Go green! Should environmental messages be so assertive?

Ann Kronrod, Amir Grinstein, Luc Wathieu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

211 Scopus citations


Environmental communications often contain assertive commands, even though research in consumer behavior, psycholinguistics, and communications has repeatedly shown that gentler phrasing is more effective when seeking consumer compliance. This article shows that the persuasiveness of assertive language depends on the perceived importance of the issue at hand: Recipients respond better to pushy requests in domains that they view as important, but they need more suggestive appeals when they lack initial conviction. The authors examine this effect in three laboratory studies and one field experiment using Google AdWords. Their findings refer to various environmental contexts (i.e., economizing water, recycling plastic containers, reducing air and sea pollution). The key implication of these findings is that issue importance needs to be carefully assessed (or affected) before the language of effective environmental campaigns can be selected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Marketing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Assertive language
  • Demarketing
  • Environmental marketing
  • Issue importance
  • Persuasion
  • Social marketing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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