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Designing an Air Quality Advertising Program

Key concepts: Advertising • Tracking Studies • Government Agency • Telephone Surveys (CATI) • Focus Groups • In-depth Interviews

When a large Southwestern area reached a non-attainment status for air quality, the local air quality agency asked Saurage Research to conduct research to:

  • Explore area residents’ knowledge of the air quality problem in the region
  • Quantify residents’ willingness to perform certain clean air behaviors
  • Track residents’ awareness of clean air messages and advertisements

Insights were gathered using telephone surveys and extensive qualitative research via in-depth interviews and focus groups. The findings revealed:

  • An apathy among consumers toward implementing clean air behaviors for altruistic reasons
  • A link between knowledge of the consequences of inaction and willingness to perform clean air behaviors

RESULTS: The research findings prompted the agency to develop new advertising messages that focused more on the costs and benefits of clean air for consumers, rather than for society at-large, or other altruistic motivations. For several years, Saurage Research conducted annual tracking studies for this agency which revealed an increasing knowledge of and familiarity with the severity of the air quality problem in the area, as well as a willingness of consumers to perform clean air behaviors.

Saurage Research won the 1999 Federal Highway Administration Environmental Excellence Award for their work on this project.

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