle," and here's how to do it.

Interestingly, there were few packaging and product commercials, and the instructional and look categories provided many more exemplars. We decided therefore to select for this test each commercial that clearly fit into each of our four categories. The result was the list of 12 commercials shown in Table 1.

To verify that each commercial did appropriately represent the category to which it had been assigned, we asked a group of eight college students to first read the definitions of the types of commercials, view each of our 12 ads, and then to determine to which category each commercial belonged. All the commercials were corectly classified, and interobserver agreement was 100%.

Subjects

A recruiting company provided 118 adult consumers between the ages of 21 and 65. Half of the subjects were recruited from a large metropolitan area and half were recruited from a middle-sized city in the upper midwest. Half of each sample were males. Subjects were paid $15 for their participation.

Dependent variables

To measure the environmental activity level of consumers, we used the Roper items (Roper Reports 1990) that have been employed for the last several years to measure over-time changes in American attitudes about participating in environmentally responsible behaviors (See Appendix 1). To measure advertiser "green credibility," consumers were asked whether advertisers were fully, fairly well, not too well or not at all well fulfilling three environmental responsibilities: (1) being good citizens of the communities in which they operate; (2) advertising honestly; and (3) cleaning up their own air and water pollution. To measure perceptions of the seriousness of environmental problems, we again used items developed by Roper (Roper Reports 1990) to monitor consumer attitudes toward the environment over time (See Appendix 2).

The items measuring attitude toward advertiser green credibility showed an unacceptably low Chronbach's alpha (.51), and its further use is therefore questionable. The other attitudinal scales showed acceptable although not high Chronbach values: consumer green activity (.79) and the seriousness of green problems (.66).

Attitude toward the ad was measured on a nine-point scale of +4 (like it a lot) to -4 (dislike it a lot). Attitude toward the sponsoring company was measured with the same nine-point scale in response to the question "How do you feel toward the [Company X]?" Although it is considered mandatory in the marketing literature to use multiple items to measure attitude toward ads and companies, asking a partipant virtually the same question three or more times was found to be irritating and tiresome to them. The advertising agency sponsoring the research was opposed to the possibility of irritating participants, and it was therefore necessary to use single-item measures. The potential for problems with this approach is considerably alleviated by the recent finding (Brown & Stayman 1992) in an extensive meta-analysis of attitude toward the ad studies, that "using multi- versus single-item scales to measure ad attitude had relatively minor effects on average correlations."

Procedure

Subjects in each city were tested individually by a single experimenter in a comfortable viewing room containing a 25-inch television. At the beginning of the session, the subject was welcomed, and then told that the intent of the study was to determine his or her responses to a series of television commercials of interest. Prior to the testing, the attitudinal items were administered. Thereafter, each subject viewed one of the three random orders of 10 of the green commercials. No subject saw more than one commercial for a single brand or company. Immediately after each commercial, the subject filled out the questionnaire for that commercial. After viewing the commercials, the subjects were thanked, paid, and excused.

RESULTS

The two samples

We examined each of the two samples (the large and small city) for differences in mean response to the ads and their sponsors, and mean scores on each of the five attitudinal scales. None of the comparisons were statistically significant (t-tests, p>.05), and therefore the two samples were combined for all subsequent analyses.

Overall pattern of responses to the commercials

Although it had not been specifically hypothesized, we were interested in whether the overall pattern of responses to the green commercials would indicate strong negativity ("backlash"). When we combined all of the messages, we found that the majority of evaluations of the commercials (62%) were positive, that is when we consider the scores of 2, 3, and 4 as positive. Most of the rest of the evaluations (30%) fell into the neutral category (1, 0, -1). Only 8% of the evaluations were essentially negative (scores of -2, -3, or -4). In response to the question about attitude toward the sponsoring companies, we found that over 50% of the responses were positive (score of 2, 3, or 4). It is clear, then, that there is a generally positive reaction to all of the greening messages that fell into the four categories we studied.

TABLE 1

ATTITUDES TOWARD GREEN ADS AND AD SPONSORS AND THEIR INTERCORRELATIONS FOR EACH COMMERCIAL

Tests of Hypotheses About the Impact of the Four Types of Commercials

Hypothesis 1 suggested that packaging and product commercials would show less positive attitude toward the ad than look and instructional commercials. Because there were differing numbers of commercials in each of the four groups, we first calculated the mean attitude toward the ad for each of the four types of commercials for each individual. (There was considerable consistency within each of the four groups in attitude toward the ad, and thus the combining of the commercials into a mean for each group was deemed appropriate. See Table 1.)

The means for each of the four groups were then used in a one-way, within-subject analysis of variance. This produced a significant F(3, 114)=8.49, p<.001. The means were as follows: Product=1.27, Packaging=1.54; Look=2.05; and Instructional=2.10. We then compared the Look and Instructional means to the Product and Packaging means, and in support of Hypothesis 1, found that the former categories produced a signficantly higher mean (F(1, 114)=21.12, p<.001).

Hypothesis 2 suggested that attitude toward the ads would be positively correlated with attitudes toward the brands or sponsoring companies. To test the hypothesis, we correlated for each commercial, the attitude toward the ad and the attitude toward the sponsoring company. These correlations are shown in Table 1 and, as can be seen, all except the correlations for Arco and Kodak were significant. Thus there was clear support for Hypothesis 2.

