The Role of Qualifying Language on Consumer Perceptions of Environmental Claims

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Journal of Consumer Affairs

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A copy-test of seven environmental claims on aerosol packages shows that consumers interpret general, unqualified claims (e.g., environmentally friendly or ozone friendly) as meaning the product is safe for the environment in both an absolute (safe) and a relative (safer) sense. These perceptions of environmental safety are enhanced by specific qualifiers for general claims such as No CFCs and general qualifiers for specific claims. In addition, the results show that almost all specific environmental claims improve consumers’ perceptions of the aerosol product relative to general claims for environmental benefits of the product. Implications for marketing and public policy professionals are presented.


Journal of Consumer Affairs, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Winter 1999): 297-320. DOI.