Monday, June 2, 2008
In 2005 when Nike launched skateboard brand Nike SB and attempted to promote their East Coast Skate Tour called "Major Threat," it was an unveiled homage/ to the punk bank Minor Threat. Using similar graphics and language, it was an attempt to market to cooler-than-they skate punks...to speak their language. It resulted in an outrage from the community they solicited.
It would be like Monsanto using "Leaves of Grass" in a headline. Or Dow Chemical marketing an air freshener called "Silent Spring.”
Nike was shooting for urban grit and shot themselves in the foot.
We're not seeing that outrage from the greenspace. Not yet. But maybe we are close. I hope so.
For today’s green advertising, there’s a sense that nothing is sacred. And in advertising, nothing ever is…not even authenticity. (As one Weiden + Kennedy creative director once said, "sacred cows make great steaks.”)
Punk band Bikini Kill is often attributed as the coiner of the post feminist punk movement called Riot Grrl. Their music and album covers are also pointed to as the originator of the phrase “Girl Power.”
Today, Girl Power is more affiliated with the Spice Girls. It’s entertainment and clownery. It’s selling Girl Power like GE sells clean coal.
What does this have to do with Green Marketing? Everything. When the mass marketers try to cajole us into buying the latest element using authentic green language, we have to wonder where this is taking us. If only we had the sustainability of the punk movement.
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.