Despite frequent reports that they favor products with environmental benefits, consumers often purchase conventional alternatives. One reason for this is the performance liability associated with green products, in which consumers perceive them as being less effective. This research examines the concept of “green understatement” (i.e., communication of implicit green signals) compared with “green emphasis” (i.e., communication of explicit green signals) in green product advertising as a strategy to enhance performance evaluations. We test whether, why, and when an implicit (versus explicit) advertising strategy leads to higher performance evaluation for green products. We suggest and show that implicit green signals are more effective in conditions under which consumers have more concerns about the product’s performance or have lower expectations about its greenness. More specifically, the results of two experimental studies show that implicit (versus explicit) communication about greenness leads to higher performance evaluations for products that are less commonly green (Study 1) and for products that have an optional green mode (Study 2). The findings aid in the understanding of how a green product advertising strategy may influence performance evaluations and provide managerial implications for green product promotion.
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