Don’t pretend to save the World…Posted: July 19, 2011
I remember couple of years back, everything was going green…
cities, brands, even the grocer next door…
We were hammered with ‘Sustainability’ messages promoting companies, brands, people…
in print, outdoor, conferences…you name it!
Everyone was on a mission.
You could easily spot the words ‘Carbon Footprint’ miles away on every other Billboard,
and hear it in every random conversation.
It was the ‘in’ thing. Everything was turning green…or blue.
Brands were compelled to act.
Being ‘environmentally active’ was the ‘Stamp of Approval’…
I remember in my previous company we even got branded blue water containers to stop using plastic cups.
Each one of us was asked to commit to a PSP (personal sustainability practice), a regular daily action that would reduce our carbon footprint.
We also had one full agency staff meeting on that subject….
….But it kind of ended there.
What happened since?
It’s been a while I haven’t seen any communication related to sustainability…and I am on Twitter!
Was it a mere trend?
Did ‘Social media’ take over as the new ‘in-thing’ to shout about?
Or was it that these companies / brands / people shortly realized that shouting ‘We’re Saving The Planet’ out loud, at every living soul didn’t double their sales dollars?
I guess they realized few sales reports later that ‘Sustainability’ was not an efficient ‘Marketing’ tactic.
Research and numbers finally proved that ‘Saving the Planet’ did not increase sales figures.
As a matter of fact, they probably came to the conclusion that most people would continue to buy
brands they love,
brands that converse with them,
brands that engage with them at the right level,
whether these brands are contributing to the wellbeing of the planet or not.
After all, the majority of the common mortals is selfish and really thinks short term.
Thinking long term is too much to ask, as long as Planet Earth will still be here for them and their kids.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not attempting to belittle the importance of Sustainability.
It is something I believe in.
(Ok, its not on top of my to do list and I don’t use the towel twice in a hotel, but I try to minimize the use of paper
and I still use my water container – but I changed the blue one to a more sophisticated silver one).
What I am definitely criticizing here is Brands taking advantage of it.
True Sustainability is that thing brands do, that costs them money, and that is aimed at improving the planet…and not sales!
It is very much altruistic…
Its actually an act of charity…
and the key thing with charity is that…YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT IT!
This is where action speaks louder than ads
And if Brands don’t stay true to this principle, they may as well forget pretending.
People are not fools. They can differentiate between genuine actions and cheap short-term marketing tactics.
And as one wise man once said:
Don’t save the world. If your product sounds too good to be true, then you’re a liar.