What’s Green is Good: The Effect of Green Advertising on Perception of Product Quality, Corporate Social Responsibility and Purchase Intent
 
Student Researchers

Sarah Burton, George Christo-Baker, Valery Dames (Graduate Students)

This paper was based on a project as part of the COMM 506 course.

Faculty Supervisor

Dr. S. Shyam Sundar

Introduction

What effect does the level of “Greenness” of an advertisement have on consumers? How does the perception of going “Green” effect brand and company image? The current study examines the relationships between the level of Greenness of an advertisement, perceptions of corporate social responsibility, perceptions of product quality, and purchase intent.

RESEARCH QUESTION / HYPOTHESES

RQ1:   For Penn State undergraduate students, controlling for gender, environmental consciousness and previous use of product, what is the relationship between the level of Greenness of advertisement and purchase intent?

RQ2:   For Penn State undergraduate students, controlling for gender, environmental consciousness and previous use of product, what is the relationship between the level of Greenness of an advertisement and perception of product quality?

RQ3:   For Penn State undergraduate students, controlling for gender, environmental consciousness and previous use of product, what is the relationship between the level of Greenness of an advertisement and perception of the company’s corporate social responsibility?

RQ4:   For Penn State undergraduate students, controlling for gender, environmental consciousness and previous use of product, what is the relationship between perception of product quality and purchase intent?

RQ5:   For Penn State undergraduate students, controlling for gender, environmental consciousness and previous use of product, what is the relationship between perception of a company’s corporate social responsibility and purchase intent?

RQ6:   For Penn State undergraduate students, controlling for gender, environmental consciousness and previous use of the product, what is the relationship between the level of Greenness of an advertisement, the perception of product quality, the perception of corporate social responsibility and purchase intent?

H1a:    When advertising a Green product, the use of Green imagery will be positively correlated with purchase intent.

H1b:    When advertising a non-Green product, the use of Green imagery will be negatively correlated with purchase intent.

H2:      There will be a positive correlation between the level of Greenness of an advertisement and the perception of product quality.
 
H3:      There will be a positive correlation between the level of Greenness of an advertisement and the perception of corporate social responsibility.

H4:      The perception of product quality will be positively correlated with purchase intent.

H5:      The perception of corporate social responsibility will be positively correlated with purchase intent.

H6a:    The level of Greenness of an advertisement and the perception of corporate social responsibility will be positively correlated with purchase intent.

H6b:    The level of Greenness of an advertisement and the perception of product quality will be positively correlated with purchase intent.

Method

The study utilized a between-subject experimental design. One hundred undergraduate students participated in the study. The subjects were randomly assigned to view one of four conditions and then directed to take surveys. Responses to the questions were used to measure the participants’ attitudes/perceptions toward the brand, product, and advertisement. In addition their level of environmental consciousness and buying intent was measured.

Results

For research questions one through three a 2 by 2 factorial design and a one-way ANOVA were used to test the effect of the level of Greenness of a given condition on purchase intent, product quality, and perception of corporate social responsibility. For research questions four through six a 2 by 2 factorial design was used to determine relationships between perceptions of product quality on purchase intent, corporate social responsibility on purchase intent, and that of Green imagery on purchase intent. All hypotheses were supported and showed statistical significance (p<.05), with the exclusion of H1b.

Conclusion

The findings of the study show that “Greenness” within an advertisement positively affects consumer’s perceptions of the product, brand, and company. A higher level of Greenness within an advertisement also increases the likelihood that an individual would purchase the product. Perceptions of corporate social responsibility and product quality were also found to mediate the relationship between level of Greenness within an advertisement and buying intent.

For more details regarding the study contact

Dr. S. Shyam Sundar by e-mail at sss12@psu.edu or by telephone at (814) 865-2173

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Media Effects Research Lab at College of Communications, Penn State University