Say “Green” One More Time…

By Ian Twamley, Account Executive

I love nature.

I am also a firm believer in the core values of the green movement, but promoters of “green” need to change their wording before I explode.

As members of a species that will top 7 billion sometime this year, the necessity of investment in sustainable technology is more real than ever. Thankfully, green products that are made of recycled materials, use less energy and produce less waste have so far proven to be more than just a passing fad.

Yet as green is here to stay, so, apparently, is the rhetoric used to market it.

Spend five minutes watching TV and you will likely see multiple advertisements touting “efficient,” “eco-friendly” and “energy saving” technology. Although the benefits of these products are clear, the incessant happy-go-lucky tone their marketing strategies project make me want to vomit.

Take for example last year’s commercial for the 2011 Ford Fiesta. To celebrate the sub-compact’s 40 MPG average fuel rating, the Ford marketing department sets a scene of people riding unicycles, landing parachutes and springing up from man-hole covers, all to the tune of “Janglin” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. At one point I loved that song. Now every time I hear it I want to punch my TV.

Marketing sustainable practices is clearly a profitable venture, but why not change the tone? Why not make your company or product different from all of the competition that is off in some delusional green wonderland?

Lexus is currently my favorite car company because they do just that. To make the 2011 CT Hybrid catch the attention of sporty, gas-conscious drivers, Lexus touts the tagline “the darker side of green.” They simply added an MC Escher inspired cityscape and some electronic music and boom, an admittedly cool commercial that breaks the monotony of gag-inducing green marketing.

I strongly believe that consumer-minded innovation in sustainability benefits us all. However, if communicating these products does not evolve with the technology there is the risk of creating an apathetic, or, in my case hostile, public.

So please, marketers of green technology, try something that breaks the mold. I want to pay attention to what you have to say, but if doing so turns me against your message, you’ve lost me forever.

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