Monday, December 10, 2007

Worst Green Spin Ever

--Feature Story: Consumption Junction w/John Rooks--

Ok, maybe not the worst – there’s a lot going on to confuse consumers over the legitimacy of some green claims. But as I was trolling about some green blogs the other day, I stumbled upon a banner ad for one of those conference call companies. Its claim was not clarity of calls, friendliness of operators or even low price. It was claiming to be saving the planet by reducing air travel. Really?

The entire company - a conference call bank, remember – is branded around “Green.” Make a conference call and save a planet.

We’ve been doing some focus group work with mainstream consumers around the issue of sustainability. We have not looked specifically at conference call services, but I would guess that “carbon reduction” is about tenth on the list of reasons to even make a conference call.

Here’s a clue to spot green-washing: When a company flips their benefits list on its head so that Green is at the top of the list, we need to start looking deeper.

Oil companies do this all the time – claiming to be green because 5% of their revenue comes from renewable sources, while 100% of the advertising is focused on renewable energy.

This is pretty bad, and unfortunately, pretty typical. As green goes mainstream conscious consumers need to challenge advertising claims more.

*Consumption Junction is a new column focusing on culture, advertising and the ethical consumer written by John Rooks. John is the President of DWELL Creative, a progressive advertising and marketing agency voted one the Top 25 agencies by LOHAS Journal.

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