has eco-advertising jumped the shark?

Adverganza has an interesting post about Arnold Worldwide’s new environmentally-friendly campaign for Timberland that is greener than Kermit the Frog.

Beyond the discussion about the campaign, a really interesting topic came up:

“I guess the real question I have about this is whether we’re dealing with a true sustainable trend or whether a few years from now we’ll all be snickering at the jump-on-the-bandwagon quality of all this politically-correct eco-consciousness—at least until the floodwaters begin to lap at the front door.”

Strip Adverganza’s bit of politically-correct eco-consciousness at the end of the post and consider it for a second.

When my Dad was a kid, the big issue was population, with Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb. Needless to say, with birthrates in the West (including the United States, whose population is buyoed by immigration) falling below replacement rate, Mr. Ehrich was a little short of the “world is ending” mark.

When I was a kid, the big scare was acid rain. Again, needless to say (as acid rain has not, since I left first grade, destroyed the environment or me), this did not turn out to be QUITE the issue that everyone thought it would be.

Somewhere between those two issues (in 1975), global COOLING was the big scare, as this Newsweek article shows.

Based on history, global warming has likely reached its apex of consumer relevance and will slowly fade until it is superseded by another environmental “issue.”

But what does that mean for environmentally-conscious advertising and companies? Trends show that the environment gets better as countries gain affluence (because, with wealth, people have the time and means to care for the environment and want to live in a nice one) and, despite some economic flutters this summer, in America we’re still getting richer…which leads me to suspect that environmentally-conscious/friendly advertising will is likely to continue to be relevant for and important to consumers.

If I were a marketer I wouldn’t nail my flag to the post of global warming, but I sure as heck would do all that I could do to lower the waste material in my packaging, to make my manufacturing energy-efficient and to bring my advertising along for the ride.

It’s the right thing to do from a “good for the Earth” and a business perspective.


3 responses to “has eco-advertising jumped the shark?

  1. Pingback: advergirl & how to run a greener agency « the daily (ad) biz

  2. Global cooling is part of the proof that the ozone is eroding.

  3. @ cami: it may be, but global cooling is NOT proof of global warming, which is the issue that I tackle.

    And, truth be told, the fluctuations in the Earth’s temperature have been happening long before factories and SUVs and may be caused by something as humanly uncontrollable as sun spots, not to mention that much of the “science” is based on a small sample size.

    Using their techniques ad absurdum, this morning in New York the temperature was 38, but by noon it had risen to 54…on that trend we will be boiling by midnight! HOLY SHIT WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!

    Or not. The sample size was just too small.

    Show me a small sample size and you are showing me numbers that are likely lying.

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