Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Grey Advertising Strives to be Green, But It Just Ain't Black and White

Recently ad agency executives found themselves receiving little wooden mystery boxes filled with wheat grass and a printed invitation. The source being Steve Hardwick, President of Grey New York Agency, the occasion being an invitation to join a new website launched by Grey aimed at the advertising B2B industry, called Green It Forward.

Grey hopes to "green up" Madison Avenue by creating an online platform where industry insiders can exchange ideas on green initiatives. We checked out the site to discover little else at this stage, beyond some simple tips on being more eco-conscious as well as a page on what Grey is doing to be more green. We are curious to see how conscious Grey is actually going about their business, specifically how they are approaching their top shelf clients at leading car,air travel and pharma companies.

Hardwick stated in a recent press release,

"Our industry is built on ideas. With the climate at stake, we have a chance to put our ideas and competitive spirit to work to save our planet."

Here is the problem. Ad agencies are not in the business of effecting their clients consciousness, green or otherwise, they are there to spin whatever product or service the client wants spun. It is highly unlikely that Grey will turn away their biggest clients because their business practices are not green enough, or not green at all (as often is the case). And frankly, spinning clients that are not Green as Greener than they are, will not "work to save our planet," (not to mention the significant moral issue at stake).

Hat's off to Grey for trying to green up their offices (as their site describes), but their real social impact extends far beyond their walls, and that is where the real question arises...realistically, exactly how forward will Grey actually pay it?

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