Zaproot Uncovers More Greenwashers

If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s greenwashing. It’s bad enough that the average consumer doesn’t know much about the impact of legitimate green products, and many people are skeptical of green marketing. So when businesses outright lie about the “greenness” of their product, it really burns my bum. The folks at Zaproot this week highlight a couple of over-the-top greenwashing campaigns from two top energy companies. One of them makes me wonder, if “clean coal” doesn’t get a toe-hold, perhaps “sexy coal” can stick. C’mon guys, do you think we’re really all that dumb? These guys really are full of s**t.

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Marketing To Addicts

Chris Hansen skiing some Teton powderThe best kind of marketing is the kind that you don’t have to do for a product your customers want and believe they can’t live without. There are a handful of products and services that fall into this category. Many are illicit and illegal. Often times they are addictive—be they physically or psychologically. But there are a few things that, while (psychologically) addictive, aren’t necessarily bad for you. In some cases they are even good for you.

In this case I’m talking about skiing. Now, I refer to this activity generically as “skiing” because that’s what I grew up doing. But “skiing” for me often means any form of disciplined snow sliding. Sledding, inner tubing and the like don’t count ’cause any idiot can do that. I’m talking about snowboarding and alpine and telemark skiing. Preferably involving gravity, but I’ll occassionally include skiing of the Nordic variety because, while arguably not as fun, those are definitely “disciplines.”
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NBC’s Green Week Sure To Garner Green Attention

Joel Makower takes a grain-of-salt view of NBC’s Green Week today over at his Two Steps Forward blog.

While my first reaction is to file this post under “greenwashing,” I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and a closer look. I can appreciate the perspective that Makower gives in his post. He discloses his connection to NBC yet maintains some distance. “What’s really going on here?” is his main question. While he doesn’t come right out and say it, it appears from his perspective that NBC may be positioning themselves to be best appreciated by those on the inside. And that’s not a bad tactic for a company to take.

Lauren Zalaznick, president of Bravo Media, who is Makower’s main NBC source for the post, is right to believe both that college students entering the workforce will be more likely to be attracted to a major coporation that has its finger on the green pulse and that,

“There’s no one more cynical than a disgruntled group of large conglomerate employees.”

Makower mentions that GE may be looking to spin off its media business and that NBC may be trying to look more appealing to potential buyers, but he doesn’t mention anything about GE’s effort to green their business. As much as I like to discredit any large corporation’s green efforts as greenwashing, I think there’s something here worth taking a closer look at. And hey, if they can get some of their customers who have never considered their environmental footprint to sit up and pay attention, all the better. Makower believes the approach is substantive.

I try to stay away from TV (who has time to watch TV when you’re running a blog?), but I wonder what the execution will look like. I’ll try to catch a few looks, but my guess is that some of this programming may come off as a little to sacharine sweet for most of us who really get the green movement. At first blush, their Green Week Web site looks a little thin and perhaps rushed.

But one thing’s for sure: you’ve got to start somewhere. The real test will be if NBC can maintain their newly minted angle. Makower says it himself,

“What happens after Green Week is over?”

As they say: The proof is in the putting.