Iyer and Banerjee (1993) developed this research in order to create a framework for designing and analyzing “green” print advertisements based on green consumer needs and opinions. Because this was the first study in this particular area, the researchers adapted a form of grounded theory to create categories and coding methods in order to classify both the advertisements and consumer needs and wants.
The study focuses solely on print advertisements because the researchers determined form previous data that print advertisements provide more volume than other mediums and are more applicable and appealing to a mass variety of advertisers. In their analysis, Iver and Banerjee (1993) describe four main categories: ad target, ad objective, economic chain, and ad appeal. Each of these four categories was broken down further into subcategories: planet preservation, animal life preservation, and personal health preservation for ad target; corporate image and product service for ad objective; production, consumption, and disposition for economic chain; and zeitgeist, emotional, financial, euphoria, management, and other for ad appeal.
Iver and Banerjee (1993) discovered that planet preservation was used as an ad target significantly more than both animal life preservation and personal health preservation. In particular, Earth Day was determined the “most visible green event” and was used more than any other “green movement” in corporate advertisements. They also discovered that corporate image was seen as slightly more important than the actual products or services in these ads. In their analysis of economic chain, Iver and Banerjee (1993) note that emphasizing the production of “ecologically friendly” raw materials was key to the majority of the advertisements. Disposition was the second most emphasized caterogory, which the researchers attribute to the growing awareness of landfill wastes when the study was conducted.
Not surprisingly, ad appeal was highlighted as the most important variable. Because of this result, Iver and Banerjee (1993) use ad appeal as a comparison basis for the other two main categories and for creating the study’s accompanying charts. Out of the 173 green advertisements they analyzed, Iver and Banerjee (1993) found that 55 (31.8%) used zeitgeist and 36 (20.8%) utilized emotional. Guilt in particular was used 27.7%, the highest percentage, as the emotional appeal. Based on these results, Iver and Banerjee (1993) recommend that green advertisers should broaden their target scope, place less focus on corporate image as this affects credibility, avoid using trigger words like “safe” or “natural,” and place a higher emphasis on consumption as opposed to production.
I was elated to discover Iyer and Banerjee’s (1993) text because it finally provides a clear breakdown of what elements are essential to include and ignore when designing green advertisement in a print medium. Granted, their text is slightly out of date since it was published in 1993, but the data presented here is still valuable to my study. Though this study lacks a more formal methodology, Iyer and Banerjee’s (1993) taxnomny and coding system should prove helpful as a basis for my own visual rhetoric analysis even though they do not explicitly address design choices like images or font.