Color Effects in Green Advertising

Document Type



marketing; advertising; marketing communications; green (color); color; sustainability; persuasive knowledge

Identifier Data



Wiley Online Library

Publication Source

International Journal of Consumer Studies


Marketers often use green in marketing communications to signal sustainability, despite the lack of supportive data. This article is a report of two experiments to observe consumer reactions to advertisements that use color to indicate environmental friendliness. The pretest and Study 1 confirm that consumers associate green with environmental friendliness and gray with environmental unfriendliness. Thus green (gray) is more (less) effective for producing positive ad attitudes and purchase intentions. Consumer perceptions regarding color appropriateness mediate the effects. Study 2 shows that persuasion knowledge moderates the effects: when consumers have high persuasive knowledge, green has a less positive effect; gray has a less negative effect; blue remains neutral. The study concludes that green functions as a peripheral cue signaling an eco‐friendly brand image, but the use of green may backfire when consumers are aware that green is used to bias responses.