Colour effects in green advertising

Dongjae Lim, Tae Hyun Baek, Sukki Yoon, Yeonshin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Marketers often use green in marketing communications to signal sustainability, despite the lack of supportive data. This article is a report of two experiments to observe consumer reactions to advertisements that use colour to indicate the environmental friendliness. The pretest and Study 1 confirm that consumers associate green with environmental friendliness and grey with environmental unfriendliness. Thus green (grey) is more (less) effective for producing positive ad attitudes and purchase intentions. Consumer perceptions regarding colour appropriateness mediate the effects. Study 2 shows that persuasion knowledge moderates the effects: when consumers have high persuasive knowledge, green has a less positive effect; grey has a less negative effect; blue remains neutral. The study concludes that green functions as a peripheral cue signalling an eco-friendly brand image, but the use of green may backfire when consumers are aware that green is used to bias responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-562
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • colour
  • green advertising
  • persuasion knowledge
  • sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Marketing


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