Start date: 1998

Date of completion: 1999

Environmental Marketing: Promotion Strategies, Reception Contexts

In order to face and solve certain socially identified situations as problematic and where people’s participation is indispensable and necessary, social markerting campaigns are used – especially in favor of major social causes such as health or the environment . These campaigns aim to raise awareness and change the behavior of individuals to the extent that the solution of these unfavorable situations and crisis involves the collaboration of the population. However, behavior change is difficult to achieve and the process of effective mobilization of individuals takes time.

Social marketing elaborates a recipe adapted from the strategies and techniques of commercial marketing – which has already proved successful in changing behaviors through advertising – to apply it to social campaigns. If advertising and marketing result, why not harness this knowledge acquired economically and apply it to great social causes? The conquest of social, political, economic and media space by the environmental theme is visible, but a homogeneity of awareness and mobilization is also not visible. Despite this achievement of public space and status as a social cause, behavior change, aimed at protecting the environment, is too slow considering the accelerated pace of environmental risk growth. Environmental marketing thus reflects the emergence and urgency of a new field of social marketing action, as the current trend towards increasing recognition of environmental values ​​is not yet accompanied by a change in behavior.

However, multiple campaigns launched do not achieve the expected success, that is, they do not achieve their change goals. What is the reason for these successive failures? Why do these campaigns fail? Immunity to information? For lack of interest in the subject? Lack of infrastructure to make the change operational? Adopting an Inappropriate Marketing Strategy? Lack of knowledge of the social reality of individuals? Limited resources for implementing social change programs?

In Portugal, despite the fact that the environment has been the target of numerous campaigns in recent years, the ecological or “environmentally friendly” behavior of the Portuguese continues to leave much to be desired. It is the Portuguese themselves when asked about their practices that recognize it. Little is known about the fate of the campaigns. Where will they have stranded the messages sent and what they do with those who received them? But apparently the messages did not arrive where they wanted to go. Behaviors remain, in fact, “not very environmentally friendly”.

Thus, on the assumption that campaigns have not been successful in terms of change, that is to say that it has not achieved its essential aim of changing behavior, it is necessary to perceive the reasons for this failure. Why environmental campaigns fail? It is at the beginning of the search for the answer to this question that the present work is dedicated.

Thus, we developed within the scope of the Observatory a project under the title “Environmental Marketing: Production Strategies, Reception Contexts”, whose general objective is to understand some of the reasons why environmental campaigns have not had the expected effect on the Portuguese population and what role environmental marketing plays in Portugal, recognizing their contributions, potentialities, limits and weaknesses. Through the analysis of the production strategies and the contexts of reception of the campaigns on environment, it is intended to contribute to a sociological knowledge about environmental issues in the perspective of social change, and consequently to bring material for reflection to the development of environmental marketing.

 Publications associated:

Marketing Ambiental – Estratégias de Produção, Contextos de Recepção