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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Communication for sustainable transport shift? The effect of three goal framing appeals and message tone on traveller attitudes and intentions

Published: May 27, 2020


Jonas Nilsson, University of Gothenburg; Johan Jansson, Lund University


Goal Framing Theory; Public Transportation; Environmental Communication


As public transport is important to the transition to a more sustainable future, the aim is to analyse how different advertising appeals influence intentions to use public transportation. The study draws on Goal Framing Theory arguing that behaviors are driven by three general motives: gain, hedonic and normative. In order to study the influence of these goal framing appeals on attitudes and intentions towards public transport, an experiment was designed where ads were manipulated along the lines of appeal frame (normative, hedonic, gain), and positive and negative message framing. The results show that messages with a positive framing have a positive impact on attitudes towards the ad and intentions to use public transport while no significant differences between the three different goal appeals were found. This questions the effectiveness of communicating environmental solution related information using different goal frame appeals but strengthens the case for communicating using positive goal appeals