Consumers' Value Orientations and Green Advertising Effectiveness: The Moderating Role of Public Self-Awareness
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As consumers seek social status through displays of mindful consumption, it becomes common to observe a new type of environmentally responsible but conspicuous behavior called conspicuous conservation. Intentionally engaging in environmental activities to show off your `greenness' or over-spending on green products to display your ability to support environmental causes is an example of conspicuous conservation. Given the recent consumer trend involved in green consumption, the study begins with the question of whether consumers' value orientations explain their environmentally conscious behaviors, including their responses to environmental claims in advertising and intentions to purchase a green product. Based on theoretical premises, the study hypothesizes that consumers driven by self-enhancement (proself) values are more likely to respond to a green product whose consumption is primarily seen in public, promoting strong public self-awareness, rather than a product whose consumption is mainly in private and proself-oriented consumers are more likely to respond to green claims that bring immediate benefits than distant and uncertain benefits to the environment. The results of the online experiment confirm that there is a main effect of social value orientations on consumers' environmentally conscious behavior, including attitudinal and behavioral responses regarding green advertising and green products. Specifically, public self-awareness is a significant moderator, indicating proself-oriented consumers generally show less favorable attitude and behavioral responses with regard to green advertising and green purchase than prosocial-oriented consumers; however, when an advertised product and its consumption is mainly seen in public, promoting strong public self-awareness, proself-oriented consumers change their attitudes and behavioral responses in a positive direction. The study has several contributions to the current stream of environmental advertising research and practice. First, the study establishes the relationship between social value orientations and green advertising effectiveness. Second, the study identifies that conspicuous conservation can be explained with social value orientations and public self-awareness. Last, the finding of the study suggests that social value orientations help marketers understand the consumers' underlying motivations and to know whether greenness is an appropriate selling attribute. Further, the marketers can understand how the consumers' value orientations could be incorporated into the brand communications.