Date: 22 Mar 2014

Will You Purchase Environmentally Friendly Products? Using Prediction Requests to Increase Choice of Sustainable Products

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Abstract

Research shows that commitment-based interventions are among the most effective strategies to encourage pro-environmental behaviors, but methods to elicit commitments from a large number of individuals (i.e., door-to-door or phone campaigns) are often costly and unrealistic. Predictions requests—a commitment-type strategy—are an effective mass-communication strategy and have the potential to influence pro-environmental behavior among large audiences. This research is the first to demonstrate that prediction requests in a consumer behavior context influence preference for environmentally friendly products. In addition, this research examines the role of individual and contextual factors in influencing the efficacy of prediction requests. Study 1 shows that exposure to an advertisement with a prediction request leads to increased preferences for environmentally sustainable (vs. traditional) household cleaning products, compared to a control advertisement, and that this effect is greater when the prediction request is paired with an audience cue (vs. prediction request only). Study 2 indicates that the effect of prediction requests on preference for sustainable products is greater for individuals with interdependent (vs. independent) self-construal. Substantive implications and directions for future research are discussed.