Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Eric Haley

Committee Members

Eric Haley, Matthew Pittman, Moonhee Cho


The purpose of the study was to examine whether guilt appeals or empathy appeals were more effective at promoting purchase intention among green consumers for green products. This purpose was achieved through studying the effect of using an empathy appeal versus a guilt appeal in a hypothetical green advertisement. To test this objective, participants completed a survey that assessed the relationship between the message condition they were exposed to—either guilt, empathy, or neutral—and their subsequent purchase intent of the advertised product. It was hypothesized that the empathy appeal would lead to higher purchase intention than the guilt appeal, but the results did not support this prediction. Interestingly, the neutral condition led to the highest purchase intention, followed by the guilt appeal, followed by the empathy appeal. Based on the study’s results, practical implications are discussed on how to target green consumers most effectively when designing advertisement messaging for green products.

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