Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Marketing of the Green

Have you noticed the recent marketing trend--Go Green?

Everything from clothing to cars to banking services now offers you the opportunity to go green; a chance to save the world by being a conscientious green consumer! Notwithstanding the fact that green consumption is an oxymoron, this marketing of the green is not a new phenomenon.

I first observed this trend back in the late eighties when talk of reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone was first being discussed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Immediately, wolf products began appearing on the shelves in stores in and around Yellowstone. Images of cute cuddly puppies and anthropomorphized images of wolf families were merchandized with a mixture of American Indian spirituality. How could anybody oppose the reintroduction of these loving creatures long victimized by the evil humans?

And remember Free Willy, the movie that made the humane treatment of captive whales a household topic. And thus Hollywood provided the entrée for the animal rights movement and its first foray into mainstream America.

Fast forward to two years ago, when Happy Feet, the animated movie about penguins and the environment, was released the same month that a consortium of environmental groups petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list twelve species of penguins as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Then last year Artic Tale, a documentary about polar bears and the impact of global warming on their sea ice habitat, is released to coincide with an Endangered Species Act petition to list polar bears as an endangered. Remember the byline to that family film? “How you live affects the way they live.”

No, going green is not new; it is the natural evolution of an environmental industry that has perfected its adaptation to a marketing and consumer driven economy. In fact, I have become convinced that the average environmental organization is 2 parts scientists, 5 parts lawyers, and 3 parts marketing professionals.

And now the mainstream marketing industry has caught on to the marketing of the green trend and is more than happy to play to your guilty conscience for being an American, part of a population of people who happen to enjoy the highest quality of life ever experienced on earth.

Don't buy any of it!

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