It’s not easy being green. Kermit knew it. Brands are about to find out the same truth. According to a New York Times article this week, consumers have become incredibly skeptical about companies who tout environmentally-friendly messaging in their marketing efforts.
What did we expect to happen?
Al Gore and his famed documentary took off like wildfire. More and more consumers began flocking to companies that supported green. Marketers jumped on the bandwagon. Some brands can live up to their eco-friendly messaging. Most can’t. And consumers can see right through it.
Why do brands try to be something they’re not and ruin it for those who are?
Smart marketers told their non-green clients that they can’t just talk the talk. They have to live it out in the way they operate their companies. But many probably gave in to client demands after a couple of push backs. After all, clients pay the bills. “Yes” men and women simply drafted creative briefs and PR plans without thinking twice.
This is the challenge we face sometimes as marketers, both on the agency side and within our own companies. We capitalize on consumer trends. That’s great. Actually, its smart marketing. But we live in a world where businesses are more transparent given the access to companies and power granted to consumers by the Web. You can’t fool them anymore. At least not for long.
Some companies share their love of Earth with consumers through marketing that is a true reflection of their businesses. Timberland worked with Mullen (disclosure: my employer) to create the first ever, carbon-neutral media plan, which was recently awarded Media Plan of the Year by MediaWeek. It was just one more way – of many – that Timberland again showed its consumers that its mission is to equip people to make a difference in their world.
We are all consumers of course. I’m interested in what you think. How do you feel about the green promises you see on packaging or read in corporate executives’ quotes in a news story? Has it lost its sparkle for you, too?
*Image by Felix Francis and used under the Creative Commons Attribution License .