Saturday, June 02, 2007

The media and the message

Brands (and the planet) can benefit from going green

Thank you for an interesting and inspiring piece in Media Week (though if the comments about Eastbourne in MediaBitch are anything to go by, we are facing a tough crowd with the message), and for introducing me to John Grant, who seems a like-minded soul, and hence to buylesscrap... ditto. I've written to ask them if RED has replied to their letter.

You rightly raise the issue of greenwashing which, if you'll forgive projecting the metaphor, is in danger of staining a lot of good with some that is less so being carried out for reasons that range from the misguided to the downright venal. Trouble is, when they happen they get noticed (usually in the tabloids), and the consumer is not that sympathetic to unsubtle manipulations, especially when the intentions are murky. And mud sticks.

One of the biggest issues 'we' (those trying to navigate green issues ourselves, and also help others along the way by sharing our journey) is that so little that is green can be viewed simply in black and white. But all too often that is what we are served up, and called upon to do.

Though itself erring on being an absolute, I have tended to apply a measure of my own to any and all that comes my way by way of green claim, from government initiative to eco-advertising: the enviROI. So long as it is clearly explained as such, I have no problem with making a purchase or commitment that actually makes little financial sense... if it still genuinely makes the planet a better place for my kids. And I am finding a lot of stuff that fails in this regard.

But I'm also finding a lot of information that is clouding our abilities to make such fair judgements.

You mention Andy Bond facing the WI. That should be interesting. I saw one of his subordinates face a formidable lady from that estimable organisation a wee while ago, and frankly neither came out of the encounter very well as far as I was concerned:

But at least there is now dialogue, and that can only be a good thing so long as it is not used as a delaying tactic instead of action. And with luck both sides will be better briefed and hence engage in more useful debate.

The odd thing to me is how, despite all the evidence to the contrary, so many in marketing still seem to have a mindset that the environment is a problem to be 'dealt with' rather than an opportunity to be embraced... with genuine intent... with win-wins all round. And there are plenty of ways that brands (and the planet) can benefit from going green. As an example, I would point at the RE:tie design that we just did rather well with: &

You just need to look a little bit into the (green) left fields to find them out there. And if you are interested I'd be happy to point some out to you.


Peter Martin
JunkkMale/Big 'Ed

ps: I look forward very much to next week's issue on the big corporates' green cred. Having lived with what they say, but often do differently, (with good and bad experiences on both counts to share - in many cases I think the media is unfair in its reporting of some measures) I will be interested to see how it pans out.

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