Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis


Strategic Communication: Public Relations and Advertising

First Advisor

Mark Rademacher


Organic farming and foods, sustainable, No Impact Man, the "green movement," "localvore," The Ominvore's Dilemma, and socially and environmentally conscious are all ways to describe a growing subculture concerned with keeping the world a healthy and livable place because of lifestyle, ecological or ethical reasons. Consumers connect with this issue for various reasons ranging from the personal, such as seeking out healthy options, to the social, such as environmentalism and sustainability. Marketers have embraced these consumers as a profitable market segment, as illustrated by the increasing number of organic brands and products in the market today. Three-fourths of U.S. consumers purchase organic products, according to The Hartman Group's "Beyond Organic and Natural 2010" report. Due to the increased availability and interest in organic products, marketers now face the challenge of promoting these products to an increasingly diverse market segment in a dynamic and ever changing media environment Placed in the context of Trader's Point Creamery in Indianapolis, it is possible to observe the nature of communication in an increasingly complicated environment where there are many opportunities for a producer's message to be interpreted by consumers differently than the producer intended. Using qualitative in-depth interviews with producers and consumers of green marketing materials, this study examines the producer and consumer encoding and decoding process in the context of a sustainable brand. This study also illustrates how communication has been complicated and how it can be difficult to understand why there are different interpretations of a producer's message.