The growing consciousness on environmental sustainability has made several companies to join the campaign on green living which is the aim of green advertising. It is on this premise that this study undertakes an assessment of green advertising on clean environment in south-south Nigeria. Using the survey and content analysis methods of research, the researcher sampled 291 respondents randomly selected from three south-south states (i.e. Edo, Delta and Rivers States) and also content analyzed green advertising messages on some selected disposable products. The findings reveal among other things that individuals are conscious of having clean environment with or without green advertising messages on products or through the media. In view of this, the researcher recommends among other things that there is need for audience research to ascertain the best approach to creating impact oriented green advertising.






1.1 Background of the Study

The ways in which the environment and issues relating explicitly to the environment are represented in the media have been continuously evolving ever since the environmental movement came into being. The environment has been the focus of some of the most memorable media spectacles of the last 25 years (Cox, 2008: 32).  In 1987 a document prepared by the World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainable development as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own need.” This became known as the Brundtland Report and was another step towards widespread thinking on sustainability in everyday activity (Banerjee, Gulus & Lyer, 1995).

Arising from the Brundtland Report and Environmental Movements across the globe, environmental issues became an increasingly public concern during the last decades. Issues of global warming and climate change have come to the forefront, thus raising interest even in corporate advertising.  World leaders are increasingly worried about the environment in which we live. Leaders of the world have had various meetings and summits on climate change, global warming and other related global environmental issues. This is important because man completely depends on his environment for survival and sustenance. The massive disastrous activities of man to the environment and its immense importance have raised environmental issues to the top of international agenda.

Today, as the world is concerned about sustainable environment, climate change or global warming, the need to preserve, protect and promote the environment has become paramount to us and our survival.  The numerous environmental problems being experienced in the world today such as the Asian Tsunami, hurricanes, floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, pollutions, solid wastes and other numerous environmental problems occasioned by man are issues of great concern to nations of the world.  The environment is indeed degraded in many ways.  One of such ways by which the environment has been degraded and defaced is the indiscriminate disposal or dumping of solid wastes like Can drinks, bottles, food packs and many others on our streets and roads.

The use of green advertising has become imperative as it addresses the relationship between a product and the biophysical environment (Banerjee, Gulus & Lyer, 1995)

The role of mass media in contemporary society has been a topic of inquiry, which has created as many questions as it has answered. The attitude of an individual towards environmental issues in Nigeria can be traced to how effective the media have played its role in sensitizing and moulding opinions towards sustainable environment, which is what green advertising seeks to achieve. An environmental friendly media will adopt all available strategies towards achieving favourable attitudinal change on environmental issues.

As an advertising strategy that has the characteristics of being able to promote a green lifestyle and at times, enhance a corporate image of social responsibility, green advertising promotes good living through a clean and healthy environment.

Many individuals as well as organisations are yet to change their attitudes or behaviours and organisational policies in favour of sustainable development and clean environment. Many consumers manufacturing firms in Nigeria are yet to contribute towards clean environment.

However, global companies like Coca-Cola, Toyota, IBM, and manufacturer of fruit drinks like 5 Alive (Coca-Cola Nig.), Chivita (Chi Nig.), and others now focus on green advertising and sustainability of the environment. Organisations are now taking interest in green advertising and environmental management through their products and services. Environmental issues also have strategic implications for organisations. Consumer concerns about the environment have been on the increase in recent years. The deteriorating environment that has developed in recent decades had made marketing researchers to find a new line of research that has been given various labels, such as ecological marketing (Chamorro, Rubio and Miranda, 2009:233). It is the analysis of how marketing activities impact on the environment and how the environmental variable can be incorporated into the various decisions of corporate marketing. With the increasing number of “green” customers, businesses attempt to understand and respond to external pressures to improve their environmental performance (Chen, 2008:271).

The environment is central to every human activity and as such, would be used in coordinating the resources for a “synergistic approach to management of the environment” (Nwabueze, 2007:45). There have been many approaches towards clean environment. One of such approaches is the adoption and application of advertising into environmental management or studies. Advertising is exciting, dynamic and pervasive in nature.

The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) defines advertising as the non-personal communication of information, usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature about products or ideas by identified sponsors through various media (APCON, cited in Benson-Eluma, 2004:3). This implies that advertising is a persuasive communication that tries to persuade the target audience to respond positively to the goods or service.  As part of its functions, advertising is to educate and inform. Nwabueze (2007:86) believes that advertising can be used as part of its functions to educate and inform the public on environmental management or clean environment. This can be done in advertisements and in the packaging of products and services.

By application, green advertising as Nwabueze (2007:86) sees it, explores how advertising principles and practices are employed by organisations on the environment with the aim of ensuring an environmentally sustainable achievement of marketing objectives. Green advertising in this context is a specific type of advertising that is centred on the promotion of factors having to do with the environment. Oftentimes, the companies that use green advertising also use very environmentally friendly operations and products packaging as well. This concept has enabled the re-marketing and packaging of existing products which already or not adhere to environmental guidelines (Banerjee, Gulus & Lyer, 1995).


Today, green advertising claims abound in both the traditional media (i.e., broadcast and print) and the new media (web sites, streaming audio and video, e-mail, DVDs and CD-ROMs). Moreover, one can expect to see increasing numbers of green advertising claims in the future in such new media venues as virtual reality environments, the integration of digital data with the telephone – such as Internet telephony – and mobile computing.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

There has been significantly less concern and studies in Nigeria on sustainable development or clean environment through advertising campaigns known as green advertising.  Many Nigerians may not be familiar with the concept/term- green advertising or aware of eco-friendly (environmental) products owing to the above observation.