Hypothesis 3 suggested that attitude toward the sponsoring companies for Packaging and Product commercials would be less positive than for Look and Instructional commercials. Again calculating a mean attitude toward the company for each subject for each of the four types of commercials allowed a one-way, within-subject analysis of variance to be run. Again, the hypothesis was supported (F(3, 114)=3.12, p<.05). The means for the four groups were: Product=1.04, Packaging=1.53; Look=1.89; and Instructional=1.69. Combining the Look and Instructional commercials and comparing their means to the combination of Packaging and Product commercials, we again found the former category to be significantly more positively responded to (F(1, 114)=6.25, p<.05). Thus Hypothesis 3 was also supported.

Tests of Hypotheses About the Impact of Prior Attitudes and Beliefs

To test these hypotheses, a regression analysis was carried out separately for each of the four types of commercials. This was done using first attitude toward the ad and then attitude toward the sponsoring company as the dependent variables, and with the hypothesized attitudes as independent variables.

Hypothesis 4 suggested that environmental activism would be negatively related to attitude toward the greening commercials and their sponsoring companies. Contrary to this prediction, environmental activism significantly negatively affected only the response to Instructional commercials (B=-.26, t=-2.8, p=.006). There was no significant relationship between consumer activism and attitude toward the ad for the other three kinds of environmental commercials.

Hypothesis 5 suggested that consumers more positive about advertiser green credibility would be more positive in their attitude toward the greening commercials and their sponsoring companies. As indicated, the scale reliability of advertiser green credibility was not satisfactorily high. Interestingly, however, for each category of green ads except the Instructional commercials, advertiser green credibility produced significant positive beta weights for attitude toward the ad (Look: B=.34, t=3.87, p=.0002; Packaging: B=.20, t=2.17, p=.03: and Product: B=.24, t=2.66, p=.009). There was, however, no significant relationship between advertiser green credibility and attitude toward the sponsoring company. In spite, then, of the noise in this measure, these results can be seen as somewhat supportive of the hypothesis that when people find advertisers credible in their environmental activities, attitudes toward greening commercials are generally more positive. Again, however, there was no observable impact of advertiser green credibility on attitudes toward the sponsoring companies.

Hypothesis 6 suggested that there would be a positive correlation between the belief that environmental problems are a serious problem and how positive people's attitude toward the ads and toward their sponsors were. For attitude toward the ad, this hypothesis was supported for each of the commercial categories except Product: (Look: B=.27, t=2.9, p=.004; Packaging: B=.21, t=2.26, p=.03: and Instructional: B=.28, t=-3.01, p=.003). There was, however, no significant relationships between perceptions of the seriousness of environmental problems and attitude toward the sponsoring company. Thus Hypothesis 6 was supported only for attitude toward the ad.

DISCUSSION

The results of the present study provide clear evidence about how consumers respond to common categories of environmentally-based television commercials. First, most consumers are quite positive in their response to all green commercials. The majority of attitude toward the ad evaluations observed here were positive. This is particularly important because, first, it demonstrates that the oft-touted "backlash" of consumers toward green advertising (Briggs 1977; Gatten 1991) is not occurring, at least in their response to specific television commercials. Second, the positive response to the greening commercials is important because this response is significantly correlated with attitudes toward the sponsoring companies.

A second area of findings clearly demonstrated here is that two executional types of commercials are significantly superior in their impact to two others. When commercials say either "Look at all the good things we're doing for the environment" or "Let's all learn how to be better to our environment" there is a typically very positive response from consumers. The response to commercials that focus on a product or packaging is clearly not as positive as that to Look and Instructional commercials. It must, of course, be said that the four categories of green commercials identified here also vary along other dimensions than simply the main green message we have been concerned with, and it will be important to delve further into how these other executional characteristics also affect consumer response. At the present, however, there are probably not enough green television commercials to allow the kind of extensive crossing of these other executional variables with central green message to allow a complete analysis, but as advertisers move toward more green campaigns, this kind of study may eventually become possible.

A third result observed in the present study is that how "green" consumers are (i.e., as indexed by their green activism scores) does not affect responses to green commercials, except for the Instructional ones. This is surprising both in terms of what has been written in the popular press about the dangers of "green backlash" in response to green advertising (e.g., Briggs 1977; Gatten 1991). It has also proved surprising to many clients we have talked to about doing green advertising. Because there has been so much negative press about certain green campaigns (e.g., Hefty bags, Chevron, disposable diapers, etc.), many advertisers express fear of creating negative consumer response if they advertise "green." The present results strongly suggest that "green backlash" is probably not very likely. The only companies that received relatively negative evaluations in the present study were the oil companies, and even for these companies, if they used the "right" kind of green message, the response to their commercials was positive.

Finally, both the green credibility of advertisers in general and the seriousness with which people perceive environmental problems significantly affected attitudes toward green commercials. Those who were more positive about advertiser green credibility were more positive toward the commercials. Those who rated environmental problems are more serious also were more positive toward the commercials. Both of these findings are potentially important considerations for advertisers. For example, the more advertisers can build up positive attitudes in people about their response to the environment, the more positive they can expect the public's response to their advertising to be. And during times when the environment is of greater concern to people, advertisers can also expect that there will be more positive responses to their green advertising.

As with any study, there are weaknesses that most be observed and taken into consideration. Both attitude toward the ad and attitude toward the sponsor were measured with only a single item. The scale reliabilities were not as high as is preferable, and for advertiser green credibility, were unacceptably low. And of course, there was extraneous executional variation within the four categories of green commercials. Nevertheless, the strong patterning of the results and the fact that a large number of non-student adults were the subjects in the study provide considerable strength to the study and encourage our belief that it indeed provides reliable and useful information about how consumers are responding to green commercials.

APPENDIX 1

GREEN ACTIVISM ITEMS

APPENDIX 2

SERIOUSNESS OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

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