Monday, April 14, 2008

Green Effies Vapid Attempt at Moving the "Eco-Marketing Needle"

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

I was one of the first round judges at the inaugural Green Effies awards this year. The event itself was rewarding, including a day-long conversation with some of the brightest in green marketing.

According to Effie’s own literature, “Green Effie winning marketing communications campaigns must demonstrate that they have moved the eco-marketing needle forward.”

I’m not sure what an eco-marketing needle is, but is surely is not in concert with an “environmental agenda”.

The highest honors went to GE and Wal*Mart and HSBC. I recall learning about, watching and judging these entries. They were good and smart and brought to light by the brightest and shrewdest ad agencies on the planet. That said, I highly doubt that any of them moved a needle (marketing, green or otherwise) other than painting these companies in some pale green light. Note - these companies are making large environmentally-positive strides, and greenwashing serves a purpose - I applaud them for that – my main point follows:

Effies claim to be judged on effectiveness and results. I ask: Where was the needle? Did it really move? As a concept, these Green Effies were bad lip service to an important opportunity in innovation.

The last thing we need is another self-stimulating advertising award here on earth. But a green ad award seems to have some purpose in today’s greening mainstream marketplace. Just like on-line awards were rampant during the dot com cycle, its topical. And topical is about all we have time for anymore.

By failing to apply real metrics to the concept of moving a green marketing needle, the Effies has let us all down.

Consumption Junction is a feature 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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