Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Why Conserve? An analysis of the historical evolution of conservation appeals since 1970: A For-Profit Perspective Public Deposited

  • Historically, for-profit companies have sponsored the vast majority of environmental print advertising, and therefore have been a dominant voice in communicating about environmental problems and influencing consumer environmental behavior. This paper seeks to examine how the content and framing of for-profit conservation appeals have evolved from the 1970s to the present in hopes of better understanding the motivations and potential impacts of these advertisements. For this study, I assembled a database of 168 conservation advertisements from the publications National Geographic and Time. I coded ads for content and framing and then evaluated trends across time and industry sectors. Species/habitat conservation was found to be the primary conservation concern addressed in these advertisements. Additionally, public relations/publicity was found to be the primary cause-related marketing strategy used. These advertisements often framed the general public or businesses/corporations as the cause of environmental harm. A majority of ads were gain-framed and had positive emotional valence, which may indicate for-profits are more concerned with promoting their image than creating ads effective at promoting substantive pro-environmental behavior. The consumer product industry demonstrated different trends and utilized mainly loss frames and negative emotional valence, which may be a marketing technique to promote green consumption of their product/service.
Date Awarded
  • 2020-11-04
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Last Modified
  • 2020-11-06
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