Psychology

How to advertise eco-friendly products

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Science  17 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6292, pp. 1422-1423
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6292.1422-f

Have you ever found yourself trying to decide whether to buy an eco-friendly washing powder or one of the regular alternatives? Goldsmith et al. show that such decisions depend on the mental state of the consumer. The authors induced an abstract mindset by asking participants to write about their life one year from tomorrow. In this mindset, the participants were less likely to choose an eco-friendly product promoted for its economic benefits. In contrast, they tended to act based on economic self-interest when in a concrete mindset induced by writing about their life tomorrow. So a television advertisement aiming to influence future purchases may be more successful if it emphasizes environmental benefits; for instore decisions, self-interest is the rule of the day.

Nat. Clim. Change 10.1038/nclimate3019 (2016).

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