From: Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate
Published August 7, 2012 06:56 AM

Environmental Advertising Increases When the Economy Is Stronger

Environmental concern is greater when the economy is stronger, a study found which looked at environmental advertising in National Geographic over three decades. Specifically, the study, conducted by three researchers at Penn State University, found that consumers are more receptive to environmental appeals and marketers do more environmental advertising when the economy is improving. There is a strong statistical correlation, the three researchers discovered, between the GDP and the amount of environmental advertising. As Lee Ahern, one of researchers said, "We found that changes in GDP do indeed predict the level of 'green' advertising."


"Results support the idea that key economic indicators affect the level of green strategic messaging," said Ahern. "This perspective argues that environmental concern will be greater in stronger economies and better economic times. By extension, consumers will be more attuned and receptive to green appeals when the economy is improving, and marketers will employ more green advertising."

The researchers put the 577 ads examined into seven categories (pollution, greenhouse gas reduction, solid waste problems, species/habitat protection, energy efficiency, energy independence and general state of the environment). Of the ads examined, only 6.8 percent were coded GHG reduction. There were no GHG ads in the first decade (1979-88). During the second decade (1989-98) GHG reduction ads began to emerge, and during the third decade GHG reduction ads increased.

During the first decade there were many energy efficiency ads, but the second decade saw many species/habitat preservation ads. There was also a decline in the second decade in energy independence ads. The third decade had a more level distribution of issue types, with a further decrease in energy independence ads, but an increase in general state of the environment ads.

Energy Saving graphic via Shutterstock.

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