Advertising eco-friendly behavior to young adults: “Sweat” or “Do Good”? How young men and women respond to physical activity- versus caring-oriented appeals

Appeals in environmental advertising often refer to the caring aspect of the eco-friendly behavior they promote, such as “Take care of our planet.” Being caring, however, is perceived as feminine, and associations with femininity can constitute a barrier to eco-friendly decisions among men, especially among young men who tend to be the least eco-friendly individuals.
Praxmarer-Carus and Gathen

Management Slant

  • Green appeals that refer to the caring aspect of the eco-friendly behavior they promote are not attractive to everyone.
  • The appeal “Sweating for the environment. Get active and join in” proved more effective among young men than the conventional care appeal “Doing good for the environment. Take care and join in.”
  • Among women, the appeals did not make a difference.
  • Environmental advertisers should be aware that care appeals make eco-friendly behaviors appear more feminine, which reduces their attractiveness to young men.
  • This paper recommends green appeals that are perceived as gender neutral,...
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