The communications professors’ research evaluated audience response to values-based environmental marketplace advocacy messages by the fossil fuel industries through a series of focus groups.
Associate Professors Barbara Miller and Julie Lellis in the Elon University School of Communications co-authored a January 2015 article, “Audience response to values-based marketplace advocacy by the fossil fuel industries,” in Environmental Communication. The publication is the quarterly journal of the International Environmental Communication Association.
The abstract for the paper reads: A form of issue advocacy, marketplace advocacy campaigns often arise in response to burgeoning societal concerns, especially those faced by energy industries. Although these campaigns may include brief and selective references to corporate activities, most campaigns place a much stronger emphasis on commonly shared societal values. This study examines audience response to values-based environmental marketplace advocacy messages by the fossil fuel industries through a series of focus groups. Four instrumental values were identified in campaign videos (innovation, community, resilience, and patriotism), and the terminal value of pragmatism, especially as it relates to environmental issues, was identified as a result of identification with one or more of the instrumental values. The findings are discussed through the lens of extant research on marketplace advocacy and organizational values as well as Habermas’s theory of refuedalization, shedding light on the ways corporations appeal to commonly held societal values in an effort to generate support for a given industry.
According to its website, Environmental Communication “provides a major international forum for the examination and evaluation of the role of communication in representing the environment.”