Consumers Recall Green Ads, but Often Skeptical of Them

April 24, 2008

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Brand Metrics

Consumer recall of advertising with “green” messaging is high – more than one-third of consumers (37.1%) say they frequently recall green messaging and another third say they recall it occasionally (33.1%), according to a new Burst Media survey.

The online survey, conducted in April 2008 with more than 6,000 web users 18 years or older, explores how consumers are incorporating green or environmentally friendly services and products into their daily life, and their perception of green claims made by advertisers.

Among the key findings:

  • Consumers do not automatically accept green claims made in advertisements:
    • One in five respondents (22.7%) say they “usually” or?”always” believe green claims made in advertisements.
    • Two-thirds (65.3%) of respondents say they “sometimes” believe green claims made in advertisements.
    • 12.1% say they “never” believe green advertising claims.


  • Skeptical consumers want to be able to investigate claims, and many do:
    • 41.6% of consumers frequently or occasionally research the claims made in green advertisements.
    • Just 30.1% refraining from any research.
  • Four out of five (79.6%) respondents say they use the internet to conduct personal research on green initiatives and products.
  • Many respondents find corporate information on green and environmentally safe products and services lacking: 41.6% rate corporate information as average, 20.8% rate the information as fair, 17.2% rate it poor.

The Burst survey also revealed some characteristics of green consumers:

  • Green is a goal of many, but attained by few:
    • More than four out of five (81.9%) respondents have incorporated some level of green activity into their lives – just 12.9% are “not green at all.”
    • Although most respondents have integrated green activity into their daily lives, few (5.2%) are “completely green.”
    • In fact, most respondents are “aspirationally green” – a plurality (43.9%) incorporate a few things that are green into their daily lives but “have a long way to go,” and another 38.0% attempt to be “as green as possible, but not 100%.”


  • Reasons for pursuing green activities are varied:
    • The motivators to go green are many, but respondents most frequently (53.3%) cite “good for the environment” as the reason they include green behavior in their daily lives.
    • Other reasons for going green include to impact the future (41.5%), to live a better quality of life (34.1%), good for the community (32.5%), desire to make a difference (31.2%), desire for a healthy body (29.8%), and desire to live simply and use less (29.2%).
    • Three out of five respondents who are “aspirationally green” cite “good for the environment” as a reason for going green – clearly the leader among all reasons offered.
    • However, among the “completely green” segment the top reason for going green is “to live a better quality of life,” followed by “good for the environment.”
  • Disparate Green topics motivate online research:
    • Consumers research many green topics: The most popular online green content is recycling information and healthy recipes.
    • Those are followed by information on alternative energy sources, natural remedies, eco-friendly cleaning products, green technologies, nature/outdoor recreation, tips for simple living, gardening/organic gardening, and organic foods.

“Businesses that can support their claims in their green messaging and sustainability topics in a way that incorporates the consumers in the conversation are at an advantage in the marketplace,” said Jarvis Coffin, CEO of Burst Media. “In providing information that is accessible, transparent and easy for consumers to share, businesses have the opportunity to reach consumers in relation to a core personal value.”

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