Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


This is a very clever marketing concept by the WWF, It demonstrates a crucial environmental message built into the environment. This paper towel dispenser has a cut out shape of South America which is filled with green paper towels that represents the green rain forest canopy of the continent. As people slowly drain the towel dispenser we are able to see the greenness slowly being drained out of South America which symbolizes the terrible environmental impact of disposable paper towels. At the top of the dispenser is the slogan 'Save Paper. Save the Planet.' Followed by the recognisable WWF logo. This is an example of guilt-driven green advertising. People using the paper towel can see directly themselves what their actions are doing to the hypothetical South America, and may be persuaded to use less paper towels.

Green advertising is defined as 'the promotional message that may appeal to the needs and desires of environmentally-concerned consumers' (Zinkham & Carlson 1995). It is an important social marketing instrument used to promote environmentally friendly products, welfare, safety and risk minimization  It is commonly used in combination with other marketing strategies which seek to encourage cooperation of social goals. One such strategy is appealing to the audiences emotion, known as Pathos advertising. A study by Marissa Jimenez and Kenneth Yang conducted a study that looked at how guilt levels affect green advertising effectiveness. The study used a between-subjects post-test only experiment design to examine whether guilt appeal levels affected green advertising effectiveness measured by consumers' attitude towards the advertisement and the brand. Guilt-aroused feelings were examined for their effects. The adverts were selected from E-Magazine (an environmental magazine). Results supported the effect of guilt appeal on green advertising effectiveness. However participants were found to have more favourable attitudes towards the green advertisement when exposed to a low guilt advertisement than a high guilt one.

Jimenez, M. & Yang, C., C. (2008). How guilt level affects green advertising effectiveness? Journal of Creative Communications, 3, 231-254.

Zinkhan, G.M. & L. Carlson. (1995). Green advertising and reluctant consumer. Journal of Advertising,24, 1-6.

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