There are also less and unmonitored accurate corporate social responsibility claims on green marketing on environmental management. By implication, many manufacturers of consumer products such as table/sachet water, fruits drinks in can and pack, can beer, beverages and all the likes do not have environmental message on their products.  Products with messages or label package like ‘recyclable’, ‘reusable’, ‘keep Nigeria clean’, ‘dispose properly’, ‘ozonised’ and so on, are hardly seen or displayed. Even those with environmental message on their products or packs, the messages are not conspicuously displayed. Many Nigerians do not know how to dispose waste properly. Indiscriminate dumping and disposal of waste is a common practice among many Nigerians.  There are no enough trash cans on our streets and major roads. This affects clean environment. There are no effective and sufficient media campaigns (green advertising) on clean environment.

The way a message is presented determines how it will be perceived and its ability to engender positive attitudinal change in a busy society like ours. The assumption is that the way the public perceive issues about clean environment has been greatly influenced by poor media advertising geared towards clean environment.

This limited knowledge perceived among the general public is likely be attributed to lack of consistent proactive approaches by producers in sensitizing the public on how not to dispose the packs, sachets or cans of food and drink products after use. Green advertising has become imperative in addressing these issues as they relate to clean environment so as to ensure environmental sustainability. But for this to succeed certain marketing tools need to be applied.

Peattie (2001:187) identified inadequate tool for green advertising. To him, “while green marketing and advertising efforts continue to grow, marketers do not have adequate tools for evaluating the success of green advertising, nor do they have sufficient tools for determining consumers’ environmental attitudes, intentions, and behaviours. Additionally, there is little consensus about the identity and nature of green consumers” (Peattie, 2001). Understanding and predicting environmental behaviour has proved to be remarkably difficult. Nearly everyone has concerns and beliefs regarding the environment, however, environmental attitudes have not been correspondingly ubiquitous (McCarty and Shrum, 2001).

The government seemed incapable of handling environment challenges. Where government has failed, many businesses are increasingly getting into the act and offering “green” alternatives, like the green environmental products and services. Based on the forgoing, this study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of green advertising on clean environment in south-south Nigeria.

1.3. Objectives of the Study

In a broader perspective, this study seeks to increase knowledge in existing studies in green advertising. But specifically, it will among other things:

  1. Determine whether consumers’ in South-South Nigeria are aware of green advertising.
  2. Establish if green advertisements are effective for clean environment in South-South Nigeria.
  3. Ascertain whether attitude towards clean environment are influenced by green advertising.
  4. Find out the challenges facing green advertising in South-South Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated based on the above objectives:

  1. Are consumers in South-South Nigeria aware of green advertising?
  2. How effective are green advertisements for clean environment in South-South Nigeria?
  3. To what extent does green advertising influence attitudes of consumers in South-South Nigeria towards clean environment?
  4. What are the challenges facing green advertising in South-South Nigeria?


1.6 Significance of the Study

            Given the pervasiveness of environmental impacts by organizations, the study will be relevant to organizations that manufacture consumer goods and services like beverage foods, energy and fruits drinks, table water and the likes. This would enable them know the impact of the products on the environment and the need to increase green advertising awareness. Through regular green advertising campaigns by organizations in the mass media, public awareness on clean and sustainable environment will increase.

This study will enable policy makers, professionals and all stakeholders involved in environmental management and public health see the need to take green campaigns serious. That is, it will raise interest in clean environment through green advertising. Also, media sensitization of the public on green/clean environment will further raise the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agencies and other relevant environmental bodies in Nigeria.

Findings from this research will help the mass media practitioners see the need to increase public awareness, especially through the broadcast media, which would enhance public knowledge and practice on clean environment. Regular environmental news can awake public knowledge, and perhaps interest and awareness on green advertising.

One other significance of the research is to contribute to knowledge in the academic community. The study will be significant to existing knowledge on green advertising as well as clean environment in general. While other studies have looked at green advertising from different perspectives, this study looks at it from the angle of environmental messages on consumer’ products in order to promote environmental awareness and right attitudes towards clean environment.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study covers the three selected states from the South-South Geo-political zone of Nigeria (i.e. Delta, Edo and Rivers States). Product categories were also parts of the scope of study. In order to make the consumers have a clear picture of green advertising, the scope of the concept was limited to these categories of products.

(i)   Fruit drinks like 5 Alive, Exotic, Chivita, Hollandia, Happy Hour, Cappy, etc

(ii)  Energy drinks like Red Bull, Bullet, Power Horse, Lucozade boost etc.

(iii) Can drinks –all alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks

(iv) Packed snack food like Galla, Biscuits, and Cake etc.

(v)  Table and sachet water.

(vi)  Recharge cards of all GSM networks

Consumers would be asked to identify whether these categories of products contain information like ‘recyclable’, ‘reuse’, ‘keep the environment clean’, ‘dispose properly’ etc. The reason why these categories of food products were chosen was because they are easily bought and consumed by consumers on the streets, roads, cars and buses and other places. Their packs are easily thrown in the streets and major roads across Nigeria.

1.7 Definition of Terms

The terms below were the major concepts used and they are explained in the context of the study.

Advertising:  A paid form of non personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor (The American Marketing Association). Here, it is taken that advertising is a medium through the mass media to reach target consumers of goods and services.

Green advertising: This is the application of advertising and marketing principles in managing the environment. Here, it is advertising campaigns aimed at promoting clean environment.

Environment: This is the collection of natural and artificial arrangements in which humanity is completely dependent upon for survival and existence.

Clean environment: A neat and healthy place to stay both for humans and animals.

Perception: The process of using the senses to acquire information about the surrounding environment or situation. The way an individual interprets and gives meaning to things.

Public Perception: People’s attitude, feelings, interpretations or understanding of things like the environment based on what is observed or thoughtTH-SOUTH NIGERIA





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