The fun thing about being a Midwesterner in the Northeast is puncturing the outrageous stereotypes that many, if not all, Northeasterners hold about those of us from flyover country. Like the junior AE who told me that he didn’t think that Midwesterners were internet savvy because they didn’t have enough money to afford computers like people from New York could.
I retaliated later by taping some lutefisk to the underside of his desk figuring that, while not exactly a mature response, it was at least pretty funny.
The impetus for relaying this story is the AdAge article today that is shocked, shocked that red states are as green in their purchase behavior as blue states are. Who would have thought that those bumpkins in the middle of the country would actually buy green, right?
Stupid Republicans, they don’t even vote Democrat.
This sort of reaction, and the fact that this is even news at all, is simply moral vanity coupled with a large dose of condescension.
Yes, the Midwesterner in me is bothered.
It is interesting, however, that AdAge says “regardless of where they’re sold, green products are getting big — and profitable” the same week that Brandweek runs an article about P&G’s finding that only 5-10% of all consumers buy products chiefly because they are green.
If that is the case then how could the average number of “green” shoppers double each week (between October 2007 and March 2008 ) as Catalina research has found?
It’s likely that Catalina is counting products like P&G’s very own concentrated laundry detergent in the smaller bottles (saves on packaging) or Poland Spring’s less plastic bottles, products where there is no performance trade-off.
P&G believes that the vast majority of consumers (50-75%) are indifferent to environmental issues but that if the product is at parity with the competition then its “green-ness” can be differentiating. Basically, it can be a tie-breaker at shelf.
It’s a great thing to have because it is absolutely imperative that companies be environmentally conscious, but green is not going to revolutionize marketing. No matter what AdAge might report, I am going to stick with P&G on this one and go out on a limb to say that, though people everywhere seem to be buying green products, it’s likely that only 5-10% of people buy those products because they are green.
The rest buy based on more pragmatic concerns like performance and price.
Thanks to companies like P&G, in some categories the pragmatic matches up with the green. And that, to end a high note, that is something to be celebrated.