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It is easy to do the right thing: Avoiding the backfiring effects of advertisements that blame consumers for waste

Author

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  • Birau, Mia M.
  • Faure, Corinne

Abstract

This paper investigates the backfiring effects of waste-prevention advertising that blames consumers for waste. Five experimental studies provide evidence that message focus (on close versus distant social actors) has an impact on message perception—and, further, on waste intentions and behaviors. Providing information on transgressions incurred by close social actors makes consumers hold less negative attitudes toward waste and feel less able to implement tasks that help reduce waste; this may explain higher transgression rates. Furthermore, simple manipulations of perceived task difficulty through advertising are shown to help mitigate these negative effects and increase the effectiveness of anti-waste campaigns.

Suggested Citation

  • Birau, Mia M. & Faure, Corinne, 2018. "It is easy to do the right thing: Avoiding the backfiring effects of advertisements that blame consumers for waste," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 102-117.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:102-117
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.02.026
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    References listed on IDEAS

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