Ad Age had an interesting article yesterday about a shift in Earth Day advertising this year. Take a second to look it over: Marketers Blame the Consumer in New Save-the-Planet Pitches. A quick excerpt, in case you are busy:
“The focus of most green advertising has primarily centered on marketers’ own products and process changes to reduce waste and environmental impact. But a growing number of marketers are shifting the focus toward consumer behavior, either in their sustainability PR efforts, their advertising or both.”
Unilever’s latest sustainability report stated that 70% of their environmental impact comes from its consumer’s use and disposal of their products. P&G is asking its consumers to lower their use of hot water, which is reportedly the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the life cycle of P&G products. Of course, they also offer Tide Coldwater as the perfect solution for this quandary.
We talk a lot about the role context plays in behavior; more specifically, that there are three layers of context that play a determinative role in consumer habits.
- The Meta-Context – an overarching perception of a particular behavior
- The Contextual Event – a situation-specific behavior
- The Sub-Context – influencing vectors that impact behavior
Sub-Context is one of the more fascinating components of context because of its fluidity. Consumers create rules, heuristics, and choices that align with their personal sub-context vectors. As sustainability and environment-friendly messages continue to permeate the advertising landscape, we have begun to see a “Green” vector emerge. A consumer may create a rule where she only buys recyclable packaging, or, as P&G hopes she will, only use products that work with cold water